Offensively, FSU was determined to establish the run early and found considerable success that helped pave the way to a 17-6 half-time advantage, aided greatly by two touchdown passes by Chris Rix against a UF defense lulled into looking for the run and a long kickoff return by Leon Washington. FSU's players were feeling very good about themselves going into the locker room, perhaps too much so as the events of the third quarter unfolded, seeing the Gators quickly turn that half-time disadvantage into a 24-17 lead midway through the period. Jerome Carter had a chance to really swing momentum FSU's way on the opening play of the second half, but a dropped ball on what should have been a sure interception seemed to give the Gators newfound life and energy. That translated into a wave of momentum that saw them put 18 consecutive points on the board. Not until Pat Watkins' fumble return for a game-tying touchdown did FSU find it's legs in the second half.
With things all knotted up at 24 going into the final period, the real show was about to begin. The ebb and flow of that fourth quarter with both fan bases going back and forth between the greatest jubilation and the ultimate disappointment was simply amazing to witness and be a part of. The Gators started the festivities with an 11 play, 81 yard drive that culminated in a 28 yard field goal to give them a 27-24 lead. This drive included a dropped TD reception by Ben Troupe that later proved to be the difference in the game. FSU then answered to take a 31-27 lead with an 8 play, 80 yard drive for a dramatic fourth down touchdown by Chris Rix on a QB sneak from the one yard line. Troupe then redeemed himself for the earlier drop by catching what seemed like it would be the game winning touchdown from 26 yards out to culminate a 9 play, 60 yard drive to put Florida back on top 34-31 with under three minutes to play. FSU had to respond with another score, but after a very poorly timed Chris Rix fumble and an incomplete deep ball to P.K. Sam, we found ourselves in a very bleak, do-or-die 4th and 14 situation. As FSU was down to it's final chance this play from our own 24 yard line, and Seminole fans had the most sinking, disgusted and disappointed feelings in our stomachs, the UF fans were seemingly ready to shake the stadium to it's foundation. The energy level was absolutely incredible. And then they were silenced. First by a successful 24 yard completion from Chris Rix to Dominic Robinson on the 4th down play to keep FSU's hopes alive. And then they were silenced. Secondly by one of the biggest pass completions in FSU history as Chris Rix found P.K. Sam for the game-winning 52 yard TD with 55 seconds remaining. And then they were silenced.
FSU withstood UF's final offensive attack, stopping Chris Leak 18 yards short of what would have been a miraculous run to victory and held on for the historic 38-34 victory over our hated rivals. Unfortunately, the silence would not last long as it was quickly replaced by the sound of thousands of whining Gator fans crying about the referees in the typical sore loser fashion we're now accustomed to from our rivals. At the end of this summary, I've done a breakdown of all the controversial calls they are pointing to through their cries of injustice. Tell it to Lane Fenner.
I will commend Florida Coach Ron Zook for not taking this approach. Maybe the Florida fans will learn something from him, but I won't hold my breath.
1. Antonio Cromartie fumbled the opening kickoff and FSU was extremely fortunate to have this play ruled down by the referees. This is the only one of all the controversial calls the Gator fans have been complaining about that I felt that it is clear-cut that their complaints are valid. Cromartie later fumbled again on the next kickoff return, but this fumble was negated by an offsides penalty on Florida. Cromartie was then pulled from return duty. Chad Canfield later fumbled the ball trying to field a pooch kick, but the ball fortunately went out of bounds.
2. Chris Rix was having a very up and down day prior to exploding in the fourth quarter. His role and impact on the game was clearly being limited by our run-oriented gameplan through the first 45 minutes. With his third quarter fumble that was returned by Keiwan Ratliff for a 77 yard TD to put Florida up 24-17, Rix again showed the tendency for the BIG turnover that has been plaguing him throughout his FSU career. Things were beginning to turn very bleak at that point for the FSU faithful, but fortunately this was to be a game where the ebb and flow of momentum would not stop until the very last play of the game. The lowlights for our passing game included:
--Chris Rix overthrew P.K. Sam on a deep ball on a 3rd and 25 play.
--Chris Davis dropped a pass after a big hit. This one was ruled an incompletion but could have just as easily been ruled a fumble.
--Chris Rix overthrew P.K. Sam on a flag route to the end zone. This one was nearly intercepted by Ratliff at the very back of the end zone.
--Chris Rix overthrew P.K. Sam on a deep sideline pattern. It looked like Sam slowed down too much looking for the under throw. This was the end of a three and out series for us after the drive was given new life after a running into the kicker penalty on Florida. We have to do a better job of capitalizing on errors like that.
--Chris Rix overthrew P.K. Sam on a deep post pattern. He had Sam wide open but he just missed him, putting us in a very difficult 4th and 14 situation and setting the stage for history.
3. Our pass protection was mostly solid, in part due to our only attempting 19 passes all day. The breakdowns for our pass blocking included:
--Chris Rix forced to scramble for no gain. He had nobody open to throw to and should have thrown the ball away instead of taking the hit. This wasn't really a breakdown in blocking though as it was more due to good coverage.
--Chris Rix sacked for -5 yards as Ray Willis was beat badly to the outside and just stood there watching the play.
--Chris Rix fumbled on a 3rd and 13 scramble after Leon Washington missed a needed block on a blitzing LB. Rix had to run for his life here, but did a very poor job of securing the ball as he ran, carrying it loosely in one hand as it was poked out by Guss Scott. Keiwan Ratliff scooped up the ball and Dominic Robinson should have been able to make the tackle (especially considering Robinson was originally a defensive player), but he did a poor job which allowed Ratliff to break the tackle and go 77 yards for a score to give Florida a 24-17 lead. This was a 10 point swing here as we were well within Xavier Beitia's field goal range had Rix not fumbled this ball. This was another one of those horridly bad mistakes that Rix has shown himself prone to making throughout his career. At least this time, his post-game comments seemed to indicate that he acknowledges that he has a lot of room for improvement in his game. This Florida score had us really down over blowing the 17-6 half-time lead and was the peak of that momentum wave for the Gators. Little did we know at the time what the fourth quarter had in store for us.
