COLLEGE FOOTBALL : Florida Sluggish but Bullish : SEC: Wuerffel struggles, but ties record and keeps Florida unbeaten with 38-7 rout of Vanderbilt.
Danny Wuerffel was in no mood to talk about the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. He insists that his main concern is getting third-ranked Florida into the Fiesta Bowl.
Even with his worst performance of the season, Wuerffel threw for 299 yards and set a Southeastern Conference record with his 29th touchdown pass, leading the Gators to a 38-7 rout of Vanderbilt.
“I don’t really care about that,” Wuerffel said of the Heisman. “It was a solid victory and we’re glad to be where we’re at.”
Florida, trying to keep pace with No. 2 Ohio State in the polls, is 10-0 for the first time and set a school record with its 12th consecutive Southeastern Conference win, including an 8-0 mark this season. Vanderbilt fell to 2-8, 1-6.
The Gators can secure a spot in the Fiesta Bowl, most likely against No. 1 Nebraska, with a victory against sixth-ranked Florida State next weekend.
Florida led only 17-0 after the first half, which was marked by five dropped passes-- including possible touchdowns for Chris Doering and Ike Hilliard--two sacks, two deflections and at least seven poorly thrown balls from Wuerffel, who failed to complete at least half of his passes for the first time while going 17 for 35 for 299 yards.
Wuerffel surpassed former Gator Shane Matthews, who had 28 touchdown passes for Florida in 1991, but shares the SEC mark with South Carolina’s Steve Taneyhill, who also has 29 this season.
“It seemed like we were a little out of sync, a little behind,” Coach Steve Spurrier said. “If Vandy had an offense that could stay on the field, we would have been in trouble.”
Despite all the miscues, there were plenty of highlights.
Doering, a walk-on five years ago, secured his place as one of the best receivers in Gator history with an 11-catch, 169-yard performance. He had two touchdown receptions, giving him 15 for the season and 29 for his career, both tying SEC records.
Jacquez Green added five receptions for 155 yards and Elijah Williams rushed for 128 yards in only nine carries.
Florida broke the game open with two huge plays in the third quarter. Fifty-eight seconds into the half, Williams broke loose on a draw up the middle and rambled 70 yards to make it, 24-0.
Then Wuerffel had his best throw of the day to Green, who caught the ball in stride and ran 76 yards for a score.