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After rallying most of the game, Land O'Lakes loses in the fourth.
By Izzy Gould
Published November 11, 2006
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LAND O'LAKES - When it seemed Land O'Lakes was done and buried, it found a way.
Down nine points at halftime, it found a way.
Outmatched and beaten down, the Gators forced a key turnover and found a way to cash in. Gators sophomore Alex Spock booted a 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to put the Gators up by a hair.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Chamberlain sophomore Fred Sykes raced the kickoff through a labyrinth of blocks 99 yards to reclaim the lead for good en route to a 31-22 victory.
"Our kids hung in there pretty tough and took the lead," Land O'Lakes coach John Benedetto said. "We had them on the ropes, but we let them off."
The Gators played catch up all night and were beaten down early by the Chiefs' rushing attack that amassed 298 yards and three touchdowns.
Land O'Lakes leaned on the arm of senior Joe Weatherford, who completed 12-of-36 for 164 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target was Dontarrius Thomas, who caught seven passes for 74 yards and both scores. His other target, Develin Robinson, was wearing high-tops instead of cleats, hit with a one-game suspension.
The Gators did their best without him, mounting a comeback sparked by Chamberlain's fumbled punt midway through the third quarter to set up Land O'Lakes on the Chiefs' 23. Weatherford hit Thomas on the next play for a touchdown to bring the Gators within two.
Then Chamberlain quarterback Dontae Aycock 6-of-13, 98 yards, two interceptions, two rushing touchdowns lofted a pass that was intercepted by Thomas, giving the Gators the ball on the Chiefs' 34 with less than 12 minutes in the fourth.
Four plays later, Spock nailed the field goal to give Land O'Lakes a 22-21 lead.