1993 Florida Gators football team

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1993 Florida Gators football
SEC champion
SEC Eastern Division champion
Conference Southeastern Conference
Division Eastern Division
Ranking
Coaches No. 4
AP No. 5
1993 record 11–2 (7–1 1st SEC)
Head coach Steve Spurrier
Defensive coordinator Ron Zook
Captain William Gaines
Harrison Houston
Errict Rhett
Ed Robinson
Home stadium Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Seasons
« 1992 1994 »
1993 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Eastern Division
#5 Florida x$ 7 1 0     11 2 0
#12 Tennessee 6 1 1     9 2 1
Kentucky 4 4 0     6 6 0
South Carolina 2 6 0     4 7 0
Georgia 2 6 0     5 6 0
Vanderbilt 1 7 0     4 7 0
Western Division
#4 Auburn 8 0 0     11 0 0
#14 Alabama x 5 2 1     9 3 1
Arkansas 3 4 1     5 5 1
LSU 3 5 0     5 6 0
Ole Miss 3 5 0     5 6 0
Mississippi State 2 5 1     3 6 2
Championship: Florida 28, Alabama 13
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • Auburn had the best division record, but did not participate in postseason play due to NCAA probation. Alabama later forfeited all 1993 regular season wins and one tie due to NCAA violations.
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1993 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1993 college football season. The season was the fourth for Steve Spurrier as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. The Gators compiled a 10–2 overall record.

The Gators used coach Spurrier's pass-heavy "fun 'n gun" offense".[1] Although the Gators fell short of their hopes for a national championship, the 1993 season marked the first time that they were ranked in the top ten of the Associated Press Poll during every week of the season, and they were ranked fifth in the final AP Poll, following their 41–7 Sugar Bowl victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers.[2]

Before the season[edit]

The players' and fans' preseason expectations for the Gators' fourth season under Spurrier were high, and some commentators began to speak openly about the possibility of the Gators making a run for the national title.[citation needed]

Schedule and results[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 4 Arkansas State* No. 8 Ben Hill Griffin StadiumGainesville, Florida W 44–6   84,051
September 11 Kentucky No. 7 Commonwealth StadiumLexington, Kentucky PPV W 24–20   58,175
September 18 No. 5 Tennessee No. 9 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida ABC W 41–34   85,247
October 2 Mississippi State No. 5 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida JPS W 38–24   84,738
October 9 Louisiana State No. 5 Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, Louisiana ESPN W 58–3   60,060
October 16 No. 19 Auburn No. 4 Jordan-Hare StadiumAuburn, AL L 35–38   85,284
October 30 Georgia No. 10 Gator BowlJacksonville, Florida ABC W 33–26   80,392
November 6 Southwestern Louisiana* No. 9 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida (HC) W 61–14   83,711
November 13 South Carolina No. 8 Williams-Brice StadiumColumbia, South Carolina JPS W 37–26   70,188
November 20 Vanderbilt No. 8 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida JPS W 52–0   83,818
November 27 No. 1 Florida State* No. 7 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida ABC L 21–33   85,507
December 4 No. 17 Alabama No. 9 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL (SEC Championship) ABC W 28–13   76,345
January 1, 1994 No. 3 West Virginia* No. 8 SuperdomeNew Orleans (Sugar Bowl) ABC W 41–7   75,437
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game.

Primary source: 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide.[2]

Game notes[edit]

Arkansas State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Arkansas St. 6 0 0 0 6
Florida 3 21 13 7 44
  • Date: September 4
  • Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
  • Game attendance: 84,051

The season opened in the Swamp with a 44–6 defeat of Arkansas State.[3]

Arkansas State scored first, but Florida responded with 44 unanswered, including a 35-yard touchdown pass from Terry Dean to Jack Jackson.[3]

Kentucky[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 3 6 8 7 24
Kentucky 7 0 10 3 20
  • Date: September 11
  • Location: Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY
  • Game attendance: 58,175

In the second week of play, Florida managed a close 24–20 win over Kentucky. Quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Terry Dean combined to throw a total of seven interceptions.[4]

With eight seconds left, Wuerffel threw a pass down the middle to walk-on receiver Chris Doering for the game-winning touchdown;[5] Gator play-by-play announcer Mick Hubert shouted, "Doering's got a touchdown!"[6][7]

Tennessee[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Tennessee 0 14 6 14 34
Florida 7 14 10 10 41
  • Date: September 18
  • Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
  • Game attendance: 85,247

In a "shootout"[8][8] the Gators defeated the Vols by a single touchdown, 41 to 34.

