Tebow's big night in historic context


Tim Tebow’s amazing performance in Columbia last Saturday night certainly has created a buzz around the Florida program and around college football, where the Heisman hype is really starting to crank up now that the season is winding down to a final few weeks.

Was it the best quarterback performance in school history?

You could certainly come up with a strong argument that it was.

Tebow rushed for 120 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. He passed for 304 yards and two touchdowns. He accounted for all seven touchdowns in a game the Gators needed to win to stay in the race in the Eastern Division.

It was an awesome show by a sophomore who has a chance to go down as the greatest player in school history.

Was it the greatest quarterback performance in school history?

Read on.

For Tuesday’s edition of The Sun, we came up with five of the top quarterback performances in the program’s history, but did not rank them. I’m going to go ahead and use the opportunity here to rank them as I see them:

1. Danny Wuerffel vs. Alabama in the 1996 SEC Championship Game: In a championship game, Wuerffel threw for 401 yards and six touchdowns. Every time the Tide scored, Wuerffel had an answer.

2. Tim Tebow vs. South Carolina: The five rushing touchdowns are what amazes me. As you all know, Tebow’s TD runs aren’t sneaks, they’re actually runs. This kids is getting scary good.

3. Rex Grossman vs. LSU in 2001 in Baton Rouge:
This was the most awesome display of passing I’ve ever seen a UF quarterback have. He completed 22 of 32 passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-15 rout of the Tigers. After the game, UF coach Steve Spurrier said he really didn’t know how defenses were going to stop this Grossman-led passing attack. It was never better than on this day in Baton Rouge.

4. Steve Spurrier vs. Auburn in 1966: This is the game that won the Heisman for Spurrier. With many members of the national media in attendance, Spurrier kicked the game-winning field goal from 40 yards in the closing seconds. It culminated one of the great overall QB performances in UF history. Spurrier completed 27 of 40 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown and ran for a TD. He also averaged 47.4 yards a punt.

5. John Reaves vs. Houston in 1969:
What an amazing start for Reaves and the “Super Sophs.” Reaves’ first collegiate pass went for 70 yards and a touchdown to Carlos Alavarez. Reaves threw for 342 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Gators to one of the most memorable upsets in school history, a 59-34 drubbing of Houston.

One note: Of the five performances, I witnessed four in person. The only one I did not see was Spurrier’s against Auburn.