Tyrel Dodson knew the throw was coming.
He could see it in Feleipe Franks’ eyes.
With Texas A&M leading by two points in the final minute of its contest against Florida on Saturday night, the Aggies linebacker first shifted to his left, then back to his right as he attentively watched Franks shuffle his feet in the pocket.
When UF’s quarterback finally picked a receiver and let the ball go from his hand, Dodson didn’t let it travel more than 10 yards down field, causing a collective groan among the 86,000-plus fans in attendance at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Franks’ attempted pass to tight end DeAndre Goolsby was cut off by the 6-foot-2 sophomore after he batted it into the air and then jumped to secure it in his arms, slamming the nail in the coffin of a 19-17 Gators defeat.
Florida (3-3, 3-2 SEC) didn’t trail TAMU until the final 58 seconds of the fourth quarter, surrendering nine unanswered points to close out the game.
UF finished with 108 more yards of total offense than Texas A&M and limited the Aggies to 83 yards on the ground, but was unable capitalize when momentum was in its favor.
“(We) didn’t make a couple plays down the stretch that we needed to come out on the right side of the scoreboard,” coach Jim McElwain said. “They didn’t disappoint. They did a good job harassing us.”
After both teams converted on a field goal in the opening quarter of play, a 15-yard touchdown run from sophomore Lamical Perine gave the Gators a 10-3 lead heading into halftime.
TAMU quarterback Kellen Mond then tied the game four minutes into the third quarter with 9-yard rushing touchdown up the middle of the field.
Later in the frame, Florida found itself on its own 10-yard line facing a third-and-12 when Franks found a hole on the right side of the offensive line, bursting past Aggies defenders on the way to a 79-yard run, the longest by a UF quarterback in over 20 years.
“The guys did a good job blocking for me,” Franks said. “The line did a good job creating a hole for me. Just a good run.”
The highlight play by Franks led to an eventual 6-yard rushing touchdown for receiver Dre Massey, the first of his career.
In the Gators final three possessions of the game, however, they earned only 21 yards of total offense, opening the door for three consecutive field goals from Texas A&M kicker Daniel LaCamera to seal a win for the Aggies.
“There were a couple explosives in there that ultimately flipped the field on us,” McElwain said. “Give them credit."