Cummings’ interception leads to praise and ribbing from coach


Florida defensive lineman Darious Cummings, left, intercepts a Tennessee pass on Saturday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 11:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 11:53 p.m.

Florida defensive tackle Darious Cummings tweeted Friday that having CBS announcer Verne Lundquist say his name has always been a dream of his.

It came true Saturday.

“I don’t know exactly what he said, but I’m sure he said it,” Cummings said following Florida’s 31-17 win over Tennessee.

With just over five minutes to play in the second quarter, the Vols recovered Matt Jones’ fumble at the UF 28-yard line.

They trailed 10-7 and were already in field goal range to tie the score. But on third-and-9, Tennessee quarterback Nathan Peterman lost his grip on the ball while attempting to throw, and his pass sailed in the air near the line of scrimmage.

“I was rushing the passer and I saw I wasn’t going to get there,” Cummings said, “so I sat there and just played it. I saw the ball and then I went after it.”

The 305-pounder came down with his first career interception and had nothing but green grass in front of him.

“I told him in the locker room after the game, I don't know who looks worse: Me jogging on campus or Darious returning that interception,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “Darious looked better than I did, and I was a lot happier to watch him than watch me running.”

Cummings thought he was going to have a pick-six as he ran, but fellow lineman Dominique Easley kept him out of the end zone.

“I was trying to get there,” Cumming said. “Everybody told me I shot out and then I started to slow down a little bit. I was about to make a cut back to the middle of the field. Some people said I tripped, some said (Easley) tripped me. We’re just going to leave that for whoever wants to decide.”

Easley admitted to the accidental trip.

“I was trying to slow up and block the quarterback, but (Cummings) was too slow. His engine started blowing,” Easley joked.

All kidding aside, the interception and 30-yard return took three potential points away from the Vols and led to a Mack Brown touchdown run just before half.

And it was a dream come true for Cummings, a junior college transfer who during the game had to replace an injured Leon Orr (shoulder).

“When Leon went down, Darious came in and did an outstanding job,” Muschamp said. “When your opportunity calls, you have to play well and Darious played well.

“Darious has been a very good addition for us. He’s a guy that can anchor in the run game, he plays blocks extremely well and plays extremely hard. He just needs to continue to work his way into shape.”

Perhaps Muschamp has a jogging partner now.

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