#3 Top Play of the 2006 Season
Wandy Pierre-Louis Fumble Recovery for TD
Vs. Arkansas, 3:47 in the 3rd Quarter
While the two top plays preceding this one were great plays by the Gator offense that led the team to victory, #3 on my list is a change of fortune that occurred due to an opposition miscue.
After leading the SEC Championship game 17-7 at halftime, the Gators, like many times before, came out severely flat in the second half. On their first drive out of the tunnel Chris Leak threw an interception, giving the Razorbacks great field position they would use to make the score 7 points closer. Two drives later another disaster happened, as Leak pitched a shovel pass straight into the hands of Arkansas D-Lineman Antwain Robinson, who took it 40 yards for a touchdown. What looked so great for the Gators at halftime turned into a 24-21 Razorbacks' lead late in the 3rd quarter.
And it only got worse, before it got better. This is how the following drive was going before the #3 play occurred:
1st and 10 at FLA 15 Timeout FLORIDA, clock 08:09.
1st and 10 at FLA 15 Percy Harvin rush for a loss of 1 yard.
2nd and 11 at FLA 14 Chris Leak rush for 1 yard.
3rd and 10 at FLA 15 Chris Leak pass incomplete to Percy Harvin.
4th and 10 at FLA 15 Jemalle Cornelius rush for 17 yards for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at FLA 32 Chris Leak rush for 1 yard.
2nd and 9 at FLA 33 Tim Tebow rush for 2 yards.
3rd and 7 at FLA 35 Timeout FLORIDA, clock 04:37.
3rd and 7 at FLA 35 Chris Leak pass complete to Percy Harvin for 6 yards.
4th and 1 at FLA 41 Timeout FLORIDA, clock 03:58.
10 plays, 26 yards and 3 timeouts later, the Gators were staring at a deficit on the scoreboard and Razorback momentum staring right back at them. At this point it seemed as if we were watching Auburn 2.0, until Arkansas punt returner Reggie Fish attempted to catch an Eric Wilbur over his shoulder, fumbling it into the endzone and in the process giving the Gators back the lead and the precious momentum.
It was really a jaw-dropping event, one that changed the whole landscape of the game in a time that could have turned out disastrous following such a horrid offensive drive. An offensive drive that came following several disastrous drives to start the second half.
Without that muffed punt by Reggie Fish, I don't think the Gators win that game based on past Florida football observations. There were games where the team pulled out victories from defeat, but the way in which they were struggling offensively put out a palpable feeling of desperation.
So, with that in mind, thank you Reggie Fish.