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The Top Plays: #4

#4 Top Play of 2006 Season
Dallas Baker's 25 Yard TD Reception
@ FSU, 10:22 in 4th Quarter


The Gators beat the Seminoles 21-14 combination of big plays and stiff defense on November 25th, making it three wins in a row over FSU and ending the regular season with an impressive 11-1 record.  While this game was just another successful first half followed by less-than-impressive third quarter, what ended up being the common story from this game was a drive that could have been Chris Leak's best all season as a quarterback.

Following a Percy Harvin touchdown run of 41 yards that pushed the Gators to a two touchdown lead, this is what followed for them up until the above mentioned drive:

Qtr  Plays  Yds  Result
 2     3    -3    Punt  
 3     5     6    Punt
 3     1    -7   Fumble
 3     3     8    Punt
 3     3    -5    Punt
 3     3     0    Punt

Not only was the offense ineffective at getting the ball anywhere, but they were failing at keeping a pretty tired defense off the field - something that is obviously key to winning football games. Because of these inabilities following the big Harvin run, the Seminoles clawed their way back into the game with a Joel Surratt touchdown run and a Greg Carr jumpball-TD catch, tying the game at 14 and leaving many to believe that this Gators team was going to suffer the same fate of many teams in years past at Doak Campbell Stadium.

And so it happened.  Chris Leak, who had been criticized greatly after turning the ball over a couple times in crucial situations at Auburn, found a way to lead his team down the field for a 74 yard touchdown drive.  Leak was near-perfect on the drive, going 7 of 8 for 79 yards, including the drive ending 25 yard touchdown pass to Dallas Baker, giving the Gators a lead they would not surrender to the Noles again.  Having brought his team down the field when it was needed the most, when the crucial momentum was seemingly on the line, many praised Chris Leak for being a senior leader - something that he never really got credit for on a consistent basis before this game.

The game in which the play happened made this touchdown a very special one.  It gave the Gators an 11-1 record to end the regular season.  It gave the Gators 3 straight wins over Florida State in a series that could determine recruiting power on top of bragging rights.  It gave Coach Meyer his first win as head coach at Doak Campbell Stadium.  And of course, it kept the dream of playing for a national title alive, something that obviously turned out very important when the season was all said and done.

Picture courtesy of Gatorzone.com