Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Saturday, December 09, 2023

In UF coach Urban Meyer's opinion, the most important play of Saturday's win against Kentucky came with quarterback Tim Tebow on the sideline.

Before Tebow connected with Percy Harvin for 40 yards and rumbled into the end zone from 2 yards out on the Gators' final drive, the quarterback's former high school rival, Brandon James, delivered the real backbreaker.

With the Gators up 38-31 with 3:35 left and Kentucky kicking off, James managed to return the ball 26 yards to the UF 43-yard line.

That's not normally all that impressive. But on this occasion James deserved credit, given that the rest of UF's kickoff return team had inched into Kentucky territory to prepare for a possible onside kick.

"I still can't get over that happening," Meyer said. "I can't believe that happened. That changed the whole dynamic of the football game."

With room to spare, UF offensive coordinator Dan Mullen then called more aggressive plays, leading to a touchdown on the fifth snap of the series that put the game out of reach.

James also set up a score at the end of the first half with a 61-yard kickoff return to the Kentucky 38-yard line.

"If I had to say what won that game, the kickoff return team won that football game," Meyer said.

James' special teams performance since taking the return job from Reggie Nelson early last season has forced Meyer to incorporate the sophomore into the offensive game plan as well.

James currently backs up starting running back Kestahn Moore and lines up in five-wide receiver sets, but his role could expand.

"We are having that discussion," Meyer said. "We do over and over again."

INJURY UPDATE: Freshman free safety Major Wright underwent surgery on his broken thumb Monday and is questionable for Saturday's game against Georgia.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

If Wright plays, he will likely wear a cast on his right hand.

If he does not play, look for senior Kyle Jackson to make his fifth start of the year.

Sophomore wide receiver Riley Cooper and offensive tackle Carlton Medder are also listed as questionable.

Cooper broke a finger early on against Kentucky, and Medder was replaced late in the game by Marcus Gilbert after sustaining a heel injury.

Medder left UF's practice on crutches Monday.

CHAMPIONS CLUB: Tight end Cornelius Ingram, quarterback Tim Tebow, fullback Eric Rutledge and wide receivers Louis Murphy, Percy Harvin and Andre Caldwell made Meyer's weekly Champions Club.

On defense, defensive tackle Javier Estopinan, linebacker Brandon Spikes, cornerback Joe Haden, safety Tony Joiner and defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Jermaine Cunningham made the cut.

Meyer named Caldwell the offensive player of the game, but he said the coaching staff chose not to name a defensive player of the game due to the number of yards the defense allowed against Kentucky.

GAME TIME ANNOUNCED: UF's home game against Vanderbilt on Nov. 3 will start at 12:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Lincoln Financial.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.