1958 Florida Gators football team

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1958 Florida Gators football
Gator Bowl, L 3–7 vs. Mississippi
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
Coaches No. 15
AP No. 14
1958 record 6–4–1 (2–3–1 T-8th SEC)
Head coach Bob Woodruff
Home stadium Florida Field
Seasons
« 1957 1959 »
1958 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 LSU $ 6 0 0     11 0 0
#4 Auburn 6 0 1     9 0 1
#11 Ole Miss 4 2 0     9 2 0
Vanderbilt 2 1 3     5 2 3
Tennessee 4 3 0     4 6 0
Alabama 3 4 1     5 4 1
Kentucky 3 4 1     5 4 1
#14 Florida 2 3 1     6 4 1
Georgia Tech 2 3 1     5 4 1
Georgia 2 4 0     4 6 0
Tulane 1 5 0     3 7 0
Mississippi State 1 6 0     3 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1958 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1958 college football season. The season was the ninth of ten for Bob Woodruff as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. Woodruff's 1958 Florida Gators finished with an overall record of 6–4–1 and a Southeastern Conference (SEC) record of 2–2–1, placing eighth in the twelve-member SEC.[1]

Before the season[edit]

The prospects for the 1958 season were devastated by Bernie Parrish deciding to play baseball with the Cincinnati Reds.[2] The Gators were led by quarterback Jimmy Dunn, defensive back Don Fleming, halfback and punter Bobby Joe Green and All-American tackle Vel Heckman.

Schedule and results[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 20 Tulane Florida FieldGainesville, Florida W 34–14  
September 27 No. 11 Mississippi State No. 18 Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida L 7–14  
October 10 UCLA* Los Angeles ColiseumLos Angeles, California W 21–14  
October 18 Vanderbilt No. 18 Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida (HC) T 6–6  
October 25 No. 3 LSU Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, Louisiana L 7–10   62,000
November 1 No. 4 Auburn Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida L 5–6  
November 8 Georgia No. 19 Gator Bowl StadiumJacksonville, Florida W 7–6  
November 15 Arkansas State* No. 18 Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida W 51–7  
November 22 Florida State* No. 12 Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida W 21–7   43,000
November 29 Miami* No. 14 Gator Bowl Stadium • Jacksonville, Florida W 12–9  
December 27 No. 11 Mississippi* No. 14 Gator Bowl Stadium • Jacksonville, Fla. (Gator Bowl) L 3–7  
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game.

Primary source: 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide.[1]

Game notes[edit]

Tulane[edit]

The season opened with a 34–14 conference wins over the Tulane Green Wave

Mississippi State[edit]

The first disappointment of the season came in the second week, when the Gators lost 7–14 to the eleventh-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs.

UCLA[edit]

In the third week of play, Florida had an intersectional victory over the UCLA Bruins 21–14 on the road in Los Angeles, California.

Vanderbilt[edit]

Florida tied Vanderbilt 6–6.

LSU[edit]

Florida–LSU
1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 0 0 0 7 7
#3 LSU 0 7 0 3 10

The Gators lost to the eventual consensus national champion LSU Tigers at the latter's homecoming. The Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak to the Gators with a 10–7 defensive struggle that came down to the last three minutes of play.[5] The game featured one of the strongest rushing teams in the nation against one of the league's best run defenses. The Tigers, led by halfbacks Billy Cannon and Johnny Robinson, averaged 220 yards rushing per game. The Gators had held their previous opponents to an average of 65 yards rushing per game. LSU was favored by two touchdowns.[3] Bill Kastelz, the sports editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union, wrote that Heckman's play reached All-American levels against No. 3-ranked LSU on October 25, 1958.[6]

Auburn[edit]

In a 5–6 loss to fourth-ranked Auburn, an injury to a Florida tackles led Woodruff to employ the unorthodox strategy of shifting Heckman between right and left tackle.[7] Bill Kastelz, the sports editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union, wrote: "Big, fast and tough, he outshone all of Auburn's great linemen."[8] According to Auburn coach Shug Jordan, "There should be a law to prevent things like that. We were supposed to run plays where Heckman wasn't, and he's there now."[9]

Coach Bob Woodruff's Gators and coach Shug Jordan's Tigers played nine games against each other between 1951 and 1959, only three of which were decided by more than ten points. However, none was closer than the game between the unranked Gators and the defending national champions and fourth-ranked Tigers in 1958, a game in which neither team scored more than six points.[10] Late in the fourth quarter, with the Tigers leading 6–3 on the strength of a single touchdown and a missed extra point, the stingy Gators defense pinned the Tigers offense behind their own three-yard-line.[11] Rather than risk a turnover, Jordan ordered Tigers quarterback Johnny Kern to kneel in their own end zone, intentionally scoring a safety for the Gators, but earning a free punt for the Tigers.[11] The Tigers kicked it away, and their defense held on to win 6–5.[12]

Georgia[edit]

The Gators beat the rival Georgia Bulldogs 7–6.

Arkansas State[edit]

Florida beat Arkansas State 51–7.

Florida State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida State 7 0 0 0 7
Florida 7 14 0 0 21

The Gators had a 21–7, first-time victory over the new in-state rival Florida State Seminoles [13][14]

Miami[edit]

The season included a 12–9 upset of the Miami Hurricanes.

Postseason[edit]

The Gators capped the year with a season-ending 3–7 loss to the eleventh-ranked Ole Miss Rebels in a defensive struggle in the December 1958 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 107 (2015). Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  2. ^ Golenbock, Go Gators!, p. 109
  3. ^ a b Mercer, Bailey (October 25, 1958). "Eyes of SEC Focused on Tonight's Tigertown Tilt". The Times-Picayune. p. 17. 
  4. ^ Martinez, Harry (October 26, 1958). "LSU 10-7 Winners - Davis' Boot is Difference". The Times-Picayune. pp. 1, 4. 
  5. ^ "2001 LSU Football Media Guide" (PDF). LSUsports.net. LSU Publications Office. Retrieved February 6, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Florida Tackle Heckman Among All-America Candidates". St. Petersburg Times. November 7, 1958. p. 5C. 
  7. ^ "Heckman Lauded for Great Play". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. November 3, 1958. p. 10. 
  8. ^ "Florida Tackle Heckman Among All-America Candidates". St. Petersburg Times. November 7, 1958. p. 5C. 
  9. ^ "Heckman Best Florida Lineman Since Barrow". The Miami News. November 25, 1958. p. 4D. 
  10. ^ 2011 Auburn Tigers Football Media Guide, Auburn Athletics Department, Auburn, Alabama, pp. 178−189, 191 (2011). Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Tom McEwen, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974).
  12. ^ Norris Anderson, "Auburn Holds Desperately, Turns Back Florida 6 To 5," The Miami News, pp. 1C & 5C (November 2, 1958). Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  13. ^ NoleFan.org
  14. ^ "FSU Played Well But Gators Played Better Says Nugent." Ocala Star-Banner. 1958 Nov 23.
  • Golenbock, Peter (2002). Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory. St. Petersburg, Florida: Legends Publishing, LLC. ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.