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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.

2001 Florida Gators football
Florida Gators script logo.svg
Orange Bowl champion
Orange Bowl, W 56–23 vs. Maryland
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
DivisionEastern Division
Ranking
CoachesNo. 3
APNo. 3
2001 record10–2 (6–2 SEC)
Head coachSteve Spurrier (12th season)
Defensive coordinatorJon Hoke (3rd season)
Captain
Home stadiumBen Hill Griffin Stadium
(Capacity: 83,000)[1]
Seasons
← 2000
2002 →
2001 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Eastern Division
No. 4 Tennessee x   7 1         11 2  
No. 3 Florida %   6 2         10 2  
No. 13 South Carolina   5 3         9 3  
No. 22 Georgia   5 3         8 4  
Kentucky   1 7         2 9  
Vanderbilt   0 8         2 9  
Western Division
No. 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

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.[2]

Before the seasonEdit

The Gators were ranked preseason No. 1.[3]

ScheduleEdit

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
September 17:15 p.m.Marshall*No. 1ESPN2W 49–1485,445
September 86:00 p.m.Louisiana–Monroe*No. 2
  • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
  • Gainesville, FL
PPVW 55–685,011
September 2212:30 p.m.at KentuckyNo. 2JPSW 44–1066,126
September 293:30 p.m.No. 21 Mississippi StateNo. 2
  • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
  • Gainesville, FL
CBSW 52–085,579
October 62:30 p.m.at No. 18 LSUNo. 2CBSW 44–1592,010
October 136:45 p.m.at AuburnNo. 1ESPNL 20–2386,063
October 273:30 p.m.vs. No. 15 GeorgiaNo. 6CBSW 24–1084,401
November 312:30 p.m.Vanderbilt No. 4
  • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
  • Gainesville, FL
JPSW 71–1385,052
November 107:45 p.m.at No. 14 South CarolinaNo. 4ESPNW 54–1784,900
November 178:00 p.m.No. 20 Florida State*No. 4
  • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
  • Gainesville, FL (rivalry)
CBSW 37–1385,732
December 14:30 p.m.No. 5 TennesseeNo. 2
CBSL 32–3485,771
January 2, 20028:00 p.m.vs. No. 6 Maryland*No. 5ABCW 56–2373,640
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game

Sources: 2012 Florida Football Media Guide,[2] and GatorZone.com.[4]

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 summaryEdit

 
Alex Brown while on the Bears.

MarshallEdit

Marshall at Florida
1 234Total
Marshall 0 068 14
Florida 21 14014 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.[5]

Rex Grossman had a career-high in passing yards by halftime, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by Taylor Jacobs.[6]

The defense also played well as Alex Brown and linebacker Andra Davis had two sacks each.[6]

Louisiana–MonroeEdit

Louisiana–Monroe at Florida
1 234Total
La.-Monroe 6 000 6
Florida 7 31143 55

In the second week of play, the Gators overwhelmed the Louisiana–Monroe Warhawks 55–6.[7] Grossman passed for 331 yards and three touchdowns, including two thrown to Jabar Gaffney.[8]

Grossman fumbled the game's first exchange from center, and Louisiana-Monroe capitalized on the opportunity when it scored the game's first touchdown.[8] "It was just an awkward start." said Grossman.[8]

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.

KentuckyEdit

Florida at Kentucky
1 234Total
Florida 7 91414 44
Kentucky 0 370 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.[9] Grossman passed for 302 yards and four touchdowns.[10]

The Gators struggled early and led just 16–3 at the half, but eventually thrashed the Wildcats with four touchdowns in the second half.[11]

After Kentucky made a touchdown, Earnest Graham sprung lose for a 50-yard touchdown run in the third period to go up 30–10.[11]

Mississippi StateEdit

Mississippi State at Florida
1 234Total
Miss St 0 000 0
Florida 21 14710 52

The following week, Florida avenged last year's loss to the 21st-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs by shutting them out 52–0.[12] Grossman had 317 yards passing in just the first half.[13] The Gators had 640 yards of total offense on the day, the most in school history for an SEC game.[13]

Grossman passed for 393 yards and five touchdowns in total,[14] becoming the first Florida quarterback to throw for 300 yards in four straight games.[15]

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.[15]

