GAINESVILLE — The Florida Godsends did it again.
The Florida Gift Horses won another game they had no business winning.
Coach Will Muschamp and his Florida Miracle Workers pulled another serendipitous victory from their bloated bag of voodoo witchcraft.
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"You can create a whole lotta magic when an entire team comes together and believes in one another," said defensive end Sharrif Floyd after Florida somehow, some way defeated some team from Louisiana 27-20 Saturday. "... This feels incredible! I'm so excited!"
How many times have you seen the sixth-ranked team in America feel this good following a skin-of-your-teeth victory over a mediocre team from the Sun Belt Conference? Then again, when was the last time you saw a team pull out a victory with a blocked punt for a touchdown on essentially the last play of the game?
"That's a first," Florida coach Will Muschamp said.
"I've never seen a game end like that," said Gator hero Loucheiz Purifoy.
The Gators were dead and gone. You thought it and so did I. You didn't think there was any way backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett could come in and engineer a win when starter Jeff Driskel went down with an ankle injury. Brissett looked confused and shaky when he first came into the game, but something clicked on his final drive.
Brissett hit Jordan Reed with a 39-yard pass to set up his game-tying 3-yard touchdown toss to Quinton Dunbar with 1:42 left. And then, stupidly, Louisiana coach Mark Hudspeth opted to play for overtime. Even though he had nearly two minutes left and one of the most accurate field-goal kickers in the country, Hudspeth played for overtime by running three times into the teeth of Florida's defense.
Muschamp called timeout with 13 seconds left to set up the last-ditch punt block. And that's when Purifoy busted through, got his paws on the ball and watched it bound fortuitously into the chest of Jelani Jenkins. The normally butter-fingered linebacker fielded the ball cleanly and returned it 39 yards for the winning touchdown.
"I couldn't believe it," Floyd said. "When I saw it [Jenkins running in for the winning touchdown,] my eyes lit up and my jaw dropped."
It's no wonder the Gators celebrated like they just beat Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game. It's no wonder they danced and pranced and hugged and high-fived like they'd just beaten Florida State for the national title.
Only the Gators can turn what was about to be an inexcusable loss into an inexplicable victory. Only the Gators can turn what would have been the most monumental upset in the modern era of UF football into one of the most electrifying comebacks in the history of UF football. Only the Gators can keep coming up with unbelievable, inconceivable, amazing, hair-raising ways to win.
There are some things in this world that just make you ask why:
Why do you need to sterilize needles for lethal injections?
Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?
And, in college football, why are the Florida Gators 9-1 and ranked No. 6 in the country?