Brown recovers to lift UF defense

Published: Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 8:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 8:55 p.m.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Out on the island, you have to forget.

"Great cornerbacks have bad memories," UF coach Urban Meyer said Saturday night.

So Jeremy Brown let it go. He had been burned and burned badly because of his wandering eyes. He wasn't checking out girls in Neyland Stadium, but the movements of Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms.

And he got burned.

Simms found wide receiver Denarius Moore behind the defense for a 49-yard score to tie the game at 10 midway through the third quarter. Moore ran an out-and-up and Brown was caught, as Dennis Hopper's "Shooter" character in the movie "Hoosiers" said, "watching the paint dry."

"The coaches get on me about leaving my eyes in the backfield," Brown said. "I got caught. I jumped the out. It was a good scene. They caught us off guard.

"I was just hoping he'd drop it. You give up a big play on the road, I felt like I owed the team."

Brown's payback came later in the third quarter after Florida had taken a 17-10 lead. With Tennessee facing a third-and-6 at its 40-yard line, Simms tried to hit Moore on a slant for the first down. But Brown stepped in front of the pass to pick it off and set up the Gators in Tennessee territory.

"It was just like on film," he said. "When they line up like that, he's looking for the slant. The receiver kind of jogs off the line and then cuts and I was waiting for it."

Brown was pulled down by Moore at the UF 40 but the Gators marched down the field, scoring eventually on a 5-yard run by Mike Gillislee to take a 24-10 lead on their way to a 31-17 win in the SEC opener for both teams.

"When it hit my hands, I thought I was going to the house," Brown said. "But he was right there."

Brown's interception and an end zone pick by linebacker Jon Bostic were two of three turnovers gobbled up by the Gator defense. Florida now has 10 interceptions in three games, with seven of them by the secondary.

"It was put on us at the start of the year that with all the great defenses we've had we couldn't be the one that let Florida down," Brown said. "The bar is set pretty high around here."

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