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Archive for Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kicking woes swamp Spurrier

November 12, 2006

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— Jarvis Moss jumped as high as he could, extending his arms toward the sky.

The Florida defensive end blocked a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give the sixth-ranked Gators a 17-16 victory over South Carolina on Saturday, keeping their national title hopes intact and sending Steve Spurrier home a loser in his return to the Swamp.

Moss also blocked an extra point that was equally important.

"It felt good not to let the guys down," Moss said. "I think we've got something special going on."

The Gators (9-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) were fourth in the latest Bowl Championship Series rankings, right behind Louisville and just in front of Texas. But with the Cardinals losing at Rutgers on Thursday night and with No. 1 Ohio State playing No. 2 Michigan next Saturday, the Gators believe they have as good a chance as anybody of getting to the national championship game as a one-loss team.

Their former coach agreed.

"This could be the year of the Gators," Spurrier said.

Spurrier stood near the 31-yard line with his legs crossed as Ryan Succop lined up for the game-winner. Succop's kick cleared the line of scrimmage but didn't get over the outstretched arms of the 6-foot-6 Moss.

It was the third blocked kick of the game for Florida.

Moss batted down Succop's extra point attempt earlier in the fourth quarter, leaving the Gamecocks (5-5, 3-5) with a 16-10 advantage following Mike Davis' second touchdown run.

Defensive tackle Ray McDonald also blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt in the first half.

"You've got to find a way to win football games," Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said. "We found a way."

After Davis' score, Chris Leak and Tim Tebow teamed up to put the Gators ahead. Tebow picked up 6 yards on fourth-and-one in Florida territory, Leak ran for 17 a few plays later and then added an 8-yard scramble on third down.

Tebow scored on the next play from 12 yards out. Florida then made the extra point, which turned out to be the difference in the game.

"It came down to they can kick extra points and we didn't," Spurrier said.

l Summary on page 9C

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