World Shocker!

Ole Miss stunned the college football world today with a 31-30 upset of No. 4 Florida in Gainesville, Fla. A blocked extra point by Rebel Kentrell Lockett proved to be the difference after Florida scored its 30th point with 3:28 to go in the contest.

Lockett reached up and swatted away the extra point kick of Jonathan Phillips, and Ole Miss held on to a slim one-point lead.

After failing to move the football and punting back to Florida, Tim Tebow led the Gators to a fourth and 1 at the Rebel 32. But on fourth down, the Rebel defense stuffed the current holder of the Heisman Trophy, and Ole Miss' 600th alltime victory was secure.

UM quarterback Jevan Snead, who threw two touchdown passes in the contest and ran for another, simply took a knee to run out the clock.

"We shocked the world today," said an elated Ole Miss first-year head coach Houston Nutt. "Our team took it to another level today."

Nutt said the Rebels, who trailed 17-7 at halftime, would not be denied on this day.

"I'm at a loss for words," said the veteran Southeastern Conference head coach of 10 previous years at Arkansas. "I wondered how we would respond after the Vanderbilt game. They kept believing. I'm proud of their effort."

The Rebels played well in every area – not perfectly but as it turned out, good enough to win a big game on the road in a hostile environment.

"It took all three phases," he said. "I can't tell you how important this win is for our program. If we handle this right, we can take off with this."

Nutt repeated, "If we handle this right, this should jump start us."

A 17-point third quarter gave the Rebels the lead at 24-17 and more importantly let the players know they could still win the game.

After taking a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard Snead run and Joshua Shene extra point with 3:12 to go in the first period, the second quarter was all Gators with UF taking the 10-point lead into the locker room. After that shaky second quarter, Nutt told the TV audience in a halftime interview, "We're still in the game."

Indeed they were. The Gators turned the ball over twice early in the third quarter via two fumbles that led to 10 Ole Miss points with less than five minutes gone in the second half to tie it at 17-17.

Shene made a 33-yard field goal with 11:00 to go in the third after a Percy Harvin fumble was recovered by Kendrick Lewis at the Gstor 34 and Ole Miss' drive stalled six plays later at the 16.

On UF's first play after the ensuing kickoff, Tebow fumbled a handoff exchange, and Marcus Tillman pounced on the loose ball for the Rebs at the Florida 18. On third and 10, Snead hit Cordera Eason on a screen to the left side of the line. With a wall of white-shirted Rebel blockers, Eason found a seam and raced down the sideline, spinning in for a touchdown. Shene was good and things were knotted.

After an exchange of punts, the Rebel took it in for another touchdown. From the Gator 40, Dexter McCluster raced the distance to give Ole Miss the lead again, capping a 7-play, 72 yard drive in 3:42. Shene was good, and Ole Miss was up 24-17 with 52 seconds left in the third.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Gators came roaring back. Tebow scored from the 1 on a keeper, the final play of a 9-snap, 49-yard drive that began after a nice kickoff return to near midfield. Phillips connected on the point after, and the game was a standoff again with 11:26 left.

After an exchange of punts, Ole Miss came back with a scoring drive of its own as on third and 5 from the UM 16, Snead hit an open Shay Hodge near the Rebel sidelin, and the speedster outran everybody for paydirt. The play covered 86 yards and with Shene's extra point, Ole Miss was up 31-24.

"(UM offensive coordinator) Kent Austin noticed their cornerback was cheating to the sideline," Nutt said. "He told Jevan to look the corner into the sideline, to keep an eye on the sideline, and if he bit to throw the post. It worked perfectly. The safities were cheating in and it created an alley."

It also created a near desperate situation for the Gators with 5:26 to go. But the veteran team from Florida has been here before. They were confident they could win it.

Starting at his own 32 after the kickoff, Tebow had his team at the UM 15 after only four pass completions. On first down at the 15, he was incomplete. On second and 10 at that point, he pitched to Harvin who raced 15 yards for the score.

That's when Phillips lined up to tied it. That's when Lockett reached up to save the day.

"I told those guys (defenders) to stay in their gaps," Nutt said. "That if they did, eventually somebody would take a lazy step on their offensive line and create a gap. Kentrall almost blocked two earlier in the game. The guard slid out, left a gap, and Kentrell did exactly what he was supposed to do."

Or at least the moment. Ole Miss had to punt back to the Gators with 2:15 left. UF was at its own 22 with 2:05 to go. On fourth and 1 at the Ole Miss 32 with 55 seconds to go, Tebow kept but was met by a host of Rebel defender who stopped him for no gain.

This one belonged to the Red and Blue.

"Jevan made some good throws today, even under a big rush," Nutt said. "He made great decisions most of the day.

"Even down 17-7 our sideline was up and into it," Nutt continued. "They were into it all day long."

Nutt and staff used the Wild Rebel formation often, and he said it was because it worked.

"It was really the only thing that was working consistently," he said. "We were getting 5 to 6 yards a pop and eating some clock. We felt like Dexter would eventually break on, and he did (the 40-yard touchdown run)."

Florida had 24 first downs to the Rebels' 10. Ole Miss outrushed the Gators 140 to 124. The Gators had the best of it up top 319 to 185.

Snead was 9-of-20 with an interception and two touchdowns. McCluster carried the ball 11 times for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Bolden carried it 13 times for 55 yards. Hodge caught three passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Tebow was 24-of-38 for 319 yards and a touchdown. Harvin rushed 10 times for 82 yards and one score to pace the UF ground attack. He also caught 13 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown.

The Rebels, 3-2 overall and 1-1 in SEC play, host South Carolina next Saturday at 1 p.m. for Homecoming.

Florida, which plays at Arkansas next Saturday, fell to 3-1 and 1-1.


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