GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Three seconds left on the clock. Ninety-thousand fans going berserk. Tie score here in the Swamp, and when the ball was snapped and placed on the ground Auburn's freshman kicker swung his black shoe and booted it through the uprights, setting off a celebration that ...
"Florida has called a timeout."
|Yes, Wes Byrum's a freshman, but UF learns he has nerves of steel. (Getty Images)|
Urban Meyer, with an official on his shoulder, had yelled "Now! Now! Now!" to get a timeout before the play started. It was premature upset-ulation, and Wes Byrum's game-winning field was rendered pointless, like a home run hit when an umpire declares a no-pitch. In other words, the 18-year-old would have to trot out there and do it all over again, and now he was officially iced and filled with butterflies.
"I was a little bit more comfortable the second time," said Byrum, and how's that for steady nerves under pressure? With such composure laced with confidence, there was little doubt the second attempt would be as pure as the first. So when it left his foot Byrum looked up, turned, ran and did a Gator chomp with his arms, and the reigning national champions had suffered their first loss of the season -- a 20-17 stunner -- thanks to a home-grown product.
Yep, a Floridian beat Florida.
Gator bait, he was not.
"It doesn't get any better than that," said Byrum, a native of Fort Lauderdale, just 315 miles south. "That's a dream situation."
Perhaps for you, kiddo.
But try telling that to the 113th consecutive sellout crowd that packed Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, prepared to watch its 18-point favorites cruise against an Auburn team that had already lost to South Florida and Mississippi State, don't forget. This was supposed to be the tune-up for next weekend's showdown with LSU, and nothing more. But on a Saturday when four top 10 teams fell it wasn't hard to see this upset coming from a mile away, and by a mile I mean the 43 yards the pigskin traveled once leaving Byrum's foot to improve Tommy Tuberville's record to 2-0 against Meyer.
Sure, the outcome was shocking.
Nobody woke up expecting to witness it.