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November 15, 2013
Florida's brightest offensive moments under Spurrier
Florida (4-5, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) is en route to its third consecutive season as one of the 20-worst offenses in FBS, or each year of defensive-minded Will Muschamp's tenure as coach. With a meeting looming against No. 12 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 SEC) and former Florida coach Steve Spurrier Saturday, we take a look at five of the most impressive offensive performances from Spurrier's time in charge of the Gators.
-- SEPT. 8, 1990: FLORIDA 50, OKLAHOMA STATE 7 --
You always remember your, well, you know. The Steve Spurrier era got off to a bang in front of a packed Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on a hot Gainesville afternoon. The Gators entered the 1990 season-opener unranked. By Sunday afternoon, they were ranked No. 24. The next time they would go into a game unranked? Oct. 19, 2002, in Ron Zook's first season as Florida's coach. In many ways, it was a precursor to the general theme of Spurrier's teams - explosive through the air with an underrated run game.
The Gators scored four of their five offensive touchdowns on the ground, all from less than 10 yards out. Shane Matthews connected 51-yard touchdown bomb following a blocked Oklahoma State field goal attempt. The Cowboys were hardly the toughest team the Gators would face in 1990. They finished 4-7. But the next generation of Florida football had been established.
-- SEPT. 16, 1995: No. 4 FLORIDA 62, No. 8 TENNESSEE 37 --
A 30-14 deficit late in the first half was no problem at all for Danny Wuerffel and his offensive teammates. The Gators didn't flinch behind by 16. They simply turned the rest of the game into one of the most memorable runs in Florida history. Florida scored the game's next 48 points. Wuerffel was 29 of 39 for 281 yards, and four of Ike Hilliard's nine catches were for touchdowns. Oh, and Terry Jackson added 119 yards on the ground.
"I felt we could score every time we got it, and we came awfully close," Spurrier said after the game. The Gators averaged nearly eight yards per play, and the 62 points were the most tallied against the Volunteers in 102 years.
-- OCT. 28, 1995: No. 3 FLORIDA 52, GEORGIA 17 --
Because of renovations to the Gator Bowl, the 1995 Florida-Georgia game was held in Athens, Ga., for the first time since 1932. It wasn't a pleasant homecoming for the Bulldogs. Wuerffel was in control of the game from the start and compiled 242 passing yards and five touchdowns in less than three quarters. But the resonating story of the game happened after Wuerffel was pulled.
Georgia had never allowed 50 or more points to an opponent at Sanford Stadium. That's a fun fact the Bulldogs probably wish Spurrier had not have been told. The Gators happily added salt to the wound in front of Georgia's home fans by ending that streak. With Eric Kresser at quarterback, Florida scored a touchdown with 1:10 remaining in the game. "We wanted to score 50 because it had never been done," Spurrier said after the game. "Isn't that what you're supposed to do?" In three years, Muschamp-coached teams have scored a combined 49 points against Georgia.
-- JAN. 2, 1997: No. 3 FLORIDA 52, No. 1 FLORIDA STATE 20 --
No game during Spurrier's 12 years in Gainesville is more monumental than Florida's first national championship, which just happened to come in an unlikely rematch against its biggest rival in New Orleans, La. Coming off a Heisman Trophy victory, Wuerffel once again led a complete Florida offense to a dominating performance. Wuerffel finished 18 of 34 for 306 yards and three touchdowns.
Florida was equally effective in the run game. Jackson and Fred Taylor combined for 30 carries, 178 yards and three touchdowns. It was the second game in which Spurrier heavily utilized the shotgun formation after Florida State hit Wuerffel 21 times in the November meeting the two teams. Hilliard caught seven passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns, while Jacquez Green and Reidel Anthony combined for nine catches and 129 yards. Wuerffel was named MVP.
-- NOV. 10, 2001: No. 3 FLORIDA 54, No. 15 SOUTH CAROLINA 17 --
The game was hyped as South Carolina's biggest home game, and fans responded by packing Williams-Brice Stadium and wearing all black. As the old one-liner tells it, turns out they were dressed for a funeral. Rex Grossman threw for 302 yards and reeled off three touchdown passes, two to wide receiver Jabar Gaffney. Florida's offense never allowed its punter to step on the field. It was Grossman's ninth consecutive 300-yard game through the air, and he surpassed 5,000 career passing yards that night.
"I feel terrible for the fans that showed up with all the excitement," South Carolina coach Lou Holtz said. "We just got beat by a far superior team. Give them credit." Par for the course during Florida's big-time offensive days, Grossman wasn't the only quarterback to score for the Gators. Brock Berlin saw action in mop-up time and completed a 10-yard touchdown pass with 2:28 remaining in the game.
-- HONORABLE MENTION --
Sept. 10, 1994: No. 2 Florida 73, Kentucky 7 -- The Wildcats have long been the whipping boys of the Gators, but never has it been worse than 1994.
Oct. 12, 1996: No. 1 Florida 56, No. 10 LSU 13 -- Gators out-gained the Tigers 308-28 on the ground and finished with 635 yards of total offense.
Sept. 6, 1997: No. 2 Florida 82, Central Michigan 6 -- Regardless of competition, 82 points and 708 yards of total offense is never something to roll your eyes at.
-- OTHER OFFENSIVE EXPLOSIONS --
1990 59-0 over Akron
1990 48-7 over Auburn
1990 47-15 over Kentucky
1991 59-21 over San Jose St.
1991 41-10 over Northern Illinois
1991 45-13 over Georgia
1993 58-3 over LSU
1993 52-0 over Vanderbilt
1993 41-7 over WVU
1994 70-21 over New Mexico State
1994 52-14 over Georgia
1994 55-17 over Southern Miss
1994 48-17 over South Carolina
1995 58-20 over Northern Illinois
1995 63-7 over South Carolina
1996 62-14 over Georgia Southern
1996 65-0 over Kentucky
1996 51-10 over Auburn
1996 47-7 over Georgia
1996 52-25 over South Carolina
1997 56-7 over Arkansas
1998 49-10 over The Citadel
1998 42-10 over Northeast Louisiana
1999 55-26 over Western Michigan
1999 58-27 over Central Florida
2000 55-0 over Middle Tennessee State
2000 59-31 over Kentucky
2000 41-9 over LSU
2001 49-14 over Marshall
2001 55-6 over Louisiana Monroe
2001 52-0 over Mississippi State
2001 71-13 over Vanderbilt
2001 56-23 over Maryland