--Chris Rix with a 7 yard run on a 3rd and 8 scramble. He didn't have to run here as there was no pressure (only 4 UF pass rushers). This was just a bad decision as he should have hung in the pocket or rolled to buy more time once needed. He did get very close to getting the first down though, so it wasn't a terrible decision. I don't put this in the positives section because we were not in good field position to go for it on fourth down.
4. Our ground game was very much bottled up in the second half, which played a role in UF's dramatic third quarter rally to take a 24-17 lead after being down 17-6 at half-time. UF definitely made a good half-time adjustment to give more attention to stopping our running game. For the game, we had 19 unsuccessful carries for 7 yards. Here are the failed running plays for the game:
--Greg Jones with a 3 yard run on 3rd and 6: James Coleman with a decleater but his guy still was in on the tackle, Paul Irons with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks needed to sustain his block longer, David Castillo was beat to his right to kill the play, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block. We were bailed out by a defensive holding penalty against Florida on our 4th down punt to get a first down to continue this series.
--Chris Davis with a -5 yard run on a reverse: Paul Irons with a block, Ray Willis didn't block anybody, Bobby Meeks pulled and totally whiffed on his block to kill the play, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block. At the end of this play, Davis fumbled while being tackled, but forward progress was ruled stopped and the play was whistled dead.
--Lorenzo Booker with a run for no gain: James Coleman with a pancake, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and missed his block to kill the play, David Castillo with a pancake, Matt Meinrod with a decleater on the guy Willis was blocking, Alex Barron with a block.
--Leon Washington with a run for no gain: James Coleman with a late block, Matt Henshaw with a block, Ray Willis didn't get a block, Ron Lunford pulled and got a block but his guy was able to get in on the stop, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron was beat to kill the play as he needed to sustain his block longer.
--Leon Washington with a -2 yard run: James Coleman didn't block anybody, Matt Henshaw was beat to kill the play, Ray Willis with a light block, Ron Lunford pulled and got a block, David Castillo totally missed his block to kill the play, Matt Meinrod needed a better initial block but did recover to knock his guy down, Alex Barron with a block. Leon slipped as he tried to cut away from the tackle.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 3 yard run: James Coleman missed a decleater, Paul Irons with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis didn't get his block, Bobby Meeks pulled and got a double-team block with Irons, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with a 3 yard run: James Coleman with a decleater, Paul Irons with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis was beat to the inside to kill the play, Ron Lunford pulled and missed his block to kill the play, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with a 3 yard run: James Coleman didn't block anybody, Donnie Carter with a block but his guy was in on the stop, Paul Irons didn't block anybody (needed to block a DB and his failure to do so killed the play), Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks didn't get out to a LB in time after an early chip block (not blocking that LB helped kill the play), David Castillo needed to sustain his block longer, Matt Meinrod with a decleater, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with a -1 yard run: James Coleman with a decleater, Donnie Carter with a block, Paul Irons and Matt Meinrod with a double-team block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and didn't block anybody, David Castillo missed his block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Leon Washington with a -3 yard run: James Coleman missed his block to kill the play, Paul Irons with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and doubled on Carter's man (he needed to hit another guy though), David Castillo needed a better block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron missed a decleater.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 2 yard run: James Coleman missed a decleater, the WR at the top of the screen got a block (couldn't tell # but it was not Dominic Robinson or Donnie Carter, who lined up as a WR on this play--so it was probably either Stovall or Sam), Ray Willis with a block, Ron Lunford fell down, David Castillo with a late block off the screen (I think), Matt Meinrod missed his block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Lorenzo Booker with a run for no gain: James Coleman fell down, Donnie Carter didn't get his block, Chauncey Stovall with a block, Ray Willis and Ron Lunford with a double-team block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod and Alex Barron with a double-team block. There were just too many defenders for us to block here.
--Leon Washington with a run for no gain: James Coleman missed his block to kill the play, Paul Irons with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and didn't block anybody, David Castillo missed a decleater, Matt Meinrod was beat to the outside to kill the play, Alex Barron with a chip block and then another block.
--Leon Washington with a 3 yard run: James Coleman with a decleater, Paul Irons and Ray Willis with a double-team block, Bobby Meeks didn't get his block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod missed his block to kill the play, Alex Barron with a block.
--Leon Washington with a 1 yard run on 3rd and 2: James Coleman was beat badly to kill the play, Paul Irons with a block, P.K. Sam with a block (I think it was Sam), Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a chip block at the line then a pancake on a LB, David Castillo with a pancake, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron steered his man outside then tried to get another block but didn't get there in time. We were bailed out of missing this first down by UF getting a running into the kicker penalty on the punt.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 1 yard run: James Coleman with a decleater, Donnie Carter and Paul Irons with a double-team block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and got a late block downfield, David Castillo with a block that was off-screen (might have been a decleater), Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron missed a decleater. If Barron would have made the block, Booker would have had a chance to cut back under Coleman's block and followed Meeks to a much bigger gain.
--Leon Washington with a -1 yard run and a fumble: James Coleman needed a better block, Donnie Carter with a block, Paul Irons with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a pancake, David Castillo didn't get a block, Matt Meinrod pulled and got a block, Alex Barron with a block. Leon fumbled on the hit and recovered at the 3 yard line. Channing Crowder came out of the pile with the ball after the ref had blown the play dead and then got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called against him for spiking the ball in anger at not getting the recovery called his way. This penalty put the ball at the 1-1/2 yard line.
--Chris Rix with a run for no gain on a QB sneak: Donnie Carter didn't get a block, Paul Irons with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block from the slot TE position, Ray Willis with a pancake, Ron Lunford and David Castillo with a double-team block, Matt Meinrod was beat to kill the play, Alex Barron with a block on Meinrod's guy but actually helped push him into Rix as a result of Meinrod not getting his part of the block.
