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Alabama Leaves Florida at a Loss

In its biggest victory in six years, the Crimson Tide shreds the No. 5 Gators' defense for a surprising 31-3 win.

October 02, 2005|From Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama produced everything from long touchdown passes to a goal-line stand in its biggest game in nearly six years.

Then, the Crimson Tide players wondered why people seemed so surprised at their 31-3 rout of No. 5 Florida on Saturday.

"This is exactly where we thought we'd be," quarterback Brodie Croyle said.

Few others were expecting such a dominant performance from No. 15 Alabama (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference), which proclaimed itself perhaps the league's team to beat.

Croyle threw for three touchdowns, including an 87-yarder to Tyrone Prothro and a 65-yarder to Keith Brown, and the defense was even more impressive.

An Urban Meyer-coached team had never been held without a touchdown, and the Gators (4-1, 2-1) hadn't been kept out of the end zone since 1992.

Alabama, which had lost its last five games against top-five teams at Bryant-Denny Stadium, got its biggest win since a 34-7 victory over Florida in the 1999 SEC championship game.

"That's all we talked about all week, that we could make history," said Croyle, who was 15 for 18 for 286 yards.

The Gators had the league's top defense overall and against the pass, but left having failed to even slow down Croyle when it counted.

"We are a man-coverage team and we were exposed," Meyer said. "We lost a lot of one-on-one battles. They are a very fast team. They looked a lot faster than we did today."

It was the Gators' worst defeat since losing, 36-7, to Louisiana State in 2002 and ended Meyer's personal 20-game winning streak at Utah and Florida.

Alabama's only bad news was the likely season-ending broken left leg suffered by Prothro in the fourth quarter.

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