Heath Shuler completed 25 of 41 passes for 355 yards and five touchdowns; and Danny Wuerffel completed 19 of 38 for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Errict Rhett rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns.[8][9]

A group of Tennessee fans, including coach Phillip Fulmer's wife, complained to the SEC about the behavior of Gators fans. They claim cups of urine were thrown on them during the game.[10]

Mississippi State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Miss. St. 14 0 7 3 24
Florida 7 7 17 7 38
  • Date: October 2
  • Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
  • Game attendance: 84,738

The next week saw a 38–24 win over Mississippi State.[11] Wuerffel and Doering teamed up for three touchdown passes.[11]

Down 21–17, Jack Jackson had a 100-yard kickoff return to put the Gators up 24–21.[11]

LSU[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 10 13 21 14 58
LSU 3 0 0 0 3

In Baton Rouge, Florida scored 58 unanswered to beat the LSU Tigers 58–3. Wuerffel completed 14 passes for 221 yards and four touchdowns.[12]

It was the largest margin of victory over a road opponent under Spurrier[12] and the worst loss in LSU football history.[13]

Auburn[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 10 17 0 8 35
Auburn 7 7 7 17 38
  • Date: October 16
  • Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
  • Game attendance: 85,214

Coach Terry Bowden's undefeated Auburn Tigers upset the Gators 38–35.[14] On a cold, drizzling, dreary day in Auburn, the fourth-ranked Gators amassed 560 yards of total offense, including 386 yards passing by quarterback Danny Wuerffel and 196 yards rushing by tailback Errict Rhett.[14]

But the Gators' offensive fireworks were not enough for the win, as Auburn's defense sacked Wuerffel four times and made two key interceptions.[14] The two teams were tied at 35 with 1:21 left in the game, when Tigers placekicker Scott Etheridge booted a 41-yard field to beat the Gators, 38–35.[14][15] Auburn dropped the Gators to their lowest ranking (10th) of the season.

Georgia[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 13 10 7 3 33
Georgia 3 17 0 6 26

Florida beat rival Georgia 33–26.[16] In constant rain, the usually prolific passing game of coach Steve Spurrier's Gators was stymied.[17] Instead, the Gators relied on tailback Errict Rhett to amass 183 yards and two touchdowns to build a 33–26 fourth-quarter lead.[17]

Led by quarterback Eric Zeier, the Georgia Bulldogs mounted a drive into Florida territory in the final minute and a half.[17] Zeier completed what appeared to be the game-tying touchdown to Jerry Jerman with five seconds remaining in the game.[18]

However, Gators cornerback Anthone Lott had called a timeout just before the ball was snapped, forcing the Bulldogs to play the down again.[18] Lott was called for pass interference on the ensuing play, giving Georgia one last untimed chance to score.[18] Zeier's final pass fell incomplete, and the Gators won a hard-fought, but controversial 33–26 victory.[18][19]

Southwestern Louisiana[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
SW Louisiana 0 7 0 7 14
Florida 14 26 7 14 61
  • Date: November 6
  • Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
  • Game attendance: 83,711

Florida piled up a 61–14 score on the Ragin' Cajuns. Terry Dean burned the Cajun defense for 6 touchdown passes, "one of the most productive halves by a quarterback in UF history."[20]

South Carolina[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 0 20 10 7 37
South Carolina 10 13 3 0 26

In Columbia, the Gators beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 37–26. The Gamecocks jumped out to a 17–0 lead, but the Gators cut the lead to 23–20 by halftime.[21]

Down 26–23, Jack Jackson avoided a safety and ran free for 76 yards. After a roughing the passer penalty, Errict Rhett scored and the Gators never relinquished the lead.[21]

Vanderbilt[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 0 0
Florida 21 10 14 7 52
  • Date: November 20
  • Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
  • Game attendance: 83,818

Florida clinched another SEC east title, shutting out the Vanderbilt Commodores 52–0. The offense sputtered despite the score, but Ron Zook's defense provided the shutout.[22]

Charlie Ward

Florida State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
FSU 7 6 14 6 33
Florida 0 7 0 14 21
  • Date: November 27
  • Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
  • Game attendance: 85,507

Florida also lost to the national champion and rival Florida State Seminoles 33–21. The Florida offense was stymied early, and Dean subbed for Wuerffel by the second half.[23] The Gators never led, although they had cut the score to 27–21 late.

With just under six minutes left and the crowd roaring, the Seminoles faced third down at its 21-yard-line.[23] Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Charlie Ward hit freshman running back Warrick Dunn on a drag route,[24] who turned up the sideline for a 79-yard touchdown and a 33–21 FSU win.[25][26]

Postseason[edit]

SEC Championship Game: Alabama[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 7 7 7 7 28
Alabama 7 3 3 0 13
  • Date: December 4
  • Location: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
  • Game attendance: 76,345

The Gators finished the regular season with a conference record of 7–1, and in first place among the six teams of the SEC Eastern Division, thus earning a berth in the second SEC Championship Game in Birmingham, Alabama. The Gators were paired against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the championship game—a rematch of the 1992 SEC Championship Game.[27]

The Gators defeated the Crimson Tide 28–13, winning their first SEC Championship Game and their second SEC football championship in three seasons.[27]

Sugar Bowl: West Virginia[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 7 14 14 6 41
West Virginia 7 0 0 0 7
  • Date: January 1
  • Location: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA
  • Game attendance: 75,437

The Gators then defeated third-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers 41–7 in the Sugar Bowl, finishing fifth in the AP Poll.[28] After a quick touchdown from Jake Kelchner to Jay Kearney to put West Virginia up 7–0 early, the Gators came right back and answered with a touchdown by Errict Rhett to tie the score at 7.[29]

External video
1994 Sugar Bowl, YouTube video.