--Leon Washington with a run for no gain: James Coleman with a block, Donnie Carter with an excellent job blocking two guys, Bobby Meeks with a pancake from the slot TE spot, Ray Willis with a pancake, Ron Lunford and David Castillo with a double-team pancake, Matt Meinrod pulled and missed his block to kill the play as he couldn't get over quickly enough, Alex Barron with a block, Paul Irons with a block. Leon gave a good second effort to lunge for the goalline and almost made it.
5. Our rushing defense played a very good game for the most part, but did have the following problems in stopping the Gator ground attack:
--12 yard run allowed by RB Carthon on a 3rd and 1 play: Allen Augustin was knocked down, Michael Boulware was blocked, Kendyll Pope was knocked down, B.J. Ward was literally steamrolled on this play and we were lucky that Carthon lost his balance and fell down after destroying Ward.
--2 point conversion allowed on a QB draw by QB Leak: Allen Augustin was blocked and Kyler Hall was a little bit late coming up for the stop.
--14 yard run allowed by RB Carthon on an option pitch: Stanford Samuels was blocked, Leroy Smith was blocked, Kamerion Wimbley hesitated after forcing the pitch (could have made the stop IMO had he not hesitated), Michael Boulware took a bad angle trying to avoid blockers (he needed to get to the point more directly but was bumped on his way out there), B.J. Ward was late coming up with run support.
--13 yard run allowed by QB Leak on a scramble: Jerome Carter was blocked, B.J. Ward was late coming up, Stanford Samuels was blocked.
--9 yard run allowed by RB Carthon: Claudius Osei missed a tackle, Rufus Brown was blocked. I'm not totally sure that it was Osei that missed the tackle. I'm only 51% sure as I couldn't make out the number. I have no idea who it was if it wasn't Osei.
--2 yard run allowed by RB Carthon for a 2nd and 1 conversion. I wouldn't ordinarily note this short run as a negative, but Kevin Emanuel missed a tackle behind the line of scrimmage that allowed Florida to get this first down.
--32 yard run allowed by QB Leak on a scramble on the last play of the game. Unfortunately, this run gave Florida more rushing yards than we had for the game, 142-134. Ernie Sims with a big pressure to flush Leak into running on this play. As soon as Leak crossed the line of scrimmage, the game was over because he wasn't going to run 50 yards for a score. However, we did let him get quite a few yards which almost made things very interesting at the end. I'm glad they didn't start lateraling the ball at around the 20-25 yard line because you never know what might happen in a mad scramble situation like that.
6. Our pass defense really struggled in allowing the freshman QB Chris Leak to amass 273 yards through the air on 22 of 36 passing and an additional 30 yards receiving on a trick play pass from WR Andre Caldwell to push the Gator passing totals up to 303 yards. The long list of problems with our pass coverage included:
--8 yard catch allowed by WR Perez on a 2nd and 7 play, beating Rufus Brown for a first down. Brown was giving too much cushion on this pass.
--32 yard catch allowed by TE Troupe for a 3rd and 4 conversion beating Stanford Samuels and Pat Watkins in coverage.
--12 yard catch and run allowed by WR Kight beating Stanford Samuels who was giving too much cushion.
--24 yard catch allowed by WR Kight beating B.J. Ward and Rufus Brown for an inexcusable 3rd and 22 conversion. We had momentum hugely in our favor prior to this play and had an opportunity to break the game open with a stop and another score before half-time, but failed to get it done on 3rd and 22. Poor job here.
--Jerome Carter dropped a sure interception as QB Leak was forced into throwing a wounded duck up for grabs on the opening play of the second half. I think the second half would have been *entirely* different and this could have been a blowout for FSU if Carter would have just hung onto this ball. This was a big turning point in the game as the Gators dominated most of the third quarter after this play. Jerome Carter has to be happier than anyone that we pulled this one out because he was looking like a possible goat through the second half.
--20 yard catch and run allowed by WR Kight beating Stanford Samuels on an out pattern. Samuels gave up a 7 yard catch, but then missed the tackle to let Kight get loose for 13 more yards.
--30 yard catch and run allowed by QB Leak on a throwback pass from WR Caldwell. Kendyll Pope should have had coverage on Leak, but didn't stay at home.
--25 yard TD catch allowed by TE Troupe beating Michael Boulware badly. Troupe made a great adjustment to the ball here for the score.
--16 yard catch allowed by WR Perez on an out pattern beating Stanford Samuels and Michael Boulware.
--39 yard catch allowed by TE Troupe on a flag pattern beating Ray Piquion badly. This was a particularly bad play because we had Florida pinned at the 8 yard line and let them out of the hole immediately on this first down play.
--16 yard catch and run allowed by RB Carthon on a shovel pass: Kendyll Pope was out of position as he tried to pursue Leak instead of covering his man, Allen Augustin was blocked. I'll continue to ponder why this play is not in our playbook.
--TE Troupe beat Allen Augustin and Jerome Carter for a potential TD in the back of the end zone, but we were very fortunate that he dropped it. These points turned out to be the difference in the game as UF was forced to settle for a field goal.
--26 yard TD catch allowed by TE Troupe beating Jerome Carter for the go-ahead score to put UF up 34-31 with under three minutes to play. This was a perfect pass by QB Leak. Carter bit ever so slightly on a play fake, which was just enough for Troupe to beat him in the back of the end zone.
--10 yard catch allowed by WR Caldwell beating Stanford Samuels and A.J. Nicholson in zone coverage.
7. I don't understand the thought process behind calling for a pooch kick to the 30 yard line with 5 minutes left in the game after we just took a 31-27 lead. The UF up man returned it 10 yards to the 40 to give them great field position to start the drive. If we're going to conceed that yardage, then why not just kick the ball out of bounds? I can see a pooch kick to the 20, but the 30 seems like defeating the purpose, especially when you allow a return anyway on top of that.
8. Chris Rix fumbled a snap for an 8 yard loss on a 2nd and 6 play on our final drive. This was just a terrible play as he looked away from the ball and sent the collective FSU hearts and stomachs sinking as the UF crowd was growing ever louder sensing victory.
