Murphy's last game starts with energy, ends with cramps

UF receiver Louis Murphy tumbles into the end zone to score the Gators' first touchdown in Thursday night's game.

Rob C. Witzel /Staff photographer
Published: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:08 p.m.

MIAMI – Too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing.

Florida’s Louis Murphy found that out the hard way during Thursday’s 24-14 BCS National Championship victory over Oklahoma.

As he does before every game, the senior receiver guzzled down a 5-Hour Energy drink. But this time he was a little too amped for his second national title game in three seasons. Instead of his usual one bottle, Murphy decided to slam two.

The outcome? Cramps. Major cramps that were so bad he had to come out of the game to get an IV in the locker room during the third quarter to keep playing.

“Man I was cramping up bad,” Murphy said. “My body just shut down.”

Fortunately for Murphy, his night started fine. Fifty-eight seconds into the second quarter, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Murphy hauled in a tremendous 20-yard touchdown grab to give UF its first points.

The early effects of the energy drinks certainly paid off, because when Murphy caught the ball and spun away from his defender, his arm and the ball came down onto the white goal line separating the field from the red painted Oklahoma end zone.

It looked for a second as though Murphy might have fumbled the ball. Upon impact with the ground, the ball flew from his hand and was eventually picked up by a Sooner defender. The referees signaled touchdown and there was no review of the play. The touchdown grab – also Murphy’s first reception of the game – marked the 27th consecutive game the senior receiver has had a catch and was his seventh touchdown of the season.

“He played his butt off,” redshirt junior receiver David Nelson said. “He’s injured and he tore his meniscus (after the Southeastern Conference Championship) and he played through the injury and he played his heart out. He’s a senior. He’s one of our senior leaders and we were going to do whatever we had to get this win for him.”

After hauling in a 24-yard catch on a second-and-14 early in the second quarter, the negative symptoms of those energy drinks hit Murphy.

He failed to catch another ball and, spent most of the second half limping around the field.

His troubles first began when he slammed into the ground of the back right corner of the Sooner’s end zone while trying to catch an overthrown 31-yard pass from quarterback Tim Tebow. The receiver reached for his leg and winced in pain as UF’s trainers hustled over to him.

After a couple minutes of squirming on the ground, Murphy walked over to the UF sideline with help from the trainers.

Murphy returned on the next drive, but was almost lifeless at times.

When the first play started, Murphy came out of his break, stumbled, and then hobbled to make his block. At the conclusion of the 3-yard Tebow run, Murphy went straight down and grabbed his left hamstring.

The cramps had set in.

Murphy came back in with 10:55 left in the fourth, but spent most of his time blocking for others. He finished with two catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.

It wasn’t exactly an ideal way to finish his college career, but to Murphy, leaving UF with another national championship is all the storybook ending he needs.

“I’m fine on how I ended it,” he said. “I’m a team player. All that matters is that the team won. I’ll put the team before myself anytime.”

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