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Gaffney emergence continues

By DEBI JONES and JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000


GAINESVILLE -- Big plays mean Jabar Gaffney.

For the third week in row, the wide receiver sparked the Gators, this time to a 41-9 win against Louisiana State on Saturday.

Gaffney combined with fellow redshirt freshman Rex Grossman for three touchdowns and 128 in eight receptions.

"Our receiver just caught everything," Florida coach Steve Spurrier said. "Jabar Gaffney had the big game with all the touchdown catches. He is a big-time receiver. It took us to the sixth game to start him, so we're still learning who our best players are."

It was Gaffney who scored the last-second, game-winning reception against Tennessee. It was Gaffney who caught the meaningless but much talked-about final score against Kentucky. It was Gaffney who caught two touchdowns to pull the Gators within reach at Mississippi State. And Saturday it was Gaffney who was in the right place to catch a touchdown reception from Grossman after the snap sailed over the quarterback's head.

But Gaffney was not focusing on his own performance.

"This game was great for our confidence," he said. "We came out here with a lot more fire."

JORGENSEN OUT: Against Mississippi State, center David Jorgensen sent consecutive snaps over the head of Grossman. Against LSU, he did it again and was taken out of the game.

Jorgensen, who said this week he may need surgery on his right (snapping) wrist after the season, did not return for the second half. Tommy Hillard took his place.

"We all kind of expect (Jorgensen)'s high snaps," Spurrier said. "Hopefully, we can get those straightened out. That's three of about six. He's got to work on his shotgun snaps."

At least this one turned out better. Grossman threw a touchdown to Gaffney.

FIRST START: Grossman and tailback Ran Carthon made their first career starts. Carthon finished with 12 yards on four carries. MORE THAN 100: For the first time this season, UF had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in the same game. Junior tailback Robert Gillespie rushed for 120 yards on 19 attempts to join Gaffney. His 37-yard run in the second quarter was a career long. Florida is 60-1 in Spurrier's 11 seasons when a back rushes for 100 yards.

CAPTAINS: After sending two defensive players out for the coin toss against Mississippi State, Spurrier sent senior quarterback Jesse Palmer and senior receiver Alex Willis. Last weekend, Florida deferred during both halves.

BAD CALL, NICE EFFORT: UF receiver Taylor Jacobs did not have possession of the 33-yard catch for which he was credited in the first quarter. Jacobs leaped, adjusted to an underthrown ball and battled corner Demetrius Hookfin, but was juggling it when he slammed to the turf. Two plays later, UF scored a touchdown.

MEASURING UP: Florida's 99-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter was its longest since a 99-yard drive against Northern Illinois in 1995. ... The second-quarter field goal drive that consumed 6 minutes, 16 seconds was the longest of the season by more than two minutes.

UNCOMMON ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Florida's touchdown with 0:54 left in the first quarter marked the first time LSU allowed a first-quarter touchdown this season. ... Earnest Graham's 2-yard run in the fourth quarter was the second rushing touchdown against the Tigers this season.

EXTRA POINTS: UF freshman Stone Pittman recorded his first career sack. ... LSU's 54-yard pass play to Domanick Davis was the longest of the season against UF.

INJURY UPDATE: Cornerback Lito Sheppard (sore right hamstring) sat out the second half. ... Guard Erik Strange (dislocated kneecap) is scheduled to have an MRI exam Monday.

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