Leak Could Set New Records Against UK

By the time Chris Leak finishes his Florida career, most likely in a bowl game in January, he could own most of the passing records. Saturday against the Kentucky Wildcats, Leak will have a chance to take over the number one spot in a couple of important categories and move closer to the top spot in several others.

For the season, Leak is 55-84, good for 799 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s been intercepted three times. That gives Leak a 177.5 passing efficiency mark which puts him at the top spot in the NCAA individual rankings. His 799 yards are the twelfth best and his 10 touchdown passes are tops in the country.

Leak has attempted 1,177 passes in his Florida career, just 25 behind all-time leader Shane Matthews (1,202) and that record could fall Saturday against Kentucky. He needs only five completions Saturday to pass Matthews (722) for first place on that all-time Florida list.

Leak threw for 199 yards against Tennessee and that moved him over 9,000 yards for his career. At 9,070 yards, he ranks fourth all-time at Florida. With 95 yards Saturday he could pass Rex Grossman (9,164) for third all-time at UF. He needs 218 to pass Matthews (9.287) for second place. Danny Wuerffel ranks first all-time in passing yardage with 10,875 but at his pace of 263.3 yards per game and nine more games on the regular season schedule, that record is within his grasp at some point.

Leak threw three touchdown passes against Tennessee, bringing him to 75 for his career and within two of Grossman’s second place 77. That’s another record that could fall against a Kentucky pass defense that ranks eighth in the SEC.

From a career standpoint among active quarterbacks playing in NCAA Division I, Leak is the leader in touchdowns (75), ranks second (718) in pass completions behind Houston’s Kevin Kolb (745), and ranks third in yardage (9,070) behind Brady Quinn of Notre Dame (9,103) and Kolb (10,035).

In games he has started, Leak is 25-11

RECEIVING RECORDS: With 17 catches for 254 yards and four touchdowns, Dallas Baker is starting to move up the Florida pass receiving records list. For his career, Baker has 108 catches for 1,574 yards and 15 touchdowns.

He’s 18 catches away from tenth place on the all-time list (126), held jointly by Ike Hilliard and Reidel Anthony. At his present pace of nearly six catches per game, Baker has a shot at the all-time Florida mark of 172 catches by Carlos Alvarez. Willie Jackson is second on the Florida list with 162 while Erricht Rhett had 153. Florida has nine more regular season games. If the Gators make the SEC championship and a bowl game, Baker would have 11 more games to make an assault on the records.

His 1.574 yards put him 514 yards away from Reche Caldwell’s 2,088 yards which are good for tenth on Florida’s all-time list. Alvarez (2.563) and Jabar Gaffney (2,375) rank one and two in that category. At his present pace of more than 80 yards per game, Baker has a shot at overtaking Gaffney for second place.

Bubba Caldwell has 83 career catches for 1,128 yards so he has a realistic shot at getting 100 career catches. His brother, Reche, had 143 catches in his career. Bubba’s a junior so if he returns for his senior season, he would also have a shot at some of the top receiving records.

Senior wide receiver Jemalle Cornelius has six catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns this season. His career numbers read 54 catches, 772 yards and six touchdowns.

Freshman receiver Percy Harvin has eight catches for 145 yards and one touchdown and he’s rushed seven times for 81 yards, good for 11.6 yards per carry.

DESHAWN WYNN: Wynn’s 104-yard night against Tennessee was one of his best efforts of his Florida career. It moved him to the number 65 position nationally with 200 yards, good for 66.67 yards per game.

For his career, Wynn has 1,578 yards which puts him within striking distance of the top ten in school history at his present pace. Number 10 on the list is Jimmy Dubose with 2,159 yards. Wynn ranks eighth on the Florida all-time list for rushing touchdowns with 21. He’s within striking distance of Larry Smith, who had 24, and Buford Long, who had 25.

REGGIE FREAKING NELSON: The junior free safety from Melbourne Palm Bay intercepted two passes Saturday night, bringing his total to three for the season. That puts Nelson in a tie for fourth place in the NCAA rankings.

Nelson intercepted the first pass Erik Ainge threw Saturday night and he intercepted the last one.

MEYER’S MARKS: Saturday night’s win over Tennessee gave Coach Urban Meyer a perfect 6-0 record in conference opening games in his coaching career. Meyer joined Galen Hall as the only two coaches in Florida history to beat the Vols back to back in their first two years as the Florida coach. Meyer, Steve Spurrier, Tommy Tuberville and Mark Richt are the only coaches that have ever beaten Tennessee Coach Phillip Fulmer in back to back seasons.

Meyer has won five straight games, boosting his career coaching record to 51-11, 12-3 at Florida. Meyer’s 12-3 mark is tied with Spurrier and Charles Bachman for second place among UF coaches for best record in their first 15 games. Hall was 14-0-1 after his first 15 games, 15-0-1 when he suffered his first defeat.

OFFENSE: The Gators rank number 11 in the nation in total offense at 449.333 yards per game. The Gators rank number 51 in rushing offense (156 yards per game) and number 11 in passing offense (293.3 yards per game). The Gators are ranked number 28 in the nation in scoring offense.

State rivals Miami and Florida State aren’t faring quite as well offensively.

FSU is next to last in the nation (118 out of 119 teams) in rushing with an average of 49.33 yards per game. Miami is ranked number 60 at 135 yards per game. In passing offense, Miami ranks number 53 (213.7 yards per game) while FSU is ranked number 54 (204.33).

In total offense, the Hurricanes are ranked number 63 (346.33) while the Seminoles are number 105 (253.67). Miami is scoring at the rate of 22.67 points per game (number 72), while FSU is scoring at a 19.0 clip, good for the number 84 ranking nationally.

DEFENSE: By holding Tennessee to minus-11 yards rushing, the Gators improved to number five in the nation against the run (43 yards per game). The Gators are giving up less than two yards per carry (1.79).

Florida is giving up 179.67 passing yards per game and that’s good for the number 48 spot in the national rankings. In total defense, the Gators are number 13, giving up 222.67 yards per game and Florida is ranked eleventh in scoring defense (9.0 points per game).

FSU and Miami are numbers eight and nine against the rush. The FSU pass defense is at number 71 while Miami is at 75 and in total defense, FSU is number 26 (255 yards per game) while Miami is number 29 (263.33). FSU and Miami are tied for the number 41 position in scoring defense, giving up 18 points per game.

PUNTING: The Gators rank thirteenth nationally in net punting at 40.56 yards per punt. Florida has punted nine times this year and has given up only eight punt return yards. Tennessee got seven of those return yards on one punt Saturday night.

Florida punter Eric Wilbur ranks eighth among active Division I punters with an average of 42.89 yards per punt.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.