2001 Florida Gators football team

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2001 Florida Gators football
Florida Gators script logo.svg
Orange Bowl champion
Orange Bowl, W 56–23 vs. Maryland
Conference Southeastern Conference
Division Eastern Division
Ranking
Coaches No. 3
AP No. 3
2001 record 10–2 (6–2 SEC)
Head coach Steve Spurrier
Defensive coordinator Jon Hoke
Captain
Home stadium Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Seasons
« 2000 2002 »
2001 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
#4 Tennessee x   7 1         11 2  
#3 Florida  %   6 2         10 2  
#13 South Carolina   5 3         9 3  
#22 Georgia   5 3         8 4  
Kentucky   1 7         2 9  
Vanderbilt   0 8         2 9  
Western Division
#7 LSU xy$   5 3         10 3  
Auburn x   5 3         7 5  
Ole Miss   4 4         7 4  
Alabama   4 4         7 5  
Arkansas   4 4         7 5  
Mississippi State   2 6         3 8  
Championship: LSU 31, Tennessee 20
  • $ – BCS representative as conference champion
  • % – BCS at-large representative
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

The 2001 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida in the sport of American football during the 2001 college football season. The Gators competed in Division I-A of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), playing their home games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the university's Gainesville, Florida campus.

They were coached by Steve Spurrier, who posted an overall win-loss record of 10–2 (.833) for his twelfth and final season before departing to the National Football League (NFL). Spurrier led the Gators to a 56–23 Orange Bowl victory over the Maryland Terrapins in his final game.

Sophomore quarterback Rex Grossman threw for over 4,000 yards and was Heisman Trophy runner-up. Grossman, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and defensive end Alex Brown were consensus All-Americans. Brown's 33 sacks is still a school record for a career.[1]

Before the season[edit]

The Gators were ranked preseason No. 1.[2]

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 1 7:15 p. m. Marshall* No. 1 Ben Hill Griffin StadiumGainesville, Florida ESPN2 W 49–14   85,445
September 8 6:00 p. m. Louisiana–Monroe* No. 2 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida PPV W 55–6   85,011
September 22 12:30 p. m. Kentucky No. 2 Commonwealth StadiumLexington, Kentucky JPS W 44–10   66,126
September 29 3:30 p. m. No. 21 Mississippi State No. 2 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida CBS W 52–0   85,579
October 6 2:30 p. m. No. 18 Louisiana State No. 2 Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, Louisiana CBS W 44–15   92,010
October 13 6:45 p. m. Auburn No. 1 Jordan–Hare StadiumAuburn, AL ESPN L 20–23   86,063
October 27 3:30 p. m. No. 15 Georgia No. 6 Alltel StadiumJacksonville, Florida CBS W 24–10   84,401
November 3 12:30 p. m. Vanderbilt No. 4 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida (HC) JPS W 71–13   85,052
November 10 7:45 p. m. No. 14 South Carolina No. 4 Williams-Brice StadiumColumbia, South Carolina ESPN W 54–17   84,900
November 17 8:00 p. m. No. 20 Florida State* No. 4 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida CBS W 37–13   85,732
December 1 4:30 p. m. No. 5 Tennessee No. 2 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium • Gainesville, Florida CBS L 32–34   85,771
January 2, 2002 8:00 p. m. No. 6 Maryland* No. 5 Pro Player StadiumMiami Gardens, Florida (Orange Bowl) ABC W 56–23   73,640
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game.

Sources: 2012 Florida Football Media Guide,[1] and GatorZone.com.[3]

September 11 impact The annual rivalry game with Tennessee scheduled for September 15, was rescheduled to the final week of the regular season as a result of the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Season summary[edit]

Alex Brown while on the Bears.

Marshall[edit]

Marshall at Florida
1 2 3 4 Total
Marshall 0 0 6 8 14
Florida 21 14 0 14 49

The season opened at night in the Swamp on September 1 with a 49–14 triumph over quarterback Byron Leftwich and the Marshall Thundering Herd.[4]

Rex Grossman had a career-high in passing yards by halftime, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by Taylor Jacobs.[5]

The defense also played well as Alex Brown and linebacker Andra Davis had two sacks each.[5]

Louisiana-Monroe[edit]

Louisiana-Monroe at Florida
1 2 3 4 Total
La.-Monroe 6 0 0 0 6
Florida 7 31 14 3 55

In the second week of play, the Gators overwhelmed the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 55–6.[6] Grossman passed for 331 yards and three touchdowns, including two thrown to Jabar Gaffney.[7]

Grossman fumbled the game's first exchange from center, and Louisiana-Monroe capitalized on the opportunity when it scored the game's first touchdown.[7] "It was just an awkward start." said Grossman.[7]

As usual, the Gators and Tennessee Volunteers were slated to meet on the 3rd Saturday of September. However, the SEC canceled all games on the weekend following the September 11 attacks, and all contests were rescheduled for December 1, 2001, requiring the SEC Championship Game to be pushed back a week as well.