9. The post-game fight at midfield started when UF player #22 (WR Reggie Lewis) swung his helmet at Travis Johnson. Then #93 (DE Steven Harris) and Darnell Dockett started throwing punches, then all hell broke loose. From the way it looked like things went, I think the Gators just wanted to lose twice in one day.
1. Our running game did a very good job in the first half, helping us go into the locker room with a 17-6 lead. We had 102 yards on the ground at half-time. The running room was much tougher to come by in the second half as UF definitely made some good adjustments to stop us on the ground as finished the game with 134 yards rushing on 43 carries and very little to show for our efforts in the second half. Game ball to Leon Washington for his team leading 65 yards on 15 carries, but his 80 yard kickoff return definitely factors in to this being a performance worthy of a game ball. Special commendation also goes to David Castillo and James Coleman who were forced to play the entire game without the benefit of having a usable backup at their positions. This is especially impressive for Castillo who has battled and played through injuries all year long. For the game we had 19 successful carries for 132 yards on designed running plays. We also had 19 unsuccessful carries for 7 yards. This totals to 38 carries for 139 yards on designed running plays, a 50% success ratio and a 3.66 YPC average. Those aren't spectacular numbers, but they were good enough to serve the needed purpose in this game. Here are the successful plays for the ground game:
--Greg Jones with a 4 yard run: James Coleman with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Paul Irons was beat to kill the play, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo needed to sustain his block longer, Matt Meinrod was bulled back and needed to sustain his block longer, Alex Barron missed a needed block, but then got a block on another player.
--Leon Washington with an 11 yard run: James Coleman missed a decleater, Dominic Robinson missed his initial block, but got a late block on another guy, Paul Irons with a pancake, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and got a pancake, David Castillo double-teamed on Willis' man initially but didn't get out in time for a block on a LB as the blocking scheme looked to be designed, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block. Leon bulled through two guys for eight extra yards. This was a really strong run.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 7 yard run: James Coleman with a block, Donnie Carter with a block but was thrown down, Ray Willis didn't block anybody, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo and Matt Meinrod with a double-team block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 9 yard run: James Coleman with a decleater, Donnie Carter didn't get a block (off screen, not positive), Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks went off screen and I couldn't tell at all what happened with him, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a decleater. The WR at the top of the screen had a great block, but I couldn't make out his number.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 4 yard run: James Coleman with a block, Paul Irons with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo missed a decleater, Matt Meinrod pulled and helped move the pile forward, Alex Barron with a block.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 5 yard run: James Coleman with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and got a block, David Castillo with a block, Alex Barron with a block, Chris Davis with a block.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 3 yard run on 3rd and 1: James Coleman with a block, Donnie Carter with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks pulled and got a block, David Castillo was beat to kill the play but his guy couldn't make the tackle in time to prevent Booker from getting the first down, Matt Meinrod with a pancake, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with a 7 yard run: James Coleman and David Castillo with a double-team block, Ray Willis knocked a guy down, Ron Lunford with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block.
--Greg Jones with a 3 yard run on 2nd and 3: James Coleman missed his block to help kill the play, P.K. Sam with a block, Matt Henshaw with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Ron Lunford didn't get his block, David Castillo with a block but his guy made the play (Castillo needed to get further to his right to keep the DT from getting to the corner), Matt Meinrod with a chip block on Castillo's guy but then missed on a decleater on another guy, Alex Barron with a block. Jones showed good power to lunge through tacklers to get to the marker.
--Greg Jones with an 8 yard run: James Coleman needed a better block but got enough of a block to prevent his guy from making the tackle as Jones had the strength to run through the hit, Dominic Robinson needed a better block, Matt Henshaw with a pancake, Ray Willis with a block, Ron Lunford with a block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron steered his man to the outside. Jones fumbled at the end of this play, but it was alertly recovered by Lunford. Prior to the fumble, Jones completely steamrolled DB Dixon similarly to how Carthon crushed Ward earlier in the game.
--Leon Washington with a 6 yard run: James Coleman with a decleater, P.K. Sam needed a better block (this killed the play), Ray Willis with a block, Ron Lunford with a light chip block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod knocked his guy down, Alex Barron with a block.
--Leon Washington with an 11 yard run: James Coleman didn't block anybody, Matt Henshaw with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Ron Lunford with a chip block at the line but didn't get out to hit the LB in time, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block, P.K. Sam with a block, Dominic Robinson with a block. Leon had a great cut here and was very close to breaking this run big.
--Leon Washington with a 5 yard run: James Coleman with a decleater, Donnie Carter with a block, Paul Irons with a block, Chris Davis with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Ron Lunford pulled and missed his block, David Castillo with a decleater, Matt Meinrod didn't block anybody, Alex Barron with a block. Leon tripped on this run.
--Leon Washington with a 10 yard run on 3rd and 11: James Coleman with a block, Matt Henshaw with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Ron Lunford with a block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod knocked a guy down (great downfield block), Alex Barron steered his man to the outside (lightly). Leon had a great move here to almost get the first down. I'll call this a successful carry despite our not getting the first down here because we were in good position to go for it on 4th and 1 after this play, but chose the field goal instead.
--Greg Jones with an 11 yard run: James Coleman with a drive block, Paul Irons with a pancake, Donnie Carter and Ray Willis with a double-team block, Ron Lunford pulled and didn't get a block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod needed to sustain his block longer but he fell down, Alex Barron with a block, Carter knocked another guy down late in the play.
--Leon Washington with a 6 yard run: James Coleman with a block, Paul Irons with a block, Dominic Robinson with a block, Ray Willis didn't get his block, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo and Matt Meinrod with a double-team block (and then Meinrod got another block), Alex Barron with a block.
--Leon Washington with a 17 yard run: James Coleman with a block on the opposite side from where Leon took the ball, Paul Irons with a block, Dominic Robinson with a block, Ray Willis didn't block anybody, Bobby Meeks with a block, David Castillo and Matt Meinrod with a double-team block, Alex Barron with a block. Leon with a great cut here against the flow of the play to bounce it to the outside and then outran three guys around the corner to a big gain.
