It has been three years now, but Florida OL Phil Trautwein remembers the 2005 Florida-Vanderbilt game very clearly. He was a reserve eager for playing time whenever he could get it. So he was psyched when he was told late in the game that he would be going in. "I was about to get into the game," Trautwein said. "We were beating them bad. And then they just started coming back. And all of a sudden (the coaches) told me to sit back down. When it was (tied), it was a shocker." Vanderbilt rallied from a 35-21 deficit to tie the score with 4:11 remaining, before losing 49-42 in double overtime. The game included a controversial unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for celebrating that caused Vandy to tie the score at 35 with a kick rather than trying for a two-point conversion to win in regulation. It was also a coming-out party for Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler, who went 28-of-42 for 361 yards and four touchdowns. "I remember Jay Cutler," UF offensive coordinator Dan Mullen said. "I hadn't seen a quarterback play that good in a long time. He was on the money. That was a battle. They made a bunch of plays and came back and scored late. … Going into overtime, I remember telling our guys just keep doing what we're doing." Despite winning the past 17 games against the Commodores, the Gators have had many battles during that streak. "Even two years ago, it was (25-19)," Trautwein said. "They always seem to play us tough." Which is why you couldn't find a single Florida player this week who wasn't talking about staying focused and not taking Vanderbilt lightly — even though the Commodores enter the game on a three-game losing streak. There's just too much at stake for that — UF can clinch a berth in the SEC title game with a win. "These are the teams you worry about the most," S Ahmad Black said. "Ole Miss, we had the edge on them all the way through, in every aspect of the game, and they came out on top of us. We don't take anybody lightly."
Antonya English, Times staff writer
By the numbers
1 Victory against four losses after a bye week for Ohio State in eight seasons under Jim Tressel, right. The Buckeyes, off last week after losing to Penn State, play at Northwestern.
4 Black head coaches among 119 Division I-A schools after the dismissals of Tyrone Willingham (Washington) and Ron Prince (Kansas State).
6 Consecutive losses for Arizona State, ranked 15th to start the season. The skid ties a school record, set in 1929.
16 Consecutive games with a touchdown reception for WR Ramses Barden of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He can tie the Division I-AA record, set by Mississippi Valley State's Jerry Rice, today against North Carolina Central.
The Ol' Helmet Coach
Steve Spurrier is getting tougher on South Carolina players riding scooters.
Spurrier says he will require those Gamecocks with scooters to wear a helmet or face missing a game. The latest guideline came after first-year RB Kenny Miles was involved in recent scooter wreck, sustaining bruises and scrapes.
Spurrier told reporters after Wednesday's practice that those caught riding without a helmet could be suspended.
Spurrier said that Miles was okay but looked like he slid into second base on a paved road.
The accident was at least the third involving a Gamecock player. TE Nick Prochak broke a leg in his crash, while former player Clark Gaston bruised his knee and hip.
State law requires those under 21 to wear a helmet while driving or riding on a scooter.
Stringing 'em together
Syracuse RB Curtis Brinkley's 166-yard performance in last week's 28-21 win over Louisville has put him in some select company.
Brinkley became the second running back in school history to rush for 100 yards in five straight games, and he is the first one to do it in a single season. Joe Morris had a five-game stretch spanning two seasons in his career, but no Syracuse back — not Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little or Larry Csonka — ever had a streak like Brinkley's.
"You think about the different running backs that have come into this program, it is quite a feat," coach Greg Robinson said. "It's a credit to the program and a credit to all the offensive players because it takes them all to perform well."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.