Rex Grossman with the Redskins.

Kentucky[edit]

Florida at Kentucky
1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 7 9 14 14 44
Kentucky 0 3 7 0 10
  • Date: September 22
  • Location: Commonwealth Stadium
  • Game start: 12:30 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 66,126
  • Television network: JP

Florida traveled to Lexington and beat the Kentucky Wildcats 44–10.[8] Grossman passed for 302 yards and four touchdowns.[9]

The Gators struggled early and led just 16–3 at the half, but eventually thrashed the Wildcats with four touchdowns in the second half.[10]

After Kentucky made a touchdown, Earnest Graham sprung lose for a 50-yard touchdown run in the third period to go up 30–10.[10]

Mississippi State[edit]

Mississippi State at Florida
1 2 3 4 Total
Miss St 0 0 0 0 0
Florida 21 14 7 10 52

The following week, Florida avenged last year's loss to the 21st-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs by shutting them out 52–0.[11] Grossman had 317 yards passing in just the first half.[12] The Gators had 640 yards of total offense on the day, the most in school history for an SEC game.[12]

Grossman passed for 393 yards and five touchdowns in total,[13] becoming the first Florida quarterback to throw for 300 yards in four straight games.[14]

Andra Davis, who missed last year's game, excelled on the defensive side of the ball from his linebacker position with eight tackles and a fumble recovery.[14]

LSU[edit]

Florida at LSU
1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 21 6 3 14 44
LSU 3 6 0 6 15
  • Date: October 6
  • Location: Tiger Stadium
  • Game start: 2:30 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 92,010
  • Television network: CBS

In Baton Rouge, the Gators defeated the eighteenth-ranked LSU Tigers 44–15.[15] Grossman threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns in just the first half, and by game's end had a school-record 464 yards.[16]

Florida finished with 632 yards of total offense.[16] LSU quarterback Rohan Davey left the game with a hyperextended knee.[16]

"I thought he was a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy before we played them," said LSU coach Nick Saban, "Now I'm convinced of it."[16] "I think he is a tremendous quarterback" echoed LSU safety Ryan Clark.[16]

Auburn[edit]

Florida at Auburn
1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 3 3 7 7 20
Auburn 3 7 0 13 23
  • Date: October 13
  • Location: Jordan–Hare Stadium
  • Game start: 6:45 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 86,063
  • Television network: ESPN

Coach Tommy Tuberville's unranked Auburn Tigers upset the top-ranked Gators 23–20. The Tigers were 21-point underdogs when they met the Gators at Jordan–Hare Stadium.[17]

Gators quarterback Rex Grossman completed twenty-five of forty-two passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions.[18] The Gators dominated statistically, but the Tigers' bend-but-don't-break defense held the Gators rushing game to negative yardage.[17]

Tigers back-up quarterback Daniel Cobb was not so flashy, but played mistake-free football, and the game was tied at 20 late in the fourth quarter.[17] With 10 seconds left, Tigers placekicker Damon Duval nailed a 44-yard field goal and the Tigers upset the Gators.[17][19]

Georgia[edit]

Florida–Georgia
1 2 3 4 Total
Georgia 3 7 0 0 10
Florida 10 7 0 7 24
  • Date: October 27
  • Location: ALLTEL Stadium
  • Game start: 3:30 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 84,401
  • Television network: CBS

Florida defeated Georgia 24–10 in the annual rivalry game,[20] overcoming four turnovers and twelve penalties.[21] Grossman passed for 407 yards.[21] Earnest Graham rushed for 131 yards.[21]

The Bulldogs missed a field goal and failed to convert three fourth downs in the second half.[21] The lone score of the second half was a 30-yard touchdown pass to Reche Caldwell. Florida moved into a first-place tie with Tennessee.[21]

Vanderbilt[edit]

Vanderbilt at Florida
1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 13 13
Florida 24 13 28 6 71

At homecoming, Florida crushed the Vanderbilt Commodores 71–13.[22] The Gators never punted, and forced five turnovers.[23] They were up 71–0 in the fourth quarter and still tossing passes, amassing 571 total yards in all.[24] Eleven Gators got receptions, and Taylor Jacobs had a breakout game.[23]

