GAINESVILLE -- Lucky Loucheiz Purifoy struck again Saturday.
His block of Brett Baer’s attempted punt with the game winding down was Florida’s fourth of the season, and it marked the second consecutive week Purifoy came up with a huge blocked kick to help the Gators win a close game. Last week against Missouri, Purifoy blocked a field goal in the third quarter to keep the score tied at 7.
“He’s fantastic,” coach Will Muschamp said. “He’s got great ball skills, and he just has a knack for blocking kicks and playing the ball down the field. He just has a knack for those things. We always try to put him in a situation where he can block the kick.”
Purifoy was also flagged for two key penalties during the game, including a pass interference call in the end zone that helped Louisiana-Lafayette score its first touchdown early in the third quarter. He said he tried to put the mistakes out of his mind and move on to the next play. That mentality helped him make the game’s biggest play.
“I came off the edge, and they had a long shield to the left,” Purifoy said. “So I gave him an inside move and dipped my shoulder and stuck my hand out and got the ball. I saw Jelani catch it, and I was just like, ‘Run, please. Just get in the end zone.’ … That’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling. That’s a great feeling.”
UF starting quarterback Jeff Driskel was forced from the game at around the five-minute mark of the third quarter after sustaining an injury to his right ankle on a zone-read run play that went for no gain.
Driskel was initially stopped at the line of scrimmage and seemed to injure the ankle when attempting a second effort. Driskel does not have anything broken in the ankle, Muschamp said afterward. It’s thought to be just a sprain, but it’s unclear if Driskel will practice or play this week and just how long he could be out.
Fellow sophomore Jacoby Brissett filled in admirably, leading Florida on a must-have scoring drive with fewer than three minutes remaining in the game. On a third-and-3 from the Louisiana-Lafayette 42, Brissett found tight end Jordan Reed open in the middle of the field for a 39-yard gain. On the next play, he scrambled to his right to avoid pressure and hit wide receiver Quinton Dunbar on the move for a touchdown to tie the game at 20.
Muschamp raved about the job Brissett did in an unexpected role.
“Man down, man up — we’ve had it all season and credit to him getting in there and making the throws and making a huge throw to Jordan down the middle there,” Muschamp said. “You’re one snap away. That had been his approach.”
Brissett finished 6-of-8 passing for 64 yards and the scoring pass to Dunbar, while Driskel completed 13 of 16 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Driskel also led the team in rushing with 76 yards.
UF’s Ian Silberman, who started at left guard in place of the injured James Wilson (knee), went down early in the game with a shoulder injury.
“I don’t know how serious it is,” Muschamp said.
Linebacker Neiron Ball (ankle) was injured on the opening kickoff and did not return. Safety Valdez Showers (shoulder) sustained an injury on the game-winning punt block.
• Backup defensive tackle Leon Orr, who had been out with the flu, will miss the rest of the regular season after Muschamp revealed he is dealing with a kidney infection.
Starting left tackle Xavier Nixon (knee) and reserve wide receiver Andre Debose (knee) did not play.