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SOUTHEASTERN

Florida Dispenses More Misery, 16-13

November 02, 2003|From Associated Press

Matt Leach earned a small slice of fame Saturday night, and left no doubt about who still whips up the best cocktail in town.

The Florida kicker tucked a 33-yard field goal inside the left upright with 33 seconds left to lift the Gators to a 16-13 win over the beat-up Georgia Bulldogs at Jacksonville, Fla.

The kick capped a winning drive by freshman quarterback Chris Leak and kept alive not only No. 23 Florida's most improbable run at the SEC title, but its unrelenting dominance over No. 4 Georgia.

This was Florida's 13th win in the last 14 games over Georgia, which fell to 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference. Once again, the end of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party played out more like Gatorpalooza.

Florida Coach Ron Zook stood on the bench and threw his fists up toward his giddy fans. Leach took a postgame ride on his teammate's shoulders. Several of the Gators (6-3, 4-2) hoisted one of their big flags and planted it at the 50-yard line, proclaiming Alltel Stadium, a supposedly neutral site, as their turf.

"A lot of this game is mental," cornerback Keiwan Ratliff said. "If they let it get into their head that they always lose to us, that could hurt them. But I would love it to be in their heads, and stay in their heads for the next 20 years."

Leach's third field goal was set up by a beautiful 66-yard drive highlighted when Leak dropped a 20-yard pass to Ben Troupe into a gap in the Georgia zone for a first down at the Georgia 47.

A few plays later, the junior kicker had his first career game-winning field goal.

"I thought I hit it better than that," Leach said, when asked if he was nervous as the ball drifted close to the upright. "I was like, 'Eh?' But as long as it goes through, I don't care."

Leach became the first Florida kicker to make a game-winner in this rivalry since 1967, when Wayne Barfield made one with 29 seconds left for a 17-16 victory.

"I said at the beginning of the year that we'd be a football team that improved as the year went on," Zook said. "We've pushed these guys, and I've warned them that we're not done pushing."

No. 7 Louisiana State 49, Louisiana Tech 10 -- Matt Mauck completed all 14 of his first-half passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Tigers (8-1) over the Bulldogs (4-5) at Baton Rouge, La.

It was the second time this season Mauck has passed for four touchdowns. He was replaced by Marcus Randall late in the first half and again early in the second and finished 18 for 20 for 311 yards.

LSU was scoreless in the second half. The Tigers had 653 total yards of offense to 341 for Louisiana Tech. LSU passed for 365 yards and rushed for 288.

No. 19 Tennessee 23, Duke 6 -- Chris Hannon caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clausen to help the lackluster Volunteers (6-2) defeat the Blue Devils (2-7) at Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee, leading 9-6 early in the fourth quarter, finally got some momentum when Duke's Jamin Pastore fumbled on a punt return and Corey Larkins recovered it at the Duke 37 to set up Hannon's touchdown.

Duke has not defeated a ranked team since a victory over then-No. 23 Virginia in 1994.

No. 20 Mississippi 43, South Carolina 40 -- Eli Manning threw for 391 yards and three first-half touchdowns and the the Rebels (7-2, 5-0) withstood a late 28-point outburst by the Gamecocks (5-4, 2-4) to win at Oxford, Miss.

Mississippi improved to 5-0 in the conference for the first time since 1963 -- the last time it won the conference title.

Mississippi took a 43-14 lead in the third quarter before South Carolina scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions.

Manning completed 30 of 42 passes with an interception.

Auburn 73, Louisiana Monroe 7 -- Carnell Williams and Brandon Jacobs each ran for two touchdowns and the Tigers (6-3) set up three more with blocked punts in a win over the Indians (1-8) at Auburn, Ala.

It was the most points scored by Auburn since a 76-10 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1995 and was the second highest total since 1932.

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