--Chris Rix with a 1 yard TD run on a 4th down QB sneak: Donnie Carter with a block, Paul Irons with a block, Bobby Meeks with a block from the slot TE spot, Ray Willis missed his block, Ron Lunford with a decleater, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block (I think), Alex Barron with a block (I think). This was a nice jump by Rix leaping to get the ball across the plane.
--Lorenzo Booker with a 4 yard run: James Coleman needed a better block, P.K. Sam with a block, Ray Willis with a block, Bobby Meeks with a chip block at the line and another block, David Castillo with a block, Matt Meinrod with a block, Alex Barron with a block.
2. FSU was penalized only 5 times for 35 yards. That's good enough to get in the positives section despite these being negative plays. Six are listed but the kickoff penalty doesn't count towards the stats.
--Illegal procedure penalty on Paul Irons.
--Offsides penalty on Eric Moore and Kevin Emanuel who were lined up across the line at the snap.
--Late hit penalty on Kasey Anderson on a kickoff return. This was a bad call as Anderson was blocked in the back and shoved into the hit he made. This was a 25 yard swing in field position that helped set up a Florida field goal.
--Xavier Beitia with a penalty for a kickoff that went out of bounds.
--Rufus Brown with a face mask penalty inadvertently grabbing a WR face mask at the line just after the snap. (I think that's what the call was here, but I'm not 100% sure).
--Chauncey Davis with an offsides penalty on a Florida FG attempt gave UF a first down.
3. Our defensive line did well in holding Florida to just 110 yards rushing prior to the 32 yard scramble by Chris Leak on the final play of the game. But we did not get the level of pressure we needed to really try to rattle the freshman Leak throughout the game. Our DL did make a number of good plays though, so I'd say that they played a decent game overall in this one. The high points of the game up front included:
--Darnell Dockett with a -1 yard TFL on a run by RB Fason
--Jeff Womble with a tackle for no gain on a run by RB Fason.
--Eric Moore with a -2 yard TFL on a draw play to RB Fason after a good pump fake by Chris Leak. Moore was not fooled on the play.
--Travis Johnson with a tackle for a 1 yard gain on a 3rd and 2 run by RB Wynn to force Florida to settle for a field goal. (This was the one where Florida got an extremely lucky bounce after the ball hit the crossbar).
--Eric Moore with a -4 yard sack! Jeff Womble and Travis Johnson with the initial pressure.
--Kevin Emanuel and Allen Augustin with a huge pressure to force an incompletion.
--Chauncey Davis batted a pass in the air and almost got an interception, but it would have been negated by a penalty anyway.
--Kamerion Wimbley with a pressure to force an incompletion.
--Jeff Womble and Chauncey Davis with a pressure to force an incompletion.
--Jeff Womble with a vicious -1 yard TFL on a run by RB Carthon.
--Charles Howard with a pressure to force QB Leak to scramble for only three yards and more importantly wasting time on the clock with less than a minute left in the game.
--Kamerion Wimbley and Broderick Bunkley with a pressure to force an incompletion.
4. Chris Rix came alive in the fourth quarter hitting 6 of his 7 passes in the final quarter for 157 yards. His very impressive fourth quarter performance allowed him to finish the game with 256 yards on 14 of 19 passing with three TDs and no interceptions. That amounts to a whopping 13.47 yards per attempt and a 73.7% completion percentage. That's about as efficient through the air as you can get. Game ball to Chris Rix for coming through big time at crunch time. The gut-wrenching 4th and 14 play that ended with an unbelievably clutch completion to Dominic Robinson, followed by the 52 yard bomb felt 'round the state, will go down as two of the greatest plays in FSU history. The highlights for our passing game included:
--Dominic Robinson with a 35 yard TD catch on a post pattern! He beat Keiwan Ratliff early and Guss Scott in the end zone for the score. This was a perfect pass by Chris Rix and a great play by Robinson. I could have done without his posing under the goalpost, considering that this was his first TD reception and he dropped an incredibly important potential TD against Miami, but I definitely will give him credit for a great play here.
--Chris Davis with a 9 yard catch and run on a quick out, juking DB Ratliff for eight extra yards after the catch.
--Matt Henshaw with a 20 yard TD catch! We ran play action on this 2nd and 10 play, which was an *excellent* call given our success with the running game at that point. Henshaw made a great adjustment to the ball. It was thrown behind him by Chris Rix as he was initially looking over his outside shoulder and the ball was thrown to the inside. I wouldn't say it was a bad pass as Rix put it in a good location, but Henshaw made a great grab here for the score. I liked his little "Shhhhh!" signal to the crowd. That was much more subtle than what Robinson did and very fitting for the moment as we went up by a 17-6 score at that point.
--P.K. Sam with a 13 yard catch and run on a curl route where he broke two tackles to get first down yardage.
--Dominic Robinson with an excellent 18 yard catch on a corner route beating double coverage.
--Chris Rix with a good job finding Leon Washington as a dump off option in the flat for a 5 yard completion on a play where everyone else was well covered.
--Dominic Robinson with a 14 yard catch on a curl pattern.
--P.K. Sam with a 19 yard catch on a deep slant pattern. This is where we could really see that Chris Rix was starting to heat up in a big way.
--Dominic Robinson with an awesome 11 yard catch on an out pattern. This was a really great grab here as he had to contort himself considerably to get this one and showed good hands bringing the ball in.
--Donnie Carter with a 34 yard catch and run on a completion over the middle. This was a beautiful play call and very indicative of how many FSU fans want the TE to be utilized. Carter was wide open and this was a great delivery by Rix for an enormous play to set up a go-ahead touchdown.
