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Football flashback: Jarvis Moss blocks a kick to lead Gators’ victory

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Great defenses win championships. The 2006 Florida Gators had one of those.

Great quarterbacks win championships, too. The 2006 Gators had two of those.

Also, championships are won by great … kick blockers?

You don’t have to convince the University of Florida of it. All they have to do is think back over their series against South Carolina, a series that became infinitely more interesting once former Gators’ coach Steve Spurrier took over the Gamecocks.

For instance, there was the 2006 game, when the sixth-ranked Gators welcomed Spurrier home for the first time. They were almost sorry he came.

South Carolina, which upset the Gators in 2005, almost did it again. The Gamecocks lined up for a game-winning 48-yard field goal by Ryan Succop with eight seconds to play. They trailed 18-17.

For the Gators, however, defensive end Jarvis Moss would become a part of lore as he reached up and blocked the field goal. He had blocked an extra point earlier in the game.

It was a significant game for the Gators, who would go on to win the national championship game that year. It wasn’t always a dominant Gators’ team, which lost to Auburn and beat Tennessee by only one point. It beat Vandy by six and Georgia and FSU by seven.

By the time the Gators got to the national title game, however, they were ready. They beat Ohio State 41-14.

And the key play of the year? It was when Moss was boss.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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