It seemed the half would end that way, but just before halftime, Gator defensive back Lawrence Wright picked off an errant pass from West Virginia QB Darren Studstill right on the midfield logo. He first made his way to his right side, but when he ran out of blocking help just inside the WVU 40, he turned around and backtracked, circling back to the 45 before finding some running room, and he sprinted into the end zone from there to cap a 51-yard interception return touchdown. That put Florida up 14–7, and crushed the Mountaineers' competitive spirit, as Florida's defense proceeded to force a quick three and out, which gave Terry Dean time to connect with Jack Jackson for a 39-yard touchdown to make it 21–7 at halftime.[29]

From there, the Gators cruised in the second half. Errict Rhett ran in two more touchdowns and Judd Davis added two insurance field goals in the fourth quarter to make the final score a convincing 41–7.[29]

Postseason[edit]

The 1993 team set a then-record for wins in a season.[30] Halfback Errict Rhett, offensive tackle Reggie Green, and defensive tackle William Gaines were first-team All-SEC. Placekicker Judd Davis won the Lou Groza Award.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steve Spurrier's Fun 'n' Gun brought football evolution to the SEC". 
  2. ^ a b 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 107 (2015). Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Gator QBs impressive in 44-6 win". Ocala Star-Banner. pp. 1C, 5C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  4. ^ "Gators' streak vs. 'Cats filled with close calls". Gatorsports.com. 
  5. ^ "Wuerffel saves UF from upset, 24-20". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 1C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  6. ^ Kassidy Hill. "FlashBack Friday with the Florida Gators: Chris Doering". GatorCountry.com. 
  7. ^ "Gators Dodge 7 Misguided Bullets". 
  8. ^ a b c "Shuler's Advice To Vols: Avoid A Gator Shootout". 
  9. ^ "Florida holds off Tennessee, 41-34". Ocala Star-Banner. pp. 1C, 6C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  10. ^ "Vols-gators: Plots, Subplots". 
  11. ^ a b c Robbie Andreu (October 3, 1993). "Gators pound Bulldogs, 38-24". Ocala Star-Banner. pp. 1C, 9C – via Google News Archive. 
  12. ^ a b Mic Huber. "Explosive Gator attack bombs LSU". Ocala Star-Banner. pp. 1C, 6C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  13. ^ Poseur (26 July 2013). "Biggest Disasters in SEC History: LSU Hires Curley Hallman". 
  14. ^ a b c d Associated Press, "Auburn's Defense Stops Florida When It Counts," The New York Times (October 17, 1993). Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  15. ^ "Tigers hand Gators first loss". Ocala Star-Banner. October 17, 1993. pp. 1C, 8C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  16. ^ Gainesville Sun. 1993 Oct 31.
  17. ^ a b c Robbie Andreu, "Gators reign, 33–26", The Gainesville Sun, pp. 1C & 7C (October 31, 1993). retrieved August 22, 2011.
  18. ^ a b c d Associated Press, "Officials: timeout call was the right one in last Saturday's Florida–Georgia game", Sun Journal, p. 16 (November 2, 1993). Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  19. ^ Jay Stone, "Bad Call May Cost 'Dogs Bowl Berth", Calhoun Times, p. 1B (November 3, 1993). Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  20. ^ "Dean throws 6 TD passes". Ocala Star-Banner. November 7, 1993. pp. 1C, 10C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  21. ^ a b "On the road with the Gators in '99". Gainesville Sun. August 28, 1999. p. 23 – via Google News Archive Search. 
  22. ^ "Defense delivers in 52-0 rout of Vanderbilt". Ocala Star-Banner. November 21, 1993. p. 7C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  23. ^ a b "'Noles freshman gets the job 'Dunn'". Ocala Star-Banner. November 28, 1993. pp. 8C, 9C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  24. ^ "Gators Dunn In By 'Noles". November 28, 1993. 
  25. ^ Stephen F. Holder (July 14, 2011). "Greatest point ever: Warrick Dunn's touchdown sets up Florida State Seminoles' championship berth". 
  26. ^ "The History of FSU Football: 1993 - Fifteen Years Ago". 
  27. ^ a b "Florida whips Bama for SEC title". Ocala Star-Banner. pp. 1C, 5C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  28. ^ "1993 Final Football Polls - College Poll Archive - Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings". 
  29. ^ a b c "1994 Game Recap / Allstate Sugar Bowl". 
  30. ^ "National title Gators' goal". Rome News-Tribune. August 17, 1994. p. 4-B. 
  31. ^ "Previous Winners - PB Sports Commission - Lou Groza".