The living embodiment of right place at the right time, - Al Messerschmidt
Some games are tougher than you want. Some are gut-wrenching affairs. This one made those seem like playful, innocent fun. I cannot recall a less deserved Gator win, but I can only remember one comparably more thrilling finale.
I've played Quarters once in my life, and was terrible at it. Sitting alone during this game, I quickly became a legend. ULL first down? Ding-splash! Jeff Driskel down? DING-SPLASH! ULL up 20-13? Screw it, I'm eating the quarter.
Spencer Hall wrote what I'd call the definitive summary of the game, so be sure to read that. I was anxious during the first half, but figured we'd bumble and stumble our way to a 10-point lead that a stout defense would be able to uphold. Theeeeeeeeeeen a punt got blocked and returned for a touchdown.
Then, It arrived. The Fear. Not worry that we're going to lose to Tennessee. Not crushing disappointment upon realizing that this Cocktail Party is going in the loss column. The Fear is the cold stillness washing over you, as the nightmare scenario becomes reality. We are going to lose to Louisiana-Lafayette, a team we paid to come lose to us. I'm not old enough to have witnessed Fourth and Dumb, or Run Lindsay Run, but this would be worse. Those were crushing, eviscerating defeats. This would be be an all-time humiliating loss, a loss that could stain an otherwise highly successful season.
Jacoby Brissett managed not to overthrow a wide-open receiver, and wisely rolled right to hit the key touchdown. At this point, we all remember the seemingly cliche but crucial mantra: GOOD SNAP GOOD HOLD GOOD SNAP GOOD HOLD OH THANK YOU GOD HE MADE IT. (At this point, I do have to ask: Any questions, Start Brissett people? Think Rex Grossman vs Brock Berlin)
The punt block and return. The undeservedly, unbelievably, un-you couldn't have handed the ball off to him more perfectly punt block and return by Jelani Jenkins. Magic, I tell you. Evil, spooky magic, but magic nonetheless.
I've never felt this bad for a team Florida defeated. ULL deserved this win. They played smart, they attacked Florida's weaknesses, and they were nearly mistake-free.
There have been few wins as exhilarating, that had such a collective exhalation and jubilation all at once. Perhaps I'm of the type that sees the glass half-empty, but while Saturday marked a great escape and Cock-Block-esque heroics, the Cock Block kept Florida alive for the national title against a quality team. This time, it kept Florida from losing to a team whose role was cast as Guy that Dutifully Loses by Fifty. So much for healing up and getting guys experience. We got more beat up and had to play the starters til the final whistle.
That said, the worst win is better than the best loss. Let's beat the Cocks for the second time this year, and get it together for the Seminoles. Go Gators!