Playing just in the first half, Grossman threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns.[23] Backup quarterback Brock Berlin threw three more in the second.[24]

South Carolina[edit]

Florida at South Carolina
1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 10 17 13 14 54
S. Carolina 10 0 0 7 17

In Columbia, the Gators routed the fourteenth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks 54–17.[25] The game started shaky for the Gators as Lito Sheppard fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to an easy Gamecock score.[26] A touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney late in the first quarter started the scoring barrage.[27]

Grossman had his ninth-consecutive 300-yard passing game,[28] and exceeded 5,000 yards passing for his career.[26]

Florida State[edit]

Florida State at Florida
1 2 3 4 Total
FSU 0 3 3 7 13
Florida 7 13 7 10 37

Florida easily defeated the rival Florida State Seminoles 37–13.[29] However, the Gators' starting running back Earnest Graham had been controversially injured in Florida's win and was unable the next week to play against Tennessee.[30]

Graham and coach Spurrier accused Darnell Dockett of deliberately twisting Graham's knee, as well as stomping on Grossman's hand.[31][32] Graham even considered a lawsuit.[33] Dockett denied these charges.[34][35]

Tennessee[edit]

Tennessee at Florida
1 2 3 4 Total
Tennessee 14 0 7 13 34
Florida 0 20 3 9 32

As the season progressed, the postponed game with Tennessee took on greater and greater importance. Each squad suffered only one close loss and entered the contest with Tennessee ranked No. 6 and Florida ranked No. 2. The winner was to represent the SEC East and face LSU in the SEC Championship. With a win in that game, the Gators or Vols were likely to receive an invitation to the Rose Bowl to face the undefeated Miami Hurricanes with a national title on the line.[36] Despite the teams' identical records and much to the chagrin of the Vols, the Gators were 17-and-a-half point favorites at kickoff.[37]

External video
Tennessee game, YouTube video.

The Volunteers went on to dash the Gators' national title hopes with a 34–32 upset, ending a 30-year winless drought against Florida in Gainesville.[38][39] The star of the game was Volunteer running back Travis Stephens, who rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to lead the Vols' attack. Without Graham, Florida managed only 36 total yards on the ground. Gator quarterback Rex Grossman threw 51 times for 362 yards and two touchdowns, but his pass on a potentially game-tying two-point conversion attempt with just over a minute left in the 4th quarter fell incomplete.[n 1]

Postseason[edit]

Maryland[edit]

Orange Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
Florida 14 14 21 7 56
Maryland 7 3 0 13 23
  • Date: January 2
  • Location: Pro Player Stadium
  • Game start: 8:00 p.m. EST
  • Game attendance: 73,640
  • Referee: James Sprenger
  • Television network: ABC

Florida was invited to the Orange Bowl, where they beat Maryland 56–23.[41][42]

Awards and honors[edit]

Grossman was the Heisman Trophy runner-up to Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch,[43] in one of the trophy's closest ballots.[44][45] Many feel Grossman should have won.[46]

Both Crouch and Grossman made AP All-American.[47]

Spurrier's resignation[edit]

In early January, Steve Spurrier said that he was resigning as Florida's head coach after 12 seasons.[48]

Personnel[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

  • Steve Spurrier – Head Coach
  • Jim Collins – Special Teams Coordinator, Outside Linebackers, Recruiting Coordinator
  • Dwayne Dixon – Wide Receivers
  • Jon Hoke – Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator, Secondary
  • Lawson Holland – Running Backs
  • Ricky Hunley – Defensive Line
  • John Hunt – Offensive Tackles
  • Jerry Odom – Inside Linebackers
  • Jimmy Ray Stephens – Offensive Line, Run Game Coordinator
  • Buddy Teevens – Assistant Offensive Coordinator, Tight Ends
  • Rob Glass – Director of Strength and Conditioning

Statistics[edit]