--Dominic Robinson with a 24 yard catch on a square in pattern for a 4th and 14 conversion. This was a do-or-die play with the entire game on the line and the Rix to Robinson combination came up huge. This completion was as clutch as clutch can be. Robinson took a huge hit from DB Bailey but hung on to the ball. He ran a great route taking it deeper than usual to make sure he had enough yardage for the first down. This was a PERFECT throw by Chris Rix with perfect timing to hit Robinson just as he flashed open between four defenders. This was threading the needle in a major way. Game ball to Dominic Robinson for his 5 catch, 102 yard, 1 TD performance filling in for the injured Craphonso Thorpe. If we had just one wide receiver step up in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma as Robinson did in this game, we'd have won the 2000 National Championship. It was great to see Robinson finally make a very real contribution to the team after having so many struggles over his career so far. He couldn't have picked a better game to have this kind of impact.
--P.K. Sam with a 52 yard TD catch! Holy cow!!! Chris Rix detonated one of the biggest bombs in FSU football history with this monster throw. The pass traveled 66 yards in the air after Rix dropped back and rolled out from the shotgun formation. Sam made a perfect play on the ball beating Guss Scott to put FSU in front 38-34 with 55 seconds remaining in the game. After the catch, Sam later made a great move avoiding an angry German shepherd outside the back of the end zone. Game ball to P.K. Sam basically for this one catch that no Seminole fan will ever forget, though he did end the game with 3 catches for 84 yards. After the play, it was TOTAL PANDEMONIUM in the FSU section of the stands and the Gator fans could only sit in stunned silence, knowing that FSU had just pulled out their still beating hearts and showed them to them.
5. Our linebackers really didn't have a very active game in this one. Kendyll Pope had a few strong plays and Michael Boulware was one of the leaders in tackles, but there were only a few really standout plays made. Here's the list of positive plays for our linebacking corps on the day:
--Ernie Sims with a tackle for a 1 yard gain on a scramble by Chris Leak on a 3rd and 8 play. Leak fumbled the ball here, but it looked like his knee was down. I would need to see the Sunshine reply on this to see the opposite angle (if they showed that angle) to be sure. I missed looking for this when I watched some of the Sunshine replay.
--A.J. Nicholson with a tackle for a 1 yard gain on a run by RB Wynn.
--Kendyll Pope with a vicious -6 yard sack! Jeff Womble and Kevin Emanuel supplied the initial pressure to set up this sack.
--Ernie Sims with a tackle to hold QB Leak to a 2 yard gain on a 3rd and 5 scramble. The initial pressure on the play was put on by Eric Moore and Charles Howard. Sims made the tackle as Leak slid to avoid certain decapitation as Sims was going to pulverize him. We did a good job getting pressure from the three man rush here.
--Kendyll Pope with a -2 yard TFL on a shovel pass to RB Carthon. Pope learned from his previous mistake on this play and stayed at home this time to make a big stop.
--Kendyll Pope did a great job on a 4th and 2 play late in the game. He had to cover the RB to prevent the shovel pass that appeared to be called. He did so and that forced Leak to try to run for the first down. Pope then closed ground on Leak on the run and knocked him out of bounds close enough to the marker to force a measurement. He didn't get him in time to prevent the first down, but I thought this was still a great enough play to consider it a positive despite the conversion. Pope was all alone out there with two guys to account for and he held the play to a two yard gain.
6. Xavier Beitia was good from 28 yards on his only field goal attempt of the game.
7. Leon Washington with a spectacular 80 yard kickoff return from three yards deep in the end zone to the UF 23 yard line. This was an awesome return and Leon showed more of his explosive speed on this one. This play set up the touchdown to put us up 17-6, so this was a huge swing in the game after UF had just cut the lead to 10-6 with a field goal. Willie Reid later had an excellent 45 yard return.
8. Our secondary was pretty active in this game with B.J. Ward and Stanford Samuels tying for the team lead in tackles. But given that they gave up over 300 yards in passing, I wouldn't call this a good outing for this unit. But here are the positive plays made by our secondary on the day:
--Rufus Brown with a -6 yard TFL on a flare pass to RB Fason. This was an *awesome* open field tackle by Brown. This was immediately after a Kendyll Pope sack after we went up 17-6 and it seemed like we had momentum going hugely in our favor at this point.
--Stanford Samuels with an immediate stop on a completion to WR Perez for a 5 yard gain on a 3rd and 8 play. A.J. Nicholson was also in on the tackle.
--Jerome Carter with a nice tackle for a 1 yard gain on a run by RB Carthon. Broderick Bunkley was also in on the stop with initial contact.
--Stanford Samuels with a big pressure on a CB blitz to force an incompletion that held Florida to a game-tying field goal.
--Pat Watkins with a 25 yard fumble return for a TD! This was a HUGE PLAY! We were very down at this point in the game. This play magically turned everything back around and allowed us to retie the game. In the stands, it was kind of surreal as nobody could tell what really happened and the TD came as a complete surprise. The CBS replay showed this to be the correct call IMO.
--Leroy Smith with a nice open field tackle to hold a 2nd and 7 completion to WR Small to only a 2 yard gain.
--Claudius Osei with an excellent stop for no gain on a 3rd and 2 run by QB Leak. Kendyll Pope cleaned up with a big hit at the end of the play to knock Leak out of bounds short of the marker.
--Rufus Brown with a nice pass breakup for an incompletion.
--Leroy Smith and B.J. Ward had good coverage on a deep sideline pattern to WR Kight.
9. Jesse Stein averaged 40 yards per punt on four punts.
10. The University of Florida lost because they greatly offended the woof gods. After they made the field goal to take the lead in the fourth quarter (with plenty of time still left in the game), they sent out the police to line the field and made the announcement telling fans to not go on the field. I said at the time, "Isn't it still a bit early for this?" There was still eight minutes left in the game at that point. I guess it's possible that UF just does that earlier than I've ever seen it done, but it came across as something the woof gods would take great offense to. The 52 yard TD pass from Rix to Sam would indicate that such offense was taken and efficiently punished.
11. Our 38 points in this game marked the most points we have ever scored in any game in Gainesville.
Wow! What a game! Standing ovation to the FSU team for giving us fans such a thrill in vanquishing the enemy on their turf. I am definitely glad that I chose this game to be my first to go to Gainesville. Thanks to Sonny and Conrad Bishop and family for their arm-twisting and help with dragging me kicking and screaming to the game against my usual better judgment for setting foot in that town. ;) And thanks for the season to Jeff St. John for being the road dog in getting us to all the games.
