The Top Plays: #5

This series will hope to bring you what I perceived as the top plays of the 2006 Gators football season, counting down from #5 to #1.  These aren't exactly the "best" plays but the "most important" plays.  Keep in mind, #5 was very hard to pick, because I feel the season was defined more or less by about 3 or 4 very important plays.

#5 Top Play of the 2006 Season
Percy Harvin's 67 Yard TD Run
Vs. Arkansas, 14:22 in the 4th Quarter

In what could be described as the "scariest" moment of 2006, Florida freshman WR/RB/Mr. Everything Percy Harvin lay relatively still on the ground following a hit across the middle by FSU LB Buster Davis.  Two Seminoles came in on the play, one low and one high, causing an awkward bend at the neck, an injury which forced Harvin to be carried off on a stretcher.

Prior to this hit Percy Harvin had accumulated 86 yards rushing on only 4 carries, including a 41 yard touchdown run in which he was seemingly untouched.  While we all knew what Harvin was capable of from early season success, the FSU game seemed to be his birth as THE playmaker on the Florida Gators, the kind of athlete the program has not seen for quite some time (if ever).

Luckily for Harvin and the Gators, the neck injury was not as threatening as it first looked. Harvin was able to cheer his team on and celebrate with them on the field following the game at Doak Campbell Stadium, a good sign for a guy with a bright future ahead of him.  The bad news out of this, however, was the questionable status of Harvin for the following weekend's SEC Championship Game against Arkansas.  Would he be able to bounce back after that scary moment and make a difference against the Razorbacks?

As it turns out, Percy Harvin was nearly 100% in Atlanta and it showed.  With his contributions to the Gators 38-28 victory over the Hogs, Harvin was named the game's MVP - finishing with 6 carries for 105, 5 catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns.

Out of his two touchdowns (1 receiving and 1 running) in the game and 4 on the season, none were more important than the 67 yard touchdown run made early in the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship game.  Following a ridiculous change in momentum in the Gators favor that occured near the end of the third quarter, Harvin took a handoff on the first play of the drive up the middle, juked left, and went untouched all the way to the end zone.

The long touchdown run, followed by the PAT, gave the Gators a 10 point lead early in the fourth quarter.  This happened to be a lead that Gators never gave up for the remainder of the game, despite giving up another Arkansas touchdown that kept the score very close.  Harvin's run gave the Gators the lead for good in their first SEC championship game since 2000, and cemented Harvin as a playmaker Florida has needed for quite a while.

Picture courtesy of Gatorzone.com

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