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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Sophomore wide receiver praised for block on touchdown

<p>UF wide receiver Brandon Powell lunges into the endzone for a touchdown during Florida's 28-27 win against Tennessee on Sept. 26, 2015, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

UF wide receiver Brandon Powell lunges into the endzone for a touchdown during Florida's 28-27 win against Tennessee on Sept. 26, 2015, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

It takes 11 players on the football field to make a play.

But on some of those plays there’s one player who becomes the highlight of the play.

That was the case when Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway took quarterback Will Grier’s pass and turned it into a 63-yard touchdown to complete UF’s 28-27 comeback win over Tennessee on Saturday.

But while Callaway has been getting much of the praise for his touchdown, not much has been made of the block that sprung Callaway along the sidelines.

And it was delivered by another wide receiver: Brandon Powell.

Powell’s block took out the last two Volunteers defenders impeding Callaway’s path to the endzone. Powell had a nice game of his own, as he had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Volunteers, but his block on the 4th-and-14 play dwarfs what else he did during the game.

"I just wanted to make a play, happened to make a key block," Powell said. "I didn’t expect it to be a touchdown. I was just trying to get any block and net more yards. Luckily it was a big block that set him up for a touchdown. That’s all I was trying to do. Make big plays."

On the play, which UF coach Jim McElwain called "Train right, Jill, Big Ben in," Powell was lined up next to Callaway.

But while the freshman receiver’s route took him more towards the middle of the field, Powell’s route took him towards the sidelines.

The play happened to work out perfectly as Callaway was able to draw three defenders his way when he made the catch. And Powell happened to be at the right place at the right time to free the Miami native.

McElwain has repeatedly given credit to more than one guy on a single given play, and Powell’s block caught his eye.

He echoed those same sentiments after the game when talking about how important Powell’s effort was on the freshman’s touchdown.

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"Brandon Powell, you know, got them peeling back on that and got in the way of those two guys who had angles on him that let him score there at the end," McElwain said. "To me, Brandon probably had more to do on that play because he had to clear out the middle more than anyone else on the field there. That’s great to see."

Giving up his body and putting in the extra effort has helped the Gators, who rounded out the AP Top 25 rankings on Sunday, get off to their 4-0 start.

However, there was a point in the game against the Volunteers where Florida feared it might have been without Powell.

After scoring his touchdown with 4:09 left to play to pull the Gators within striking distance at 27-21, Powell went down with what he called a cramp on the left side of his body.

But the sophomore was able to fight through it to stay on the field and make arguably the biggest play of his career.

However, Powell said he didn’t realize how big his block was until after the game when he got another chance to look at it.

"I came to the sideline and everybody was saying ‘your block helped us score a touchdown,’" Powell said. "Then I saw it on the TV right after the game and I was like ‘oh yeah, that block was big.’"

Callaway’s catch is going to be remembered for years to come, but had Powell not made the block, things might’ve turned out differently for the Gators and for the Volunteers on Saturday.

Follow Luis Torres on Twitter @LFTorresIII

 

UF wide receiver Brandon Powell lunges into the endzone for a touchdown during Florida's 28-27 win against Tennessee on Sept. 26, 2015, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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