Purifoy, Jenkins link up for game-changing play

By Adam Silverstein
November 10, 2012

“In all my years of playing football, I’ve never seen a touchdown like that on a blocked [punt]. I went ballistic,” said Florida Gators junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, recalling how Saturday’s game against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns came to a thunderous conclusion right before his very eyes.

For most of the players on the field and many of the fans both in the stands and watching nationally the SEC Network affiliates, Saturday’s game was an unexpected nail-biter and ended with a jolt that was equally unfathomable.

After tying the game 20-20 late in the fourth quarter, Florida kicked off to Louisiana-Lafayette, expecting the team to try and gain a first down in order to run out the final 1:42 of regulation and force overtime.

As head coach Will Muschamp explained:

“We score, I wanted to see what they were going to do. Obviously when they put [running back Alonzo Harris] in the game, which had been about 100 percent run in the game on first down, I knew we had two timeouts. I was going to hold it and see what they did on second down.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns ran the ball again, but Muschamp did not budge and allowed the clock to continue ticking down. After Harris ran a third time and was stopped three yards short of a first down, he called his first time out with 13 seconds left in regulation.

“I felt very good about what D.J. [Durkin] had for a [punt] block. I asked D.J. on the headsets, ‘Do you feel good about [us] getting there?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.’ So instead of taking this timeout after second down, I was going to take it to overtime and then try to block on third down. It just turns out it worked out well for us,” Muschamp explained.

“They ran the ball there on third down. We called timeout. We had 13 seconds. I told [sophomore safety De’Ante Saunders], ‘Don’t field the ball – get away from it – we’re going to try to block it.’ I told D.J., ‘Make sure we’re safe just in case they might try and fake one.’ He said, ‘We got all the eligible [receivers] covered and we’re going to go after it.’ And I said, ‘Absolutely. Let’s go do it.’”

And “do it” the Gators did.

Read the rest of this story…after the break!

Sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy charged around the left protector, got his right hand squarely on the punted ball and popped it 12 yards backwards in the air. Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins corralled it and ran it back 35 yards for the game-winning return touchdown with a caravan of four blockers leading the way.

LISTEN: Mick Hubert’s call on the Gator Radio Network
Mick Hubert – OH MY!

“It was just a great play by Loucheiz when he got that block. He executed it perfectly, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was surprised I happened to be there, but it came right to me. I just tried to run as fast as I could,” said Jenkins, who noted that it was “probably [the] No. 1” play of his collegiate career.

Purifoy said he saw Jenkins catch the ball and prayed that he was able to conclude the game on that very play. “I was just like, ‘Run Jelani, please run, just get in the end zone so it can be over.’”

Muschamp was more than happy to heap on the praise after the game, noting that “it was a situation that was very well-executed by our players in a pressure situation and nicely designed by our staff.”

He called Purifoy “a fantastic player and a guy that’s really developed himself in his sophomore year,” adding that “he just has a knack for blocking kicks and playing the ball downfield.”

Muschamp also praised the intelligence of Jenkins, a physiology and kinesiology major whose grade point average is high but not as high as his head coach believed in his post-game comments.

“Jelani’s got like a 3.8 [GPA]. He’s a smart guy. He makes good decisions on the field. He’s a really good football player,” Muschamp said. “We seemed like we had a little bit of a convoy there to the end zone. It was an outstanding, very smart, intelligent play. I’m not being facetious; I’m being serious.”

He then dead-panned, “I wish he ate those two seconds off so we didn’t have to kick off, so that wasn’t very smart on his part.”

An explosive tackle by senior safety Josh Evans on the ensuing kickoff made those two lingering seconds on the game clock completely irrelevant.

The prior play, which helped the Gators avoid what may very well have been the worst loss in program history considering Florida had won 49-straight games against non-automatic qualifiers and had not fallen in such a contest since 1988, could not have been any more relevant.

Photo Credits: Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun


  1. SaraGator says:

    First – Purifoy deserves the #15 jersey!

    Second – Hands down, Mick Hubert is the best in his business!

