St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Big play for Gators? Must be Sheppard

DB/punt returner Lito Sheppard makes the key interception again.


© St. Petersburg Times, published September 24, 2000

GAINESIVILLE -- Lito Sheppard knows how to find the ball.

After an interception return for a touchdown during the Gators' win against Tennessee last week, Sheppard continued his streak of turning games around on Saturday.

The Gators led by a touchdown late in the second quarter, but Kentucky had the ball with a chance to tie the score before halftime. On the first play of the drive, Sheppard intercepted a Jared Lorenzen pass and returned it to the Kentucky 16. The interception sparked a two-minute span in which the Gators scored 14 points.

"Lito just knows how to turn the game around," fellow cornerback Keiwan Ratliff said. "He is always around the ball when big plays need to happen."

Coach Steve Spurrier has praised Sheppard's ability to go after and find the ball.

Two weeks ago against Middle Tennessee State, Sheppard found seams in kick coverage and returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown.

Sheppard's only punt return Saturday was for 45 yards. He began returning punts this season.

Versatility has made him a leader in the secondary.

"I just go out and try to do my best every game," Sheppard said. "Last year, I was nervous a lot, but this year my confidence level is high and continuing to get better."

Sheppard, known for making big plays at Jacksonville Raines High School, said he was looking to make a steady progression.

"I try to rate myself," he said. "I am just trying to progress from high school to college and get better."

It seems like the higher Sheppard's confidence gets, the higher his teammates' confidence gets.

"Lito got another good interception, just like he did last week," defensive end Kennard Ellis said. "That interception really swung the momentum our way."

Sheppard has three interceptions in four games.

Because of the run sparked by Sheppard's interception, the Gators led by 21 at halftime against the Wildcats.

"Fortunately with Lito's interception and then we got that fumble, we were able to get some points before the end of the half," Spurrier said.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk
  • Dashing, daring, driven
  • Key'd up!
  • Rays find stranger method for losing
  • Mizell's Mailbag
  • Sports briefs
  • Gymnasts shaming U.S.
  • Highs and lows
  • Vaughn goes home after family illness
  • McGriff matches HR feat
  • Baseball briefs
  • Games begin to count soon
  • Olympics roundup
  • Pole-sitters fret over slippery start on bricks
  • Auto racing briefs
  • Captain's corner
  • How, when, where to use artificial baits
  • Weekes unlikely in net Tuesday against Florida
  • Rams use knowledge to cruise to victories
  • Outsider routs field at Bishop
  • Shorecrest surprises opposition and itself
  • Tampa Bay top 10
  • Ewing is shocked, resigned
  • NHL briefs
  • Northeast, PHU win PCAC titles
  • Former Pasco star inspiring Cowboys
  • NFL games
  • King a bargain, but likely not for long
  • Game gives CBS a Super practice
  • Chalk up another for the frozen tundra
  • Learning that special something
  • Bucs chat
  • Best and worst: game 4
  • Season's cooking for Lynch
  • Bucs TV analysis
  • Martin: The Jets' propulsion
  • Palmer points the way
  • Look for Spurrier in center of storm
  • USF drops big chance
  • FSU rides a new style
  • College football around the nation
  • Big play for Gators? Must be Sheppard
  • Alex Brown remains ineffective
  • UF extra points
  • USF extra points
  • Baylor settles secret battle
  • College football around the state
  • PAC-10 briefs
  • Most of goal raised for upgrades
  • Blitzing D keeps Louisville flustered
  • FSU extra points

  • Marion can save the Games
  • Fast facts: swimming
  • Olympics highlights
  • Chilly dipper earns his salt Down Under
  • Japan's Takahashi stays the coolest
  • Greene makes fast work of gold in the 100
  • Fast facts: women's track and field
  • Victorine's kick puts U.S. men in semis
  • For 2002, NBC says less is more
  • Olympics notes

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts