We continue our look back at the 1996 championship season. Today is the game that announced
Peyton Manning is the quarterback for No. 2 Tennessee (2-0), but he is also their researcher and scientist, breaking down not just game film of the No. 4 Gators (2-0) but also of
The new scheme has inspired confidence in the Gators, especially against the Vols quarterback.
''They look vulnerable, very vulnerable,'' Tim Beauchamp, a defensive end, told reporters earlier this week. ''As much as we blitz, it should get pretty ugly.''
On the subject of Manning, who is operating behind a rebuilt offensive line, Beauchamp was just as blunt. He maintained that Manning holds the ball near his waist, a habit that the Gators could exploit. ''He gets rattled,'' Beauchamp said. ''He has real jumpy feet, and he holds the ball out here. We've got a chance to strip that ball.''
It was not the 62-37 destruction the Gators laid on
In the cool darkness of last Saturday evening,
quarterback Danny Wuerffel jogged from the floor of Florida 's Neyland Stadium, his head humbly bowed and his face expressionless. Only when he neared the tunnel at the south end of the field did Wuerffel lift his chin, gently shake his right fist once, twice, three times and let a soft smile crease his face as if he were savoring some small, private success. "He remembers that game in Tennessee last January," said Wuerffel's father, Jon, who stood nearby in a thicket of Gators fans. Behind Wuerffel, teammate Johnny Rutledge, a sophomore linebacker, rumbled through the tunnel like a storm, raising his orange helmet overhead and then lowering it as