  • QB Rex Grossman: 279/423 (66.0%) for 4,144 yards (9.80 YPA) with 38 TD vs. 12 INT (2.84%)
  • QB Brock Berlin: 47/79 (59.5%) for 679 yards (8.59 YPA) with 10 TD vs. 3 INT (3.80%)
  • RB Earnest Graham: 141 carries for 799 yards (5.67 YPC) with 11 TD. 12 catches for 129 yards (10.75 YPC) with 0 TD.
  • RB Robert Gillespie: 98 carries for 458 yards (4.67 YPC) with 2 TD. 45 catches for 474 yards (10.53 YPC) with 2 TD.
  • WR Jabar Gaffney: 74 catches for 1,309 yards (17.69 YPC) with 15 TD.
  • WR Reche Caldwell: 69 catches for 1,106 yards (16.03 YPC) with 10 TD.
  • WR Taylor Jacobs: 48 catches for 882 yards (18.38 YPC) with 9 TD.
  • K Jeff Chandler: 19 FGM and 54 XPM.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ultimately, neither team would win any championships that season. UT was upset by LSU in the SEC Championship Game the following Saturday and missed their opportunity to play for a second national title in four years. The Vols ended up beating Michigan 45–17 in the Citrus Bowl.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 113 & 116 (2012). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  2. ^ http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/news/2001/poll010730.pdf
  3. ^ GatorZone.com, Football, History, Florida Football 2001. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  4. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  5. ^ a b PELLS, EDDIE. "Grossman, Gators reject Marshall plan - StAugustine.com". 
  6. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  7. ^ a b c "La-Monroe Falls To Florida, 55-6". 
  8. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  9. ^ BAILEY, STEVE. "No. 22 Florida 44, Kentucky 10 - StAugustine.com". 
  10. ^ a b "Florida 44, Kentucky 10". 
  11. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  12. ^ a b "Football Shuts out #21 Mississippi State 52-0". 
  13. ^ "NCAA Football - Mississippi State vs. Florida". 
  14. ^ a b "Jacksonville.com: No. 2 Florida 52, No. 21 Mississippi St 0 9/29/01". 
  15. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  16. ^ a b c d e FOSTER, MARY. "Grossman breaks records, LSU - StAugustine.com". 
  17. ^ a b c d Associated Press, "Auburn stuns No. 1 Florida," The Toledo Blade, p. C4 (October 14, 2001). Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  18. ^ Associated Press, "Auburn stuns top-ranked Florida," The Register-Guard, p. 8G (October 14, 2001). Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  19. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  20. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  21. ^ a b c d e "NCAA Football - Georgia vs. Florida". 
  22. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  23. ^ a b c "Fun While It Lasted". 
  24. ^ a b "NCAA Football - Vanderbilt vs. Florida". 
  25. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  26. ^ a b Dooley, Robbie Andreu/Pat. "No. 85 - FLORIDA 54, SOUTH CAROLINA 17
    Nov. 10, 2001"
    .
     
  27. ^ IACOBELLI, PETE. "Gators smack South Carolina - StAugustine.com". 
  28. ^ Press, From Associated (11 November 2001). "Florida Routs South Carolina" – via LA Times. 
  29. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  30. ^ Robbie Andreu (November 19, 2001). "Gators Graham:Hurt on Purpose?". Lakeland Ledger. p. 1C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  31. ^ "Dockett Denies Injury Charge". 
  32. ^ "Spurrier Rolls Tape On Graham's Injury". 
  33. ^ DiRocco, Michael. "UF's Graham may sue FSU's Dockett - Jacksonville.com". 
  34. ^ "Dockett Denies Injury Accusations". 
  35. ^ "Darnell Dockett says 'get over' 2001 Earnest Graham incident". 
  36. ^ Lapointe, Joe (2001-12-02). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; For the National Title, It Will Be Miami Against Somebody". The New York Times. 
  37. ^ "Vols offended at being labeled underdogs". Portsmouth Daily Times. December 1, 2001. p. B3 – via Google News Archive Search. 
  38. ^ "NCAA Football - Tennessee vs. Florida". 
  39. ^ "Gators Fall to Vols". Boca Raton News. December 2, 2001. p. 45 – via Google News Archive Search. 
  40. ^ Rex Hoggard (January 2, 2002). "Out of their league". Toledo Blade. p. 1C – via Google News Archive Search. 
  41. ^ "NCAA Football – Florida vs. Maryland". USA Today. 
  42. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  43. ^ "2001 Heisman Trophy Voting - College Football at Sports-Reference.com". 
  44. ^ Nolan, Lt Philip (16 July 2012). "Heisman Trophy Snubs: The 2001 Dorsey/Grossman/Crouch Debate". 
  45. ^ Hutchins, Andy (21 July 2012). "How Two Plays Lost Rex Grossman The 2001 Heisman Trophy". 
  46. ^ Wunderlich, David (1 March 2016). "The 2001 Florida Gators Are a Great What-If Team". 
  47. ^ Press, Associated. "Crouch, Grossman top 2001 AP All-America team - chronicle.augusta.com". 
  48. ^ "Spurrier quits as UF coach - Lubbock Online - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal". 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 2009 Southeastern Conference Football Media Guide, Florida Year-by-Year Records, Southeastern Conference, Birmingham, Alabama, p. 60 (2009).
  • 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 107–116 (2012).
  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.

External links[edit]