This marks victory number five for FSU in the last six games against the Gators and keeps alive the possibility of us being able to say we are back with college football's elite. Unlike many quotes from Coach Bowden and the team that I've seen, I do not feel the achievement of the 10 victory plateau to be enough to say we are back. We still must win the bowl game to be able to make that claim, because the standard for the dynasty was Top 5 finishes. The 10 win plateau was simply something that came with the territory of those Top 5 finishes. If we win our bowl game, I'll view this as a season on par with the weaker teams in the dynasty run. I'll take that in a heartbeat considering where we have been the previous two seasons. But there is work still to be done before we can say we are back IMO. It's fitting that for us to claim that we are back, we will have to get through the Miami Hurricanes. That should serve as extra motivation for our team to get it done.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Offense: Dominic Robinson (with a tip of the hat to Chris Rix, P.K. Sam and Leon Washington)
Defense: Kendyll Pope for his 2 TFLs including a sack. Nobody on defense really stood out though B.J. Ward, Stanford Samuels and Michael Boulware tied for the team lead in tackles with six each. Jeff Womble had a good game.
Special Teams: Leon Washington for the big return that led to our 17-6 lead.
Since our Gator friends seem to be taking quite an interest in the officiating in this game, I've decided to add a supplement to the summary to list my point of view on every potentially controversial call made by the referees in this game. In my opinion, I've viewed these plays with a fair eye and conducted my analysis in an unbiased manner. Of course it may be impossible to completely remove one's allegiances from how you view each play, but I tried my best to do so in this analysis.
1. On the opening kickoff, Florida was robbed of a fumble recovery by Antonio Cromartie. I agree with the Florida fans that this was a bad call. It should have been Florida's ball because the ball was clearly out before Cromartie's knee was down and his forward progress was not fully stopped as he still went forward for another yard after the ball popped out. We did not score on this drive, so this did not lead to any FSU points. I think it's fairly safe to assume that UF would have gotten at least a field goal here had the proper call been made.
2. Defensive holding penalty on Florida on our first punt of the game. This looked to be a valid call as our guy was tackled at the line. Gator fans would say it was after the punt, meaning it should have been marked off from the end of the return and been Florida's ball, but they are looking at the point that the tackling of our player concluded IMO. The hold started before that point, so I think this was a valid call.
3. Later in this drive, there was a reverse by Chris Davis that ended with Florida stripping the ball away from him. The play was blown dead due to Davis' forward progress being stopped. I think the correct call was made here and the CBS announcers fully agreed that Davis was stopped. There was no controversy at all to this play on the CBS broadcast.
4. After the Gators took a 3-0 lead on a field goal, they kicked off to us. Antonio Cromartie fumbled again and the Gators recovered. However, the Gators were flagged for an offsides penalty on the kickoff. This was a valid call. The guy that was 2nd from the top on the CBS broadcast was 1/2 yard offsides as the ball was kicked. This was confirmed by freeze-frame and frame advance on my VCR. I have to laugh at any Gators that claim this play as part of the evidence that they were robbed by the ACC refs. At the point the ref through the flag, he had no idea that Cromartie was going to fumble the ball. He just did his job and made the right call. The Gators using this play to protest need to just shut up and deal with it IMO.
5. On the subsequent drive, FSU threw a pass to Chris Davis. Davis caught the ball and got one foot down prior to getting hit and having the ball knocked away from him. He did not get the second foot down before contact. It was a bang-bang play from the point that his first foot came down to the point that the ball came loose. I have seen plays like this called a fumble, and I have seen them called incomplete passes. It was a judgment call by the ref. I can see why UF fans adamantly say it was a fumble, but I can also see why the ref called it as he did having seen plays like that ruled incompletions many times before. The announcers on the CBS telecast felt it was a fumble. I would say it probably was a fumble. There was also a personal foul penalty called against Florida on this play, but it was called after the ball was knocked out, so had this been ruled a fumble, the penalty would not have negated the change of possession. We did score a touchdown on this drive, so it can be argued that we would have had seven less points if not for this call.
6. On the next play of the same drive, Lorenzo Booker ran the ball and was stripped after his forward progress was stopped. This was the correct call. Booker's feet were both off the ground as three defenders were picking him up and pushing him backwards before the ball came out. The CBS announcers also felt that this was the proper call.
7. Chris Leak fumbled the ball on a scramble, but his knee looked to me like it was down prior to the ball coming out. There was only the live angle shown on CBS, and I never saw the Sunshine angles/replays on this play, so I can just go by what I saw on the CBS view. If that view paints an accurate picture, the refs made the proper call here and this call coincides with their tendency in this game to call players down pretty quickly, so I feel they were consistent. I have been told that the Sunshine replay of this play shows that the ball was out prior to Leak's knee hitting the ground and that Nat Moore admitted this on the Sunshine telecast, so it's very possible that this was a bad call. Either way, it shows the consistency of the refs in this game in calling plays down quickly. The Gators missed their FG attempt here, so this play did not impact the score of the game.
8. Greg Jones had a run where he fumbled at the end of the play but it seemed that the refs errantly ruled him down. Ron Lunford recovered the fumble, so it didn't have an impact on the game, but was another call that should be looked at. It looked like the refs spotted the ball where Lunford recovered it, but they never signaled FSU's possession and didn't throw a bean-bag like they normally would had they ruled it a fumble. There are four fumbles listed by FSU in the official stats (two by Rix, one by Leon and one by Canfield), so this was not officially listed as a fumble.
9. Kasey Anderson was called with a late hit penalty on a kickoff return, but this play should have had a flag against Florida for pushing Anderson in the back. He wouldn't have hit the Florida return man if not for being pushed. This was a 25 yard difference in field position that set up Florida's second field goal. The probable loss of the field goal here had UF had to drive an additional 25 yards to get it, would negate the gain of the probable field goal that would have been gained with a proper call on the fumble on the opening kickoff. So unless you are sure that Florida would have scored a touchdown on that drive, these two calls probably negate each other in importance to the final score.
