Gainesville, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Jelani Jenkins returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown with two seconds remaining to push Florida past Louisiana-Lafayette, 27-20.
Florida Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy sprinted off the edge and got his right hand on Baer’s punt. Jenkins then picked up the deflection and went untouched the other way.
The Rajin’ Cajuns (5-4) led 17-13 in the third quarter after Alonzo Harris’ 2-yard run and a blocked punt for a touchdown on the ensuing drive. Brett Baer’s 22-yard field goal widened the lead to 20-13 early in the fourth.
But Florida backup Jacoby Brissett found tight end Jordan Reed down the middle for a 39-yard gain and then hit Quinton Dunbar for 3-yard score to tie the game with 1:42 remaining.
The Rajin’ Cajuns then tried to runout the clock and play for overtime until the fateful punt.
It was Purifoy’s second blocked kick of the season and second in two weeks. Last week, Purifoy blocked a 25-yard Missouri field goal attempt in the third quarter, a key play in UF’s 14-7 win over the Tigers.
“There is a lot of pain in the locker room because we knew that we had that game in our hands and we let it slip away,” ULL receiver Bradley Brown said. He added that he didn’t understand was why they didn’t go for it with a minute and 40 seconds on the clock.
But the seventh-ranked Gators didn’t get the help needed to win the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division.
The Gators (9-1) were hoping that Auburn upsets Georgia later in the day, but the Bulldogs won 38-0 and clinched a spot in the league title game.