LSUEdit

Florida at LSU
1 234Total
Florida 21 6314 44
LSU 3 606 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.[16] Grossman threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns in just the first half, and by game's end had a school-record 464 yards.[17]

Florida finished with 632 yards of total offense.[17] LSU quarterback Rohan Davey left the game with a hyperextended knee.[17]

"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."[17] "I think he is a tremendous quarterback" echoed LSU safety Ryan Clark.[17]

AuburnEdit

Florida at Auburn
1 234Total
Florida 3 377 20
Auburn 3 7013 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.[18]

Gators quarterback Rex Grossman completed twenty-five of forty-two passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions.[19] The Gators dominated statistically, but the Tigers' bend-but-don't-break defense held the Gators rushing game to negative yardage.[18]

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.[18] With 10 seconds left, Tigers placekicker Damon Duval nailed a 44-yard field goal and the Tigers upset the Gators.[18][20]

GeorgiaEdit

Florida–Georgia
1 234Total
Georgia 3 700 10
Florida 10 707 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,[21] overcoming four turnovers and twelve penalties.[22] Grossman passed for 407 yards.[22] Earnest Graham rushed for 131 yards.[22]

The Bulldogs missed a field goal and failed to convert three fourth downs in the second half.[22] 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.[22]

VanderbiltEdit

Vanderbilt at Florida
1 234Total
Vanderbilt 0 0013 13
Florida 24 13286 71

At homecoming, Florida crushed the Vanderbilt Commodores 71–13.[23] The Gators never punted, and forced five turnovers.[24] They were up 71–0 in the fourth quarter and still tossing passes, amassing 571 total yards in all.[25] Eleven Gators got receptions, and Taylor Jacobs had a breakout game.[24]

Playing just in the first half, Grossman threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns.[24] Backup quarterback Brock Berlin threw three more in the second.[25]

South CarolinaEdit

Florida at South Carolina
1 234Total
Florida 10 171314 54
S. Carolina 10 007 17

In Columbia, the Gators routed the fourteenth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks 54–17.[26] The game started shaky for the Gators as Lito Sheppard fumbled the opening kickoff, leading to an easy Gamecock score.[27] A touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney late in the first quarter started the scoring barrage.[28]

Grossman had his ninth-consecutive 300-yard passing game,[29] and exceeded 5,000 yards passing for his career.[27]

Florida StateEdit

Florida State at Florida
1 234Total
FSU 0 337 13
Florida 7 13710 37

Florida easily defeated the rival Florida State Seminoles 37–13.[30] 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.[31]

Graham and coach Spurrier accused Darnell Dockett of deliberately twisting Graham's knee, as well as stomping on Grossman's hand.[32][33] Graham even considered a lawsuit.[34] Dockett denied these charges.[35][36]

TennesseeEdit

Tennessee at Florida
1 234Total
Tennessee 14 0713 34
Florida 0 2039 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.[37] Despite the teams' identical records and much to the chagrin of the Vols, the Gators were 17-and-a-half point favorites at kickoff.[38]

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.[39][40] 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]

PostseasonEdit

MarylandEdit

Orange Bowl
1 234Total
Florida 14 14217 56
Maryland 7 3013 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.[42][43]

Awards and honorsEdit

Grossman was the Heisman Trophy runner-up to Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch,[44] in one of the trophy's closest ballots.[45][46] Many feel Grossman should have won.[47]

Both Crouch and Grossman made AP All-American.[48]

Spurrier's resignationEdit

In early January, Steve Spurrier said that he was resigning as Florida's head coach after 12 seasons.[49]

PersonnelEdit

RosterEdit

2001 Florida Gators football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
WR 17 Reche Caldwell Jr
WR 85 Jabar Gaffney Jr
RB 5 Earnest Graham Jr
QB 8 Rex Grossman Jr
WR 6 Taylor Jacobs Jr
T 71 Mike Pearson Jr
TE 82 Aaron Walker Jr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
DE 13 Alex Brown Sr
LB 45 Andra Davis Sr
SS 4 Marquand Manuel Sr
LB 59 Mike Nattiel Jr
CB 3 Lito Sheppard Jr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 49 Jeff Chandler Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  •   Injured
  •   Redshirt

