GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – DeShawn Wynn returned from a one-game suspension and gave Florida’s running game a much-needed boost.

Wynn ran 16 times for a career-high 101 yards and scored three touchdowns, helping the 10th-ranked Gators beat Louisiana Tech 41-3 Saturday night.

With the victory, Florida coach Urban Meyer accomplished something that his predecessor, Ron Zook, never did: start 2-0. Zook was 1-1 in each of his three seasons. Of course, Zook’s losses came against Miami twice and Tennessee.

Meyer’s first real test comes next week against No. 6 Tennessee.

The Gators struggled at times for the second consecutive week, but Meyer was clearly holding back parts of the offense – quite possibly saving something for the Volunteers.

Chris Leak threw just eight passes in the first half, but connected with Chad Jackson on an 80-yard score in the third quarter. Leak also ran for two second-half scores.

Wynn looked sharp throughout.

He gained 7 yards on his first carry, then ripped off a 50-yarder on his next. He carried five straight times on Florida’s second drive and capped it with a 1-yard touchdown dive on fourth down.

His second 1-yard plunge made it 14-0 in the second quarter. He added a leaping 24-yard catch a few minutes later for a three-touchdown lead.

Leak finished 13-of-22 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran seven times for 16 yards. He was 26-of-34 for 320 yards and three touchdowns last week against Wyoming. He also was sacked four times – something Meyer vowed to correct.

He mostly did.

Leak was sacked once in the second quarter and fumbled, which led to Tech’s lone score – a 37-yard field goal by Danny Horwedel.

Wynn’s return might have helped, too. He was suspended for the opener for violating an unspecified team rule. The Gators managed 91 yards on 36 carries last week, and their leading rusher was backup quarterback Josh Portis.

They surpassed that rushing total in the second quarter against the Bulldogs (0-1) and finished with 251 yards on 49 attempts.

Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, had little success in its season debut.

Matt Kubik was 4-of-18 passing for 56 yards with two interceptions. Donald Allen was 7-of-14 for 61 yards with one interception.

Mark Dillard and Freddie Franklin combined for 59 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs switched to a version of Meyer’s spread offense this season after losing Ryan Moats to the NFL. Moats accounted for 41 percent of the offense in 2004.

But it’s hard to blame the Bulldogs for anything that went wrong Saturday. Players and coaches were admittedly still reeling from Hurricane Katrina.

Although their campus in Ruston is more than 300 miles northwest of New Orleans, they were hardly immune from the destruction Katrina caused when it cut a swath along the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29. More than a dozen players lost their homes – one player lost three family members – and many others waited anxiously for word from loved ones.

AP-ES-09-10-05 2133EDT

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