Gators’ Top 10 Individual Performances in Bowl Games

Florida faces Iowa on Monday in the Outback Bowl, the school’s 43rd all-time bowl game. Former UF quarterback Danny Wuerffel celebrates after the Gators beat Florida State to win the 1996 national championship. (File photo) Editor’s Note: This story appears in the latest issue of Two Bits, the official magazine of Florida Athletics.

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Florida’s appearance in the Outback Bowl on Monday is the Gators’ 43rd postseason game ever.

There certainly have been some memorable bowl games – the Sugar Bowl win over hated rival Florida State for the school’s first national title after the 1996 season, the wins in the BCS national championship games following the 2006 and ’08 seasons, the win in the 1992 Gator Bowl in heavy fog that obscured the field for some fans, the manhandling of unbeaten West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl after the 1993 season, the 1980 Tangerine Bowl victory that put the capper on an 8-4 season following the 0-10-1 campaign in 1979.

Well, there also have been some memorable individual performances by Gators in the previous 42 bowls.

Here are the 10 best:

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10. QB REX GROSSMAN

The game: Orange Bowl following 2001 season.
The skinny: Steve Spurrier ‘s first game as Florida coach in 1990 featured a noteworthy performance from his quarterback – Shane Matthews was 20 of 29 for 332 yards and a touchdown in a 50-7 demolition of Oklahoma State. Spurrier’s final game as Florida’s coach also featured a noteworthy performance from a quarterback – Grossman, who did not start because of a violation of team rules, came off the bench in relief of Brock Berlin to torch Maryland’s defense in a 56-23 demolition of the Terps. Grossman was 20 of 28 for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He tossed scoring passes to Taylor Jacobs, Jabar Gaffney and Carlos Perez. The Gators rolled up 659 yards against the ACC champs.

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9. DE PRESTON KENDRICK

The game: Sugar Bowl following 1974 season.
The skinny: Nebraska beat the Gators 13-10 in a game remembered for Tony Green’s "how-can-that-not-be-a-touchdown?" run more than anything else. That’s too bad, in a way, because Kendrick had the best game of his life. Kendrick, a former walk-on from Miami who was the younger brother of ex-Gators fullback Vince Kendrick, had 12 tackles – including eight solo stops – and two interceptions in the loss in his final game as a Gator. In all, Florida had four picks of future NFL first-rounder David Humm. Kendrick was an All-SEC selection that season and was a third-round choice in the 1975 draft by San Francisco.***** 8. RB LARRY SMITH The game: Orange Bowl following 1966 season. The skinny: Quarterback Steve Spurrier had won the Heisman, but Smith, a sophomore from Tampa, stole the show in the 27-12 win over Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets scored first, but the Gators took control when Smith sprinted 94 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter for a 14-6 lead; it’s tied for the fourth-longest run in college bowl […]