SEC­OND & LONG

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS -

Fi­nally, a lit­tle bit of good news for Florida. And the usual bad run of luck for Rocky Top faith­ful.

After deal­ing for the last week with the hor­rific af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Irma, the Sun­shine State needed some­thing pos­i­tive to lift their spir­its.

Cue the Florida Ga­tors. with a last-play, Hail Mary heave to come up vic­to­ri­ous over the vis­it­ing Ten­nessee Vol­un­teers 26-20 high­light­ing Week 3 of the NCAA foot­ball cam­paign.

“Just look at them,” Florida’s emo­tional head coach Jim McEl­wain told CBS watch­ing his play­ers cel­e­brate with ex­treme ju­bi­lance post-game. “What they’ve gone through ... This is about them. “Just look at the fans here. Pretty cool deal.” Pretty cool, in­deed, as the last-sec­ond tri­umph whipped up a fren­zied dog­pile of play­ers and a thun­der­ous roar of hoot­ing and hol­ler­ing both on the field and in the stands of Ben Hill Grif­fin Sta­dium in Gainesville, Fla.

Just mo­ments ear­lier, fresh­man quar­ter­back Feleipe Franks fired a ball 66 yards right into the hands of re­ceiver Tyrie Cleve­land to give the im­prob­a­ble Ga­tors vic­tory. The home side went 75 yards on four plays in the fi­nal 50 sec­onds, capped by the 63-yard touch­down heave from the fresh­man QB to the streak­ing pass-catcher.

Franks calmly eluded pres­sure on the play be­fore un­load­ing the bomb on tar­get, per­haps prov­ing that he’s got the goods to be the pivot Florida fans have been wait­ing on since Tim Te­bow took his game to the NFL.

“He showed me he can throw it a long way,” McEl­wain, with a chuckle, told CBS of Franks.

The Franks-to-Cleve­land con­nec­tion broke a 20-20 dead­lock, made that way by Aaron Med­ley’s 27-yard field­goal for Ten­nessee in the fi­nal minute.

It also made it 13 straight wins for the No. 24 Ga­tors (1-1) over the No. 23 Vols (2-1) in the heated ACC ri­valry.

And it re­minded Ten­nessee fans — once again — about just how ter­ri­ble their for­tune is in this se­ries with Florida.

Two years ago, Rocky Top lost 28-27 on a late 63-yard ma­jor by re­ceiver An­to­nio Call­away, who was sus­pended for this one for a mis­use of school funds while be­ing un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for credit card fraud, from QB Will Grier, who’s now the starter for the West Vir­ginia Moun­taineers.

In this one, it was a 6-3 slugfest — typ­i­cal of the ACC — through three quar­ters be­fore open­ing up in the fourth frame and wrap­ping up on the fi­nal play that touched off the full-on Florida party.

“We knew we had to get this ‘W’ (to lift spir­its in the state),” Cleve­land told ESPN post-game. “I made it my busi­ness what­ever hap­pened through­out this game (that) I’m gonna keep play­ing.”

“We’ve got young guys,” McEl­wain told CBS. “It’s a fun group to be around. I’m just happy for them.”

The heavy­weight bout of Week 3 wasn’t much of one in Muham­mad Ali’s home-town, as the champ, No. 3 Clem­son (3-0) de­stroyed Heis­man Tro­phy-holder La­mar Jack­son and No. 14 Louisville (2-1) 47-21. Jack­son did toss for 317 yards and ran for 64 more … No. 1 Alabama (3-0) topped Colorado State (2-2) with QB Jalen Hurts pass­ing for 248 yards and run­ning for 103 more … Hold up on all the USC­for-the-na­tional-ti­tle talk! No. 4 USC (3-0) just slipped by ter­ri­ble Texas (1-2) 27-24 in dou­ble OT, thanks to a Chase McGrath 43-yard field­goal … No. 2 Ok­la­homa (3-0) tuned up Tulane (1-2) 56-14 thanks to a 17-of-27, 331-yard day from QB Baker May­field, who’s on a Heis­man mis­sion … First-half weird­ness be­tween No. 7 Michi­gan (3-0) and Air Force (1-1), as no TDs were scored and the mil­i­tary school at­tempted no passes and con­verted zero third-down at­tempts. In the end, Michi­gan pi­loted a fraught-filled flight to gut out a 29-13 tri­umph. (2-0), as ‘The Rosen One,’ a Heis­man hope­ful and NFL pro­tege, threw a hand­ful of il­lad­vised passes — in­clud­ing one for a pick-six — de­spite toss­ing 463 yards in a 48-45 drop. The Mem­phis stars were re­ceiver An­thony Miller, who hauled in nine balls for 186 yards and two TDs, and QB Ri­ley Fer­gu­son, who chucked for 398 yards and six TDs … Ne­braska QB Tan­ner Lee tossed two pick-sixes in the first quar­ter and an­other late in the game in a North­ern Illi­nois (2-1) up­set, 21-17 in Lin­coln, Neb. Third-year head coach Mike Ri­ley, the for­mer CFL side­line boss, just signed an ex­ten­sion to lead Ne­braska (1-2) through 2020, but school ath­letic di­rec­tor Shawn Ei­chorst told ESPN the loss is “not ac­cept­able.” … No. 12 LSU (2-1) got lam­basted by Mis­sis­sippi State (3-0) 37-7. Ouch! ... It’s 42 con­sec­u­tive road losses and count­ing for Kansas (1-2) after host Ohio (2-1) scored a 42-30 vic­tory ... And Notre Dame (2-1) got 229 rush­ing yards from Josh Adams to run away from host Bos­ton Col­lege (1-2) in the sec­ond half of a 49-20 af­fair. The five-TD ex­plo­sion in the sec­ond half might help save head coach Brian Kelly’s job in South Bend, Ind.

SCOTT HALLERAN/GeTTy IM­aGes

The Ga­tors cel­e­brate with re­ceiverTyrie Cleve­land after he catches the win­ning TD yes­ter­day in Gainesville, Fla.

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