1969 Florida Gators football team
|1969 Florida Gators football|
|1969 record||9–1–1 (3–1–1 SEC)|
|Head coach||Ray Graves (10th season)|
|Offensive coordinator||Fred Pancoast (1st season)|
|Defensive coordinator||Gene Ellenson (5th season)|
|Home stadium||Florida Field|
|1969 SEC football standings|
|No. 15 Tennessee $||5||–||1||–||0||9||–||2||–||0|
|No. 10 LSU||4||–||1||–||0||9||–||1||–||0|
|No. 20 Auburn||5||–||2||–||0||8||–||3||–||0|
|No. 14 Florida||3||–||1||–||1||9||–||1||–||1|
|No. 8 Ole Miss||4||–||2||–||0||8||–||3||–||0|
The 1969 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1969 college football season. The season was the tenth, last, and arguably most successful season for Ray Graves as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. Graves' 1969 Florida Gators finished their regular season with an overall record of 8–1–1 and an SEC record of 3–1–1, placing fourth among the ten SEC teams.
Graves' final Gators squad was led by a surprising group of second-year offensive players known as the "Super Sophs", that included quarterback John Reaves, wide receiver Carlos Alvarez and tailback Tommy Durrance.
Before the season
|September 20||No. 7 Houston*||Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida||W 59–34|
|September 27||Mississippi State||No. 12||Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium • Jackson, Mississippi||W 47–35|
|October 4||Florida State*||No. 12||Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida||W 21–6||63,957|
|October 11||2:00 p. m.||Tulane*||No. 12||Tampa Stadium • Tampa, Florida||W 18–17||49,102|
|October 18||North Carolina*||No. 10||Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida||W 52–2|
|October 25||Vanderbilt||No. 10||Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida||W 41–20|
|November 1||No. 17 Auburn||No. 7||Cliff Hare Stadium • Auburn, Alabama||L 12–38||50,086|
|November 8||No. 16 Georgia||No. 13||Gator Bowl Stadium • Jacksonville, Florida||ABC||T 13–13||70,862|
|November 15||Kentucky||Florida Field • Gainesville, Florida||W 31–6|
|November 29||Miami (FL)*||Miami Orange Bowl • Miami||W 35–16|
|December 27||No. 11 Tennessee*||No. 15||Gator Bowl Stadium • Jacksonville, Florida (Gator Bowl)||NBC||W 14–13||72,248|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game.|
Primary source: 2016 Florida Gators Football Media Guide
In the opening game against the seventh-ranked Houston Cougars, the unranked Gators debuted a new passing offense which set the tone of success for the rest of the season and upset the Cougars 59–34. Carlos Alvarez had 6 catches and 182 yards receiving.
The Gators won the matchup over Florida State 21–6 on the back of a defensive surge that was unparalleled in Gator history. The Gators defense, led by junior defensive lineman Jack Youngblood, and sophomore defensive lineman Robert Harrell, sacked FSU quarterback Bill Cappleman eleven times for 91 yards leaving FSU with a total of negative 18 yards rushing in the game. Youngblood had been shifted to defensive end, with Harrell at tackle. Harrell earned National Defensive Lineman of The Week honors.
In addition to the pass rush, the FSU offense fumbled the ball eight times, losing five. Two other Gator Sophomores starred in the game as well, All-American wide out Carlos Alvarez and quarterback John Reaves. Alvarez had seven catches for 134 yards.
On "Super Saturday" in Tampa, the Gators came from behind and went for two to beat winless Tulane by a 18–17 score. Alvarez had 11 catches for 146 yards. "It was a damn poor victory, but it tasted a lost better than a defeat would have" wrote Jack Hairston.
In a strange twist, the Gators were invited to play coach Doug Dickey's SEC champion Tennessee Volunteers in the December 1969 Gator Bowl. In a game dominated by a Gators defense led by linebacker Mike Kelley (the game's MVP), defensive back Steve Tannen and defensive end Jack Youngblood, the Gators upset the Volunteers 14–13 to cap their 9–1–1 season—the Gators' best ever single-season record to that time. After the Gator Bowl, Ray Graves resigned as the head coach of the Gators football team, but continued as the athletic director of the Florida Gators sports program until 1979.
|1969 Gator Bowl, YouTube video.|
During the 1960s, Graves compiled an overall record of 70–31–4 (.686) during the decade, making Graves the winningest coach in the history of the Gators football program until that time.
- 2016 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 110–111 (2015). Retrieved August 14, 2015.
- Buddy Martin (December 18, 1969). "Mac Steen: HeIs Gators Answer To jerry Kramer". Ocala Star-Banner.
- "Florida State Football - 1969 Year In Review".
- "Great Teams and Eras: The Super Sophs".
- "Florida, Tulane Clash in Tampa". Sarasota Journal. October 10, 1969. p. 30.
- "What Writers Said About Gators". Ocala Star-Banner. October 12, 1969. p. 2D.
- Nash, The Gainesville Sun Presents, pp. 73–76.