Auburn stuns Florida

first_imgGAME OF THE DAY: Tigers saddle Gators with their first home loss under Meyer. By Mark Long THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Wes Byrum started celebrating before his kick even cleared the uprights. He knew it was good when it left his foot. For Auburn, it was actually perfect. For Florida, it was a kick where it hurt most. Byrum’s 43-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Tigers to a 20-17 victory over No. 4 Florida on Saturday night and gave them one of the biggest upsets on a day filled with them. “It doesn’t get any better than that,” Byrum said. The loss snapped an 11-game winning streak for the defending national champions, who lost to Auburn last year, and gave the Gators their first home loss under Coach Urban Meyer. They had won 18 in a row, 17 straight since Meyer took over in 2005. It also jeopardized Florida’s chances of repeating. Then again, with all the other upsets Saturday, the Gators surely won’t slip far out of the picture. Florida (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) could take a big step back next week at No. 2 LSU. Then again, if the Gators perform like they did Saturday, they could be in for another long day. Auburn (3-2, 1-1) played sound defense, prevented Tim Tebow & Co. from making many big plays and took advantage of mistakes to build a 14-0 lead at halftime. A running-into-the-punter penalty kept Auburn’s first drive alive. It ended with Kodi Burns’ 6-yard TD run. The Tigers made it a two-touchdown lead with Ben Tate’s 3-yard run that followed a blocked field goal. It was 17-3 before Florida evened the game with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. However, Auburn came up big in the closing minutes. Byrum attempted the winning kick, just as Meyer called timeout. The kick was true, but Byrum had to do it again. He did, and it was right down the middle. “I was pretty excited,” said Byrum, who missed his only attempt last week against New Mexico State. “I had a rough week last week. I wanted to make sure I came back.” Auburn used the final four minutes to set up the kick. Tate ran for 18 yards and Brandon Cox found Rodgeriqus Smith twice for 16 yards. Byrum did the rest. “He’s got a tremendous leg,” Cox said. “I was on the sideline about to throw up. Being a true freshman, after the first time he hit, I was sure he was nervous. To make two of them, that says a lot about him.” The Tigers rushed the field to celebrate and performed the “Gator Chomp” everywhere in front of 90,685 at The Swamp. “We couldn’t get first downs and we couldn’t get the defense off the field,” Meyer said. “That’s the first time this season we’ve been put in that position. “It’s very disappointing. We didn’t play smart.” Tate finished with 65 yards rushing. Mario Fannin added 62, and Cox was 17-for-26 passing for 227 yards. Smith caught nine passes for 102 yards. The Tigers held Florida to 312 yards, well below its average. Tebow was 20-for-27 passing for 201 yards with a TD and ran 19 times for 75 yards and a score. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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