No. 7 Florida rallies to beat Louisiana-Lafayette 27-20

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 7 Florida staved off one huge upset and now will be pulling for another.

Jelani Jenkins returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown with 2 seconds remaining, capping the comeback and giving the Gators a 27-20 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.

Now, Florida can sit back and root for Auburn to beat Georgia. If the Tigers win, the Gators would clinch the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division and a spot in the league title game.

No one, though, was thinking about that game late in this one.

Florida (9-1) did little on offense most of the day and looked to be in serious trouble when quarterback Jeff Driskel left the game with an ankle injury.

The Rajin’ Cajuns (5-4) led 20-13 after Alonzo Harris’ 2-yard run and a blocked punt for a touchdown. But Florida backup Jacoby Brissett rallied the Gators. He found tight end Jordan Reed down the middle for a 39-yard gain and then hit Quinton Dunbar for 3-yard score with 1:42 remaining.

ULL was content to play for overtime.

Loucheiz Purifoy had other thoughts. One of Florida’s fastest players, Purifoy sprinted off the edge and got his right hand on Brett Baer’s punt. Jenkins picked up the deflection and went untouched the other way.

Florida players and coaches erupted on the sideline, knowing the significance of the situation.

The Gators were coming off eight consecutive games against SEC foes and were supposed to get a break against a middle-of-the-pack team from the Sun Belt Conference. Louisiana-Lafayette was a 27-point underdog, was paid $950,000 to be Florida’s homecoming opponent and hadn’t been a ranked team in 16 years.

That didn’t matter at Florida Field, where the Rajin’ Cajuns played smart and waited for the Gators to self-destruct.

Florida was flagged 10 times for 79 yards, including two costly ones on ULL’s lone touchdown drive. Lerentee McCray was penalized for being off side on a third-down play that likely would have forced a punt, and Purifoy was called pass interference on another third-down pass.

Those came on the heels on Clay Burton’s dropped pass in the end zone. Reed got the ball on an end around and floated it to the sideline, but Burton couldn’t haul it in, and Florida settled for a field goal and a 13-3 lead.

More in Sports

Huskies razor-thin at CB heading into UCLA matchup

UW may look to true freshmen with junior Jordan Miller and redshirt freshman Byron Murphy hurt.

Olympic gymnast alleges sexual abuse by team doctor

McKayla Maroney said the molestation began when she was 13 and lasted throughout her career.

Snow goose prospects outstanding again

The increasing number of snows in the area leads to an increase in the daily bag limit and more.

Wayne Kruse’s Pick of the Week: Crabbing ‘out front’

By Wayne Kruse For The Herald The just-past summer recreational crab season… Continue reading

Seattle man recovers bat taken from Ken Griffey Jr. statue

He said he watched the man bending the bat back and forth until it snapped off.

Poll: Help us plan this week’s high school football coverage

Which of the following Friday games would you like to see video… Continue reading

Stanwood sweeps Arlington in clash of Wesco 3A unbeatens

Devon Martinka led the Spartans to victory, registering 17 kills.

UW men’s basketball team learning new way under Hopkins

The Huskies will use a 2-3 zone as its base defense this season.

Thiel: Baldwin, Sherman explain how path to social justice is walked

One of the great appeals of sports is resolution. Spend a little… Continue reading

Most Read