  2. Jesse C says:

    I’m happy about the win of course but that’s about it.

  3. dp says:

    I really didn’t think many could wear the 15 like Timmy did but Purifoy is giving all of us a reason to change that tune.

  4. AverageGatorGuy says:

    Can the whole offense wear the #15 because magic happens with it.

  5. Walt P says:

    Glad we won whew. But it’s time to fix whatever wrong with the O. Maybe we have the right QB in now.

  6. G2 says:

    Never seen a game quite like this. If the OL can’t block better than that doesn’t matter who is at qb. We’ll get killed in Tally, can’t score on anyone right now.

  7. Intuition says:

    Not ready to toss this team aside just yet. Yes, I’ve felt disgusted many times this season. But I also think this may be my favorite Gator team to ever watch or root for. I’m a young’un, only 30, but was born and raised a Gator and I refuse to ever take anything for granted with the Gators. The roller coaster, the heart attacks…that’s how I know I’m a Gator. It’s how I know I’m watching the right team week after week.

    One thing I will say about this team: They seem to be together. As in all in. Brissett sits the bench this year, Driskel gets hurt, Brissett’s quote: “You’re one snap away. Man down, man up.”

    I’ve never heard a guy blame somebody else on the team this year, not for anything. I’ve loved hearing the O talking about getting the D off the field….the D saying they want to give the O better opportunities…

    And all in all, the season has exceeded my expectations. The O-line was a question mark going into the season. As was Gilly. As was Driskel. As was the defensive backfield. We’ve answered a lot of those questions in rather positive fashion given the state of the program. I don’t think anyone can argue that we’re moving in the right direction. Sure, UL-L was a major letdown. I’m just glad we didn’t drop the Mizzou game given the massive emotional output the week before. Yes, this is an “ugly” team. BUT. Check that record. What’s it gonna be at the end of the season? I’d bet it’s gonna end up at least +1 (if not +2) from your pre-season expectations.

    I love it. And I always will.

  8. Bdown says:

    This certainly isn’t a QB driven problem. It’s funny how JD was good enough early, now not so much. Look at how bad our O line is playing! No push at all, horrible pass pro, Gilly’s yardage has plummeted. Now Jacoby is gonna save us? Please folks there is a reason JD won the job and we haven’t seen the backup until now……that unit is bad, not one player. Conversely, the other 2 units are fun to watch!

    • Dead-on. The blame for Driskel has been absurd. Yes, he has made a few bad decisions, but outside of the Georgia game he is taking care of the ball and making plays. Through the air, Driskel and Brissett had mirror-image games Saturday. What Driskel added with his legs is why he’s the starter.

  9. GatorGrad98 says:

    Great post Intuition, I totally agree. I think the O-line has struggled here of late. No blame to Jeff, he is getting the job done and getting better every week. My belief is the O-line has let him and Gilly down on some of our “tougher” games, wish they could channel “South Carolina” every week. Regardless, I am excited for the remainder of our year & cannot wait for next year having an entire year under Pease under our belts (I hope he doesn’t leave us so soon). GO GATORS!!!!!!!! I love these kids….

  10. Kevin Glenn says:

    I am so proud of the 2012 Florida Gator football Team. They handle all adversity. Give them 1 less turnover and we would be prefect on the season. Yes, I HATE GEORGIA…LOL. I was 3-0 against them as a player and after enduring those fans in Atlanta for 7 years I can’t stand that our one loss had to be to a team that only beat 1 top 25 ranked team this season and that’s us. Driskell deserved the start and he deserves to keep his job no matter the outcome. Brissett is very poised and he will chuck it downfield! Our O line is the real issue but coaching has kept that unit competing at least. I want Gilly to get his 1,000 yards so schools can stop negatively recruiting against us for that. We defend The Swamp and Coach Boom is only going to get better with time. Thank you Adam for this great blog and Go Gators!

  11. BRLgator says:

    My disappointment has been that we havent done a better job game planning around the weak o-line in the pass game and the loss of the run game of late

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