1) With 21 seconds left in the first quarter and the Gators in danger of opening their first quarter of the Urban Meyer era without a score, Leak dropped back for the big icebreaker. Chad Jackson was screaming down the left sideline and headed toward the southeast corner of The Swamp. With a low spiral pass right on target, Jackson didn't have to break stride and carried his momentum deep into the tunnel of the end zone scoring from 26 yards out. (A close second would be back to back pass rushes from Ray mcDonald that resulted in two sacks.)
2) With the running game not clicking on all cylinders and a record of consecutive completions on the line, Leak dropped back under perfect protection. Andre Caldwell raced by all defenders on the right hash and Leak threw the ball almost 70 yards in the air as Caldwell had to wait on it. The pass covered 63 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and was the longest play of from scrimmage on the day. Caldwell actually overran the ball in the air and stated, "He made a long pass, and I went as far as I could to run it down."
3) Who could forget Chad Jackson's fingertip catch in the right corner of the north end zone? With the Gators moving the ball down the field on the opening series of the second half, they were 1st and 10 at the 26 yard line. Jackson said it best -- "The play was originally supposed to go to Dallas and I guess Dallas was covered. I came back around, and Chris overthrew me a little bit. I just went out there and made the one handed grab." Jackson had flashbacks of Wide Receivers Coach Billy Gonzalez running through his head when he thought to himself, "If you get your hands on the ball, you better not drop it."
Chad, Leak, and Casey celebrate Chad's touchdown
4) With the defense playing so well it is hard to imagine the defense not getting at least one play of one quarter. On Wyoming's second series of the 4th quarter Wyoming quarterback Corey Bramlet dropped back to throw a slant pass near the left hash. Vernell Brown dropping back in a zone, eyeballed the throw and dove to make the interception 16 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Brown after the game was very matter of fact about the interception: "I was in coverage and in a zone. The defensive backs are supposed to see the ball in the zone and I broke on it."
Defensive Play of The Game
I'm going to split it. It was a sight to sore eyes to see Ray McDonald coming around the end seemingly untouched in the second quarter for a de-cleater sack deep in Wyoming territory. The pass rush was there most of the night and on the next play it was the same thing, but the quarterback avoided the initial rush and stepped into another sack. McDonald said after the game, "It was a power speed thing, I read his pas and beat him at the edge."
Vernell Brown showing he can play at the Division 1 level all night long, had a nice interception mentioned above.
Defensive Player of the Game
Ray McDonald showed why the defensive front is getting a lot of praise from teammates and coaches alike. His play on the night caused double teams and forced the offensive line to scheme towards him and open it up for others to be in the backfield all night. Brandon Siler said about McDonald and the rest of the front: "The front four, they really got after it. I can't say enough about them."
Andre Caldwell catches a 63 yard touchdown on this play
Offensive Play of the Game
Chad Jackson's third quarter one-handed catch was a thing of beauty. The fact that he was the second option certainly bodes well for Leak and him finding alternate receivers in future games.
Offensive Player of The Game
It is hard to imagine Chris Leak having a better night statistically this season, going 36-34 for 320 yards and three touchdowns, while also breaking the consecutive completed pass mark originally set by Steve Spurrier. Still, Jackson's four touchdowns on the night, three by air and one by land, stole the show and may make him national offensive player of the week.
Best Coaching Decision
There was a second half adjustment, or so it seemed, to the running game. With Skyler Thornton seeing more action in the half, the offense seemed to use quicker hand offs and get the ball up field quicker. Thornton had rushes for 12 and eight yards to start the quarter.
It was something I noticed in practice but never commented on due to assuming the coaches wanted to keep it quiet for their first opponent, On a few punts, some of the fans were going nuts as it appeared that there was no punt returner back to receive the punts. On the plays, the coaches actually rushed one of the outside gunner containers, while the original deep man slid into that container spot. A slot defender then raced back while the ball was being punted to cover the punt. Sure, the original extra blitzer could block the kick, but more importantly, it gives other coaches something to worry about.