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Freshmen Put the Bite Back in Attack for Florida, 38-7

October 15, 2000|From Associated Press

Rex Grossman, a redshirt freshman making only his second start, threw five touchdown passes as No. 10 Florida scored on its first five drives and rolled to a 38-7 victory over No. 19 Auburn on Saturday at Gainesville, Fla.

Freshman Jabar Gaffney caught three touchdowns passes, including a leaping grab in the back of the end zone, as the Gators (6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference) looked a lot better than they did in a 47-35 loss to Mississippi State two weeks earlier.

The Tigers (5-2, 3-2) lost their second in a row.

Gaffney's amazing leaping grab of Grossman's pass early in the second quarter gave Florida a 28-7 lead. The 10-yard play left Coach Steve Spurrier shaking his head in disbelief.

Waiting calmly in the pocket, Grossman appeared to have forced an uncatchable ball high into double coverage as Gaffney streaked across the back of the end zone. But Gaffney leaped high over the Auburn defenders to make the grab falling out of bounds.

Spurrier was amazed--and surprised. Turns out, it wasn't the play Spurrier had called.

"I thought the play was, one-two-three throw, but Rex took five steps and Jabar just kept going," Spurrier said. "He came off the field and I said, 'Why did you take five steps?' He told me, 'It made sense to me.' We've never had [a quarterback] do it like that."

There were other nice passes: An on-target slant for an eight-yard connection with Reche Caldwell for one of his two touchdowns, and a perfectly timed 50-yard scoring strike to Gaffney, who was matched, inexplicably, in single coverage on the outside.

"Coach told me to run and Rex threw the ball," Gaffney said.

Gaffney's final touchdown was his 10th of the season, setting conference and Florida records for freshmen.

With four games left, the son of former Gator receiver Derrick Gaffney stands only eight touchdowns away from Reidel Anthony's overall record for receiving touchdowns in a season. And Gaffney was only a bit player through the first four games of the season.

No. 14 Georgia 29, Vanderbilt 19--Even though the Bulldogs gave up more yards than they have all season, the defense still came through with enough big plays to defeat the Commodores at Athens, Ga.

Cornerback Tim Wansley scored twice and cornerback Jamie Henderson blocked two kicks as Georgia won its fourth in a row.

"It was kind of like an eye for an eye," said Wansley, who has four interceptions in the last three games. "Vandy got some big plays on offense, so we had to get some big plays in the secondary."

The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1) lost quarterback Quincy Carter after he sprained his left shoulder in the fourth quarter.

After Vanderbilt (2-5, 0-4) capped the opening drive with Jared McGrath's two-yard touchdown run, Henderson blocked John Markham's extra-point attempt. The ball bounced right into the arms of Wansley, who went 86 yards the other way to give Georgia two points.

Alabama 45, Mississippi 7--Backup quarterback Andrew Zow, who entered the game after starter Tyler Watts tore ligaments in his left knee on the opening series, led the Crimson Tide (3-3, 3-1) to a rout of the Rebels (3-2, 2-2) at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Zow completed 18 of 22 passes for 261 yards and one touchdown and also ran for a score.

It was the second consecutive game in which Zow came off the bench to lead the Crimson Tide to victory after its worst start in 10 years.

Zow set a school record by completing his final 12 passes, including his last eight of the second quarter.

Louisiana State 34, Kentucky 0--Josh Booty, the Tigers' on-again, off-again quarterback, was on again, throwing three touchdown passes as LSU defeated the Wildcats at Baton Rouge, La.

LSU (4-3, 2-2) also shut down the high-powered Kentucky offense, ranked second in the conference and seventh nationally in passing.

It's the worst SEC start for Kentucky (2-5, 0-4) since 1994 when the Wildcats finished 0-8.

Booty, who had thrown 10 interceptions this season, including one that set up a winning field goal for Alabama-Birmingham, and 29 in two seasons--the most for any Division I-A player, completed 15 of 33 passes for 225 and no interceptions.

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