Leak, Florida beat Florida State for third straight yearNov 25, 2006 - 9:02 PM TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Ticker) -- Chris Leak and Florida continue to get the better of their chief rivals.
Leak threw a pair of touchdowns, including a go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter, to lead the fourth-ranked Gators to a 21-14 triumph over Florida State that kept them in the mix for a berth in the national championship game.
A senior, Leak completed 21-of-34 passes for 283 yards without an interception for Florida (11-1), which will take on fifth-ranked Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference championship game next week in Atlanta.
The Gators need a win over the Razorbacks to remain in the hunt for a chance to oppose top-ranked Ohio State in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
The Gators are 6-0 against Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State under coach Urban Meyer and have won a school-record seven in a row against the trio dating to a 2004 victory over the Seminoles under exiting coach Ron Zook.
"We beat our rivals in a great game," Meyer said. "I thought, give credit where credit is due - that was a team (Florida State) that was battling their hearts out with some terrific football players. ... It's a great win for Florida football."
Florida has beaten Florida State three straight times for the first time since 1984-86, with Leak directing all three victories.
"I think they're doggone good," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said of the Gators. "They looked darn second to that 1996 (national title) team they had. That's how they looked to me today. So much skill running out there you have to be able to contain them all day long.
"If they didn't have a good quarterback that can get them the ball then we could have handled it. Their quarterback can do it."
Florida State trailed, 14-0, before fullback Joe Surratt scored on a one-yard run with 5:20 to play in the third quarter and Drew Weatherford connected with a leaping Greg Carr for a 25-yard touchdown with 14:27 to go.
"In the second half I think the players got riled up more," Bowden said. "We just weren't riled up early in the first half. I think in the second we just ran better, played better, blocked better, caught better."
But Leak calmly marched the Gators downfield, capping a 10-play, 74-yard drive with a 25-yard TD toss to Dallas Baker with 10:22 to go.
The Seminoles came up short on three fourth-down plays in the final 8 1/2 minutes as they dropped to 6-6 on the season. Weatherford finished 16-of-37 for 181 yards, one TD and three interceptions.
"We tied it up, 14-14, and the momentum kind of swung our way, and they took it right back like a good team is supposed to," Weatherford said. "They played really well and made more big plays than we did and less mistakes than we did, and that is why they won the game."
Florida star freshman receiver Percy Harvin was immobilized and taken off the field on a cart late in the second quarter.
Harvin, who had scored on a 41-yard run to give Florida a 14-0 lead with 5:52 left in the period, appeared to be kneed in the head by Seminoles linebacker Buster Davis while being tackled following a short reception three minutes later.
"He was number - like a stinger," Meyer said. "They said he should be fine. They are waiting on the MRI and he should be fine."
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