Georgia may not want the Florida Gators back in Athens any time soon.
The third-ranked Gators became the first visitor in Sanford Stadium history to score more than 50 points Saturday, routing the Bulldogs, 52-17, behind Danny Wuerffel, who threw for 242 yards and five touchdowns in less than three quarters, three of those to Chris Doering.
“A lot of our coaches had mention to me that no one had scored 50 in here before, so we wanted to do that,” Florida Coach Steve Spurrier said. “We had our backups in and they want to play hard just like the other guys. The touchdown was scored in the natural course of the game.”
The previous highest point total by an opponent came in 1936 when Tennessee routed the Bulldogs, 46-0.
“We wanted to try to make it a memorable game for the Gators, and it was,” Spurrier said.
Wuerffel had the Gators in front, 21-0, in the first 12 minutes, leaving little doubt that Florida, 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference, would win for the first time in five games on Georgia’s home field.
The teams usually meet at a neutral site each year, the Gator Bowl, where the game will return next year. Each school had a game on campus during a renovation project at the Jacksonville facility for the arrival of the NFL Jaguars.
“Danny Wuerffel was near perfect in the game,” Spurrier said. “He only had one bad throw.”
Wuerffel said Georgia’s defense changed coverages a lot after the snap. “I just had to hit the open guy.”
It marked the sixth year in a row Florida has won six or more SEC games, a mark matched only by Alabama from 1961-66.
Georgia (5-4, 3-4) scored both its touchdowns in the final quarter.
“Florida is the best we’ve seen,” Georgia Coach Ray Goff said. “We made mistakes and they took advantage of them. There’s a reason they’ve only lost 12 games in the last six years.”
Said Bulldog linebacker Whit Marshall: “They didn’t really do anything unexpected. They just came out and beat us.”
No. 18 Alabama 38, North Texas 19--Brian Steger rushed for 97 yards, mostly in the first half, as the Crimson Tide beat the Eagles in a nonconference game at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Playing a team in its first year in Division I-A, Alabama (6-2) did not secure the victory until 9:02 was left in the game. Freddie Kitchens connected with Chad Key for a seven-yard touchdown pass that made it 31-13.
“I’m glad the game is over and I’m glad we won it,” Alabama Coach Gene Stallings said. In the minutes that preceded that decisive drive, the Crimson Tide survived a weird turn of events that could have changed the course of the game.
Trailing, 24-7, with 4:04 left in the third quarter, North Texas drove 67 yards in 3:17 and made it 24-13 with a three-yard touchdown pass from Josh Gulley to Brian Waters. The point-after attempt was blocked.
Alabama was forced to punt, and North Texas did the same--only after what looked like a fumble recovery in the end zone by the Tide was called an incomplete pass. It would have given Alabama its second defensive touchdown of the game and knocked out the Eagles (1-7).
On the ensuing punt, the ball bounced out of Michael Vaughn’s arms to Phillip Littlejohn, who sprinted into the end zone for what he thought was an Eagle touchdown. But the play was called back because the kicking team cannot advance a fumbled kick.
The Eagles took over at the Alabama 38, but Ralph Staten intercepted a pass that set up Key’s touchdown.
Mississippi 21, Vanderbilt 10--Backup quarterback Paul Head threw three touchdown passes, two to Ta’Boris Fisher, to lead the Rebels (4-4, 2-4) to an SEC victory over the Commodores (0-7, 0-5) at Oxford, Miss. Head replaced starter Josh Nelson with 1:45 left in the first half and, after leading Ole Miss on an 86-yard scoring drive, he played the rest of the game.
Mississippi State 42, Kentucky 32--Keffer McGee ran for three touchdowns as the Bulldogs (3-5, 1-4) snapped a four-game losing streak with this SEC victory over the Wildcats (3-5, 2-4) at Starkville, Miss.
Kentucky’s Moe Williams rushed for 238 yards and three touchdowns.