ORLANDO, Fla. — Drake Johnson’s favorite moment of the Citrus Bowl wasn’t his rushing touchdown in the first quarter, nor was it his receiving touchdown in the fourth or the trophy presentation after the game.
No, the moment that Johnson identified as the day’s best was a two-yard touchdown by senior fullback Sione Houma with 3:48 left in the third quarter. The Wolverines already led 24-7 at that point, so it wasn’t like Houma’s score changed the game.
What it did do, though, is fulfill a season-long goal Johnson has had with his roommates, Houma and redshirt junior receiver Jehu Chesson.
All year long, the three roommates have wanted to each score a touchdown in the same game. So late in the third quarter, when Houma plunged in from two yards out, Johnson was elated.
“We call ourselves ‘The Kingdom,’ we live in an apartment called ‘The Kingdom,’ ” Johnson said. “We stepped on the field today, and Jehu walked up to me and he goes, ‘Today.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ He was like, ‘We’re going to get all three today.’ ”
On the stage at the trophy presentation, Chesson wondered aloud into the microphone if the trio of roommates scoring might be some kind of record.
And while STATS LLC doesn’t keep those kind of records, the moment was special for the trio, which had fallen just short so many times this season. Houma and Chesson both scored against UNLV, but no Johnson. Chesson and Johnson both scored against Maryland, Northwestern and Rutgers, but no Houma.
But in Friday’s 41-7 win over Florida, there were plenty of scores to go around, and all three collected.
Johnson got the scoring rolling with a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and Chesson burned Vernon Hargreaves III, regarded as one of the nation’s best cornerbacks, with a double move for a 31-yard touchdown in the second.
Late in the third, fifth-year senior quarterback Jake Rudock hit Chesson for a 45-yard bomb to the Gators’ 10-yard line, and Houma punched it in three plays later.
All three had strong seasons, with Johnson recovering from his second torn ACL and Houma and Chesson breaking out largely for the first time. Chesson had 12 total touchdowns on the season, Johnson finished with six and Houma with five.
So was it something in the water at “The Kingdom?”
“Maybe,” Johnson said. “We have a nice apartment, we have a nice place. We sleep comfortably. Maybe that’s what did it.”
As for Chesson’s prediction come true, Johnson said that’s nothing out of the ordinary. He is the responsible one of the group, and Johnson referred to him as “The Great Affirmer,” someone who could expedite the ongoings of the apartment.
“Pardon my French, but Jehu’s got his s— together,” Johnson said. “Like if there’s someone on our team who really has their stuff together, Jehu has his s— together.
“Him being in our house has been such a blessing because there’s times where I’m just like … You know, I’m a goofy person. And like, I’m the one person in the house who’s just so carefree like, that’s like, ‘it’ll be ok.’ And Jehu’s the person in the house who’s like, ‘Hey. We need to get this done.’ ”
On Friday, in their last chance to all score before Houma graduates and moves on, Chesson affirmed it.
The Kingdom came, and its will was done.