10. The refs missed a late hit out of bounds penalty on the long kickoff return by Willie Reid. This play preceded the fumble by Chris Rix and it is unclear what impact this may have had on the game. We were in field goal position when Rix fumbled, so I don't know what impact the additional 15 yards would have had.
11. Keiwan Ratliff had a near interception in the end zone that some Gator fans are claiming that they were robbed on. I think this was the correct call as it looked like part of his foot was on the line as he brought the ball in. However, if the Gators want to claim this play, I will gladly give it to them because that would mean they wouldn't have gotten the Ratliff touchdown on the fumble recovery and would have taken over possession at the 20 yard line. So if the Gators want to claim this as one of the plays that went against them, they should also volunteer to take seven points away from their score.
12. The fumble by Ciatrick Fason that was returned for a 25 yard TD by Pat Watkins was the correct call. CBS' final camera angle clearly showed that the ball was coming out. Yes, as some Gators are indicating, the ball didn't completely come out until Fason hit the ground, but it was out enough to be ruled loose in the eyes of the referee. It was the proper call. The CBS announcers commended the ACC refs for doing a good job on that play.
13. Florida had a running into the punter penalty called against them. Florida fans are claiming that their man was blocked into the punter. It is true that there was contact by Michael Boulware. However, Boulware barely touched him and he continued along the same path he was already on despite Boulware's light block. His path was not changed by the contact, therefore I deem this call to be legitimate. We did not score on this drive, so it did not impact the score of the game.
14. On a Florida field goal attempt, FSU was called for an offsides penalty. The center and the right side of the UF line shifted late to draw Chauncey Davis offsides. I consulted the NCAA rulebook on this and found the following:
Shifts and False Starts
ARTICLE 4. a. If a snap is preceded by a huddle or shift, all players of the offensive team must come to an absolute stop and remain stationary in their positions without movement of the feet, body, head or arms, for at least one full second before the ball is snapped.
b. It is not intended that Rule 7-1-4-a. should prohibit smooth, rhythmical shifts if properly executed. A smooth cadence shift or unhurried motion is not an infraction. However, it is the responsibility of an offensive player who moves before the snap to do so in a manner that in no way simulates the beginning of a play. After the ball is ready for play and all players are in scrimmage formation, no offensive player shall make a quick, jerky movement before the snap, including but not limited to
1. A lineman moving his foot, shoulder, arm, body or head in a quick, jerky
motion in any direction.....
It sounds like what UF did was illegal, but I'm not 100% sure of that. The refs seemed pretty confident in their call. If that shift is legal, then this was a valid call against FSU. If that shift is not legal, then this was a bad call. Florida ended up settling for the field goal anyway, so this did not impact the final score.
15. On our next drive, Leon Washington fumbled the ball at the Florida one yard line. The ball went back to the three yard line and Leon had it covered with his knee. That is the extent of what you could tell of the play on the CBS angles. The CBS announcers thought that Leon recovered the ball initially and then Verne Lundquist talked about the knee on top of the ball. So I say there was no definitive angle shown on CBS. Sunshine Network's broadcast had another angle that showed Leon did get his hands on the ball prior to Crowder in the pile. Keith Jones pointed that out. In fairness to UF fans, I don't think that angle was completely conclusive either because the view wasn't that great and was somewhat obstructed. It did show Leon's hands getting to the ball, but it didn't show if he was able to fully establish possession. What this did show though was that the refs blew the play dead at the point where Leon Grabbed for it and that there was a ref there that did have a better view than what we could see. That leads me to believe that the right call was made, while not being able to say that conclusively. With that in mind though, if the NCAA had instant replay challenges, the call on the field would have stood absent conclusive evidence to the contrary of the call. Another thing to consider is with Leon being on the ground, even if the refs only saw his hands on the ball with possession for the briefest of moments, the play is correctly blown dead at that point right there. That's what I feel the call was here.
16. On third and goal on this same drive, Leon Washington lunged to the goal line at the end of a run from the one yard line. I think he may have gotten the ball across the plane of the goal. I think the refs were cognizant of the Gator crowd wanting them run out of the stadium with regard to earlier calls in the game and just were not going to give us the touchdown in any way that could be viewed as another controversy, especially after the fumble and crowd reaction to the play on first down. On this run, Leon's knees were not down as he was spun upside down on the tackle attempt. He was trying to backstroke his way across the line. His body was on the tackler on the way down and at the point his back did hit the ground, his head was across the line. I couldn't tell exactly how far up his body the ball was. There was a ref that had a good view, so I'll defer to him and will say this was the proper call.
So with all these potentially controversial calls, the results are as follows:
Calls that went UF's way:: 5 (#7, #9, #10, #14, #16)
Calls that went FSU's way: 11 (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #8, #11, #12, #13, #15)
Calls that went UF's way that were truly bad calls or at least questionable:
5 (#7, #9, #10, #14, #16)
Calls that went FSU's way that were truly bad calls or at least questionable: 5 (#1, #2, #5, #8, #15)
Bad calls that went UF's way that likely impacted the score of the game: 1
Bad calls that went FSU's way that likely impacted the score of the game: 2 (#1, #5)
So from this analysis, the core of the genuine Gator complaint with the officiating honestly boils down to the Chris Davis catch being ruled an incompletion instead of a fumble. That's the one play where they have a claim that might have rendered a different outcome to the game. However, this play happened in the first quarter of the game and there are any number of other variables that could have happened had that call gone the other way. Just like if the near Ratliff interception would have been ruled an interception, the Gators would have lost the fumble return for a TD off the scoreboard, we don't know what might have happened had the Gators been given possession at that point. For all we know, Leak might have thrown an INT for a score right back. What we do know is that the Gators had the lead with under three minutes to play, had FSU in a 4th and 14 situation, and could not stop us. If they make that play, they win. Simple. They couldn't stop us.