Roster

Coaching staffEdit

  • 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

StatisticsEdit

  • 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 alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  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.[41]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ University of Florida Sports Information Department. "Florida 2001 Media Guide" (PDF). floridagators.com. University Athletic Association, Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b 2012 Florida Football Media Guide Archived 2013-05-27 at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 113 & 116 (2012). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  3. ^ http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/news/2001/poll010730.pdf
  4. ^ GatorZone.com, Football, History, Florida Football 2001 Archived 2011-09-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  5. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  6. ^ a b PELLS, EDDIE. "Grossman, Gators reject Marshall plan – StAugustine.com". Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  7. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  8. ^ a b c "La-Monroe Falls To Florida, 55-6". Archived from the original on 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  9. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  10. ^ BAILEY, STEVE. "No. 22 Florida 44, Kentucky 10 – StAugustine.com". Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  11. ^ a b "Florida 44, Kentucky 10".
  12. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  13. ^ a b "Football Shuts out #21 Mississippi State 52-0".
  14. ^ "NCAA Football – Mississippi State vs. Florida".
  15. ^ a b "Jacksonville.com: No. 2 Florida 52, No. 21 Mississippi St 0 9/29/01".
  16. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  17. ^ a b c d e FOSTER, MARY. "Grossman breaks records, LSU – StAugustine.com". Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  18. ^ a b c d Associated Press, "Auburn stuns No. 1 Florida", The Toledo Blade, p. C4 (October 14, 2001). Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  19. ^ Associated Press, "Auburn stuns top-ranked Florida", The Register-Guard, p. 8G (October 14, 2001). Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  20. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  21. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  22. ^ a b c d e "NCAA Football – Georgia vs. Florida".
  23. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  24. ^ a b c "Fun While It Lasted".
  25. ^ a b "NCAA Football – Vanderbilt vs. Florida".
  26. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  27. ^ a b Dooley, Robbie Andreu/Pat. "No. 85 – FLORIDA 54, SOUTH CAROLINA 17
    Nov. 10, 2001"
    .
  28. ^ IACOBELLI, PETE. "Gators smack South Carolina – StAugustine.com". Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  29. ^ Press, From Associated (11 November 2001). "Florida Routs South Carolina" – via LA Times.
  30. ^ Gatorzone.com. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  31. ^ Robbie Andreu (November 19, 2001). "Gators Graham:Hurt on Purpose?". Lakeland Ledger. p. 1C – via Google News Archive Search.
  32. ^ "Dockett Denies Injury Charge".
  33. ^ "Spurrier Rolls Tape On Graham's Injury".
  34. ^ DiRocco, Michael. "UF's Graham may sue FSU's Dockett – Jacksonville.com".
  35. ^ "Dockett Denies Injury Accusations".
  36. ^ "Darnell Dockett says 'get over' 2001 Earnest Graham incident".
  37. ^ Lapointe, Joe (2001-12-02). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; For the National Title, It Will Be Miami Against Somebody". The New York Times.
  38. ^ "Vols offended at being labeled underdogs". Portsmouth Daily Times. December 1, 2001. p. B3 – via Google News Archive Search.
  39. ^ "NCAA Football – Tennessee vs. Florida".
  40. ^ "Gators Fall to Vols". Boca Raton News. December 2, 2001. p. 45 – via Google News Archive Search.
  41. ^ Rex Hoggard (January 2, 2002). "Out of their league". Toledo Blade. p. 1C – via Google News Archive Search.
  42. ^ "NCAA Football – Florida vs. Maryland". USA Today.
  43. ^ Gatorzone.com Archived 2015-09-06 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2015-Oct-18.
  44. ^ "2001 Heisman Trophy Voting - College Football at Sports-Reference.com".
  45. ^ Nolan, Lt Philip (16 July 2012). "Heisman Trophy Snubs: The 2001 Dorsey/Grossman/Crouch Debate".
  46. ^ Hutchins, Andy (21 July 2012). "How Two Plays Lost Rex Grossman The 2001 Heisman Trophy".
  47. ^ Wunderlich, David (1 March 2016). "The 2001 Florida Gators Are a Great What-If Team".
  48. ^ "Crouch, Grossman top 2001 AP All-America team - chronicle.augusta.com". Associated Press.
  49. ^ "Spurrier quits as UF coach". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

BibliographyEdit

  • 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.