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Snubbed Georgia native sparks Florida's defense

Jeremy Mincey, who wanted to play for the Dawgs, makes the critical plays to help the Gators beat them.

By IAN FISHER
Published October 30, 2005


JACKSONVILLE - As a high school player in Statesboro, Ga., Jeremy Mincey dreamed of playing for his home state Bulldogs.

The interest wasn't mutual. Georgia never paid Mincey any attention.

But during a 14-10 victory over Georgia on Saturday, the Florida defensive end made the Bulldogs pay attention to him.

"Coming out of high school, Georgia really never gave me a chance," Mincey said. "They overlooked my talent.

"I just thought it was time for payback."

After high school, Mincey honed his skills in junior college, but he knew where he wanted to end up. He fell in love with the Gators while in high school after watching them beat the Bulldogs.

"Plus I love the colors. Orange and blue are beautiful. And it's the only Gator team (in the nation). So that's special," Mincey said; "and Gatorade and all that special stuff."

Mincey led the Gators with six tackles, but one play might have changed the game.

Georgia scored a touchdown with 3:43 left in the third, cutting its deficit to 14-10. And early in the fourth, it had a first down at the Florida 33. Thomas Brown took a handoff, ran right and met nothing but Mincey. Mincey forcefully drove him back 8 yards, partly because he knew what was coming.

"You can kind of read what they're about to do, so I kind of figured they were running the ball to my side," Mincey said. "I didn't care who was in front of me. My eyes were on that (running) back, and I had to get that (running) back down."

Georgia gained 6 yards on the next two plays. Then Brandon Coutu missed a 52-yard field goal.

"Football is such a game of momentum," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "You felt the table start to tilt a little bit, and Mincey makes a great play."

Showing how much faith Meyer had in Mincey and the rest of the defense, the Gators punted with 3:10 left in the game instead of trying a 50-yard field goal.

Mincey played a big role on the Bulldogs' final drive.

On second and 10, he knocked down a Joe Tereshinski pass at the line of scrimmage. Two plays later, on fourth and 11, Mincey pressured Tereshinski, forcing him to make a quick pass that fell incomplete.

Mincey said he couldn't be any happier about beating the team that snubbed him. His aunt, a huge Bulldogs fan, was waiting for him outside, and he had a simple message for her.

"I told you."