Florida’s Orange Bowl history

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Florida receiver Jabar Gaffney pulls in a touchdown pass from Rex Grossman to score just before the half at the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2002 in Miami. (Michael C. Weimar/The Gainesville Sun)

Special to Gatorsports.com

  • Jan. 1, 1967 (Miami Orange Bowl) – Florida 27, No. 8 Georgia Tech 12
    • Steve Spurrier capped his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign with a modest showing, throwing for 160 yards and an interception on 14-of-30 passing
    • Tailback Larry Smith earned MVP honors and set an Orange Bowl record (which would stand until 1978) with 187 rushing yards on 23 carries, the highlight of which was a 94-yard touchdown run in the third quarter
    • Graham McKeel scored a pair of rushing touchdowns
    • Georgia Tech struck first with a touchdown, but the Gators ran off 27 unanswered points in the final three quarters
    • UF outgained Georgia Tech, 449-319, and it outrushed the Yellow Jackets, 284-197

 Jan. 2, 1999 (Miami Orange Bowl) – No. 8 Florida 31, No. 15 Syracuse 10

    • Doug Johnson tossed touchdown passes of 51 and 26 yards to Travis Taylor less than three minutes apart to put Florida ahead 14-0 in the first quarter
    • Taylor went on to earn MVP honors with seven receptions for 159 yards (an Orange Bowl record) and the aforementioned pair of touchdowns
    • Jesse Palmer threw for a touchdown and ran in another in the second quarter
    • Terry Jackson rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries
    • Florida’s defense held Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb to 192 yards on 14-of-30 passing, though he did throw a 62-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, and he rushed for 72 yards on 20 carries
    • It was the last Orange Bowl ever played at the Miami Orange Bowl

 Jan. 2, 2002 (Pro Player Stadium) – No. 5 Florida 56, No. 10 Maryland 23

    • Florida raced to a 28-10 halftime lead, then tacked on another 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to point the game well out of reach
    • Rex Grossman threw 248 yards and four touchdowns, though the former did not count toward his school-record 3,896 passing yards for the season
    • Taylor Jacobs earned MVP honors with 10 receptions for 170 yards (breaking Travis Taylor’s Orange Bowl record, and keeping it himself until 2011) and two touchdown receptions – one from Grossman and another from Brock Berlin
    • Fellow receiver Jabar Gaffney tallied seven receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns
    • Earnest Graham finished with 149 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries
    • The Gators totaled 659 yards, which was at the time the fourth-highest total in school history and a Gators bowl record. They also threw for 456 yards, but it was just the third-highest total of the season, behind a 507-yard outing against Mississippi State, and a 504-yard outing at LSU
    • It was the final game of Steve Spurrier’s 12-season tenure as head coach