GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Jarvis Moss begged to stay on the field.
The 6-foot-6 defensive end had played every down on defense, and Florida coaches thought Moss was too tired to line up for the final play - a 48-yard field goal attempt in a one-point game.
Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong had already told Derrick Harvey to replace Moss in the formation. Breathing heavily, dripping in sweat and on the verge of dropping to a knee, Moss wouldn't have it.
``Moss was like, 'No, no, Coach, please don't take me out, please don't take me out,''' Strong said, adding that Moss made a similar plea to coach Urban Meyer. ``Coach looked at him and said, 'You better block it.' And he said, 'I will. I will block it.'''
He did. Moss timed his jump perfectly, extended both hands as high as he could and batted down Ryan Succop's kick as time expired two years ago. The play preserved a 17-16 victory, spoiled coach Steve Spurrier's return to The Swamp and propelled the Gators to their second national championship.
It also went down as one of the best plays in school history.
``If I have a vote, I think it's probably the greatest play in the history of Florida football,'' Meyer said. ``That was certainly a monumental play, a monumental moment in my life and our program's life.''
With No. 24 South Carolina (7-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) returning to Florida Field on Saturday for the first time since Moss' block, the play has been one of the main story lines of the week.
The third-ranked Gators (8-1, 6-1) have clinched the SEC East and a spot in the league championship game, don't want to talk about the possibility of playing for a national championship and don't have much to say about Spurrier returning to Gainesville again.
Moss' block? Well, that elicits nothing but smiles from the Gators.
``You could feel it coming,'' offensive tackle Jason Watkins said. ``Everybody was uptight, just waiting for something to happen - and bam! - there it was. That was the loudest this stadium has even been. It was so crazy. That was a changing moment in the season.''
Florida players and coaches celebrated wildly on the sideline, jumping up and down, hugging each other and rushing the field and swarming Moss.
ting deals, one of the great wins of my coaching career, just being involved in that, the excitement, the emotion of that game.''
Florida went ahead 17-16 on Tim Tebow's 12-yard run with 3:03 to play. But Blake Mitchell quickly led the Gamecocks down the field.
Mitchell hooked up with Sidney Rice for 27 yards, which would have put South Carolina at the Florida 7, but guard Jamon Meredith was flagged for a false start. The 5-yard penalty wiped out the long gain and moved the Gamecocks out of field-goal range.
Blake got South Carolina to the 31 with a short completion on third-and-17. Florida called timeout to ice Succop, who had a 47-yarder blocked in the third quarter, made a 47-yarder in the fourth and had an extra point blocked by Moss on the team's previous possession.
Many of the Gators held hands on the sideline and prayed. Moss, meanwhile, was busy pleading to stay on the field. Coaches gave in, then called for a ``middle jump.'' Moss lined up at linebacker, ran toward the line of scrimmage at the snap, jumped as high as he could and blocked it with his left hand.
``I didn't even look,'' Strong said. ``I was looking at our players and I saw them run on the field, so I figured we blocked it. I turned around and we had blocked it. Great feeling.''
The Gators won their next three games to reach the national championship game, then routed Ohio State 41-14 in Arizona. Moss headed to the NFL, but his block remains as much a part of program lore as Spurrier's field goal against Auburn in 1966, Chris Doering's touchdown catch against Kentucky in 1993 or Ike Hilliard's stop-and-go move against Florida State in the 1997 Sugar Bowl.
``That was one of the finest plays we've ever been a part of,'' Meyer said.

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