Nov. 29, 2008, an infamous day for the Florida Gators Football team.
Well, not so much in terms of the team. The Florida Gators had knocked off dreaded rival Florida State by a score of 45-15 in a game that as now known as "The Soak At Doak," due to the mass amount of rain and mud that had swamped Bobby Bowden Field.
However, Florida's dynamic playmaker left the field in the second quarter.
Percy Harvin tucked the football in, looked left, and accelerated in that direction. Taken down after a gain of a few yards, Harvin wasn't up and ready to go like usual.
With Florida fans everywhere holding their breath, fingers crossed and ears open for an injury report—one thing was for certain and came to be known. Percy Harvin would probably be sidelined for the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.
In sweatpants, a t-shirt, and his recognizable "1" stitched on his blue jersey, Harvin graced the sideline.
But he wasn't all smiles, even though his team was victorious.
An all-around playmaker for the Gators, with 16 total touchdowns on the season, Percy Harvin's presence was missed during the Alabama game, and it was obvious. There wasn't a place in the world Harvin would have rather been than on the football field during this game.
Certainly, the Gators would have taken him. Although Tim Tebow and the Florida depth prevailed, Harvin was certainly missed. The Gators got a tough 142 yards on the ground and 216 through the air, and also got contributions from Riley Cooper and David Nelson.
Cooper caught two passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, while Nelson caught three for 27 yards and a touchdown.
However, the Gators failed to move the ball consistently on the ground until the fourth quarter. Tebow carried the load with 57 yards on the ground, while Demps got 53 yards and a touchdown. Emmanuel Moody also had 23 rushing yards.
It was painfully clear that Florida had become reliant on Harvin. He was their do-everything type of guy, he'd break tackles, slash between blockers, and just does the unthinkable in general.
With a couple weeks remaining until the National Championship Game between Florida and Oklahoma, the question that's been burning into the mind of Gators and Sooners alike is simple: "Will Percy Harvin be able to play in this game, and if so, how much of an impact will he have?"
Harvin was critical in the victory against the Ohio State Buckeyes for Florida in 2006—he accounted for 82 total yards and a touchdown in a 41-14 rout in favor of the Gators.
But things have certainly changed since then. Percy Harvin has changed in so many ways, for the better, since his freshman year in 2006. Not having Harvin in the lineup not only limits Florida's offensive options but also puts a lot of strain on Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen (pending he coaches in this game) to think of other possible options.
Not only does it make things harder for Florida, but it makes things easier for Oklahoma. If Harvin isn't healthy by this time, the Sooners don't have to contain him and his speed and are able to scheme towards shutting down Florida's other playmakers.
Having Harvin on the football field on Jan. 8 is exponentially important to coming out on top as 2008 National Champions. He's had an outstanding campaign and will be a critical factor for Bob Stoops to consider—especially if healthy.