AUBURN, Ala. – That merciless Southeastern Conference claimed another victim: No. 2 Florida.

Auburn scored on a blocked punt, a last-play fumble and a safety to beat the Gators 27-17 on Saturday night and leave the powerhouse conference without an unbeaten team.

The Tigers (6-1, 4-1) failed to score an offensive touchdown. Instead, they turned in a dominant defensive performance in the second half and benefited from Leak’s fumble deep in Auburn territory that killed a chance for at least a go-ahead field goal.

Florida coach Urban Meyer challenged the call arguing that it was an incomplete pass but replay officials let the play stand – and it turned the game around.

Eric Brock’s late interception of Leak’s pass set up the last of John Vaughn’s four field goals, a 39-yarder with 31 seconds left after missing a 45-yard attempt on the previous possession.

It was just another chapter in the topsy-turvy saga of SEC front-runners this season, with Auburn beating LSU, Arkansas beating then-No. 2 Auburn last week and Florida (6-1, 4-1) toppling Tennessee. The internal battering has threatened to leave the league without a strong national championship contender.

Auburn hardly looked like the same team that was physically whipped in that 27-10 loss to the Razorbacks – at least in the second half.

AP-ES-10-14-06 2302EDT


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