It Wasn't Artistic, But It Was Beautiful

The two best offenses in college football got together to settle the BCS National Championship, but a funny thing happened on the way to the expected shootout. Florida and Oklahoma both struggled to execute. Both defenses played their tails off, and the end result was a game that was exciting and memorable for reasons few if any anticipated.

Two teams that combined to average 99 points a game ended up in a 14-14 tie with 12 minutes to play.

For the second game in a row the Gators scored twice late in the game to beat the nation's top-ranked team. Last month it was Alabama for the SEC Title and this time it was Oklahoma for the BCS National Championship.

We found out pretty quickly that this game was not going to be an offensive showcase. Oklahoma picked up a pair of first downs on its first possession but had to punt. The Gators moved the chains twice before Tim Tebow was intercepted setting up the Sooners near midfield. Oklahoma ran eight plays but didn't get far and gave it back to the Gators. Florida began a drive at their own 14 and reached the Oklahoma 21 by the end of the quarter. After 15 minutes we had seen 33 plays, 158 yards and not a single point.

The game certainly lacked the kind of flow you would like for it to have due to a combination of sloppy play, turnovers, clock problems, replay reviews and a number of injuries. Then, of course there were the innumerable and incredibly lengthy commercial breaks. But through it all the Gators and Sooners persevered and gave us an exhilarating final 25 minutes.

When the dust settled Florida was again atop the world of college football and for the fifth BCS game in a row, Oklahoma went home disappointed.

Two days ago we posted a conversation I had with Jonathan Phillips about how he would feel about having to make a huge kick in this one. That segment of the interview bears repeating.

LV: Have you run through the ideal scenario in your mind as to when and where the kick might come?

JP: Every day we do what we call "game winners" and I let the holder (Butch Rowley) and snapper (James Smith) decide where the ball is. I don't even know until I go out there. We try to do a situation just the three of us and sometimes we have just 12 seconds and I don't even get to go through my steps.

LV: Do you have a preferred spot to kick from or one you would just as soon avoid?

JP: The problem with places on the field I don't like is that I hate them so much that I practice there the most. I hate kicking from the left hash, but I'd say I'm the most accurate from there because I practice it the most, but I hate it.

So how appropriate was it that Phillips lined up for a 27-yard kick from of all the places the left hash mark. He nailed it, giving the Gators a 17-14 advantage. From there the Florida defense took over with a terrific interception by Ahmad Black they led to a game-clinching 11-play 76-yard drive.

It wasn't as dominating as the last two national title wins for the Gators, but for everyone in Gator Nation it was every bit as satisfying.


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