Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Block and a Party; Dramatic Punt Block and Return in Final Seconds Help UF Avoid Monumental Upset

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Block and a Party; Dramatic Punt Block and Return in Final Seconds Help UF Avoid Monumental Upset

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

GAINESVILLE | Move over, Jarvis Moss.

You've got company when it comes to the most famous blocked kick in Florida football history.

UF sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy blocked a Louisiana-Lafayette punt with nine seconds to play in the game and linebacker Jelani Jenkins returned the ball 36 yards to score the game-winning touchdown with two ticks left. The block enabled the seventh-ranked Gators to escape with a 27-20 homecoming win on Saturday at Florida Field in front of 86,482 fans.

"We needed a play," Purifoy said. "I made a move inside and then came back outside. Their guy just bit on it. I got my hand in there and got the ball. Then, I thought, run, Jelani, please run. Get in the end zone, so it can be over."

Moss, a former UF defensive end, blocked a South Carolina field goal on the game's final play during UF's 2006 national-championship season to preserve a 17-16 win over the visiting Gamecocks.

Purifoy's play kept the Gators, sixth in the Bowl Championship Series, in title contention. More important, he spared UF (9-1) what arguably would've been the biggest upset in program history.

ULL (5-4) lost to Oklahoma State by 41 points and lost to Arkansas State by 23 earlier this season. The Ragin' Cajuns were a 26-point underdog to UF, who paid ULL $950,000 to play in Gainesville.

"Anytime you see the seventh-ranked football team storm the field like they've won the Super Bowl to beat you, you know you are doing some good things," ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said.

"It hurts because these kids have worked hard and overcome."

ULL rallied from a 13-3 third-quarter deficit and held a 20-13 lead with under two minutes to play in the game.

Florida backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Quinton Dunbar with 1:42 to play to tie the game at 20. Brissett entered the game after starter Jeff Driskel suffered a right ankle sprain with 5:27 left in the third quarter.

On the score to Dunbar, Brissett rolled right and was pressured. The sophomore threw the ball while being hit and gave Dunbar enough room to make a diving catch in the end zone. …

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