The 1996 Season


Author Bio
Danny Wuerffel

The 1995 season left Gator players, coaches, and fans with a sour taste in their mouths', so Florida wanted to start off 1996 with a bang. Florida was once again on a record pace, demolishing opponents left and right. It was not until the 11th game in Tallahasse against FSU that the Gators tasted defeat. The Gators were upset 24-21 at Doak Campbell Stadium where the Gators are winless under Steve Spurrier.

Florida then turned its attention to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta where they beat Alabama to win their fourth straight Southeastern Conference Title. Now all Florida could do was sit and wait. If there is such a thing as destiny then Florida had it in 1996. After Texas upset Nebraska in the Big Tewelve Championship Game, the gators again gained a glimmer of hope to play for all the marbles, but they still had to get undefeated Arizona out of the way. Arizona went on to lose to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl and once again Florida controlled its own destiny.

When Flordia took the field on January 2, 1997, they were ranked #3 in the nation, but by the time the game ended there would be no question who the #1 team in the country should have been. Florida dismantled FSU 52-20 to win its first ever National Championship.

Breakdown of the 1996 Season:

(opponent, site, outcome and score)

  • Southwest Louisiana (Gainesville) W 55-21
  • Georgia Southern (Gainesville) W 62-14
  • Tennessee (Knoxville) W 35-29
  • Kentucky (Gainesville) W 65-0
  • Arkansas (Fayetteville) W 42-7
  • LSU (Gainesville) W 56-13
  • Auburn (Gainesville) W 51-10
  • Georgia (Jacksonville) W 47-7 Seven straight wins over Georgia
  • Vandy (Nashville) W 28-21
  • South Carolina (Gainesville) W 52-25
  • Florida State (Tallahassee) L 24-21
  • Alabama (SEC Championship Game, Atlanta) W 45-30
  • Danny Wuerffel wins the Heisman Trophy
  • Florida State (National Championship Game, Sugar Bowl, New Orleans)W 52-20

Season End Averages:(Per Game)

  • Rushing Yards= 170.0
  • Passing Yards= 333.9
  • Total Yards= 462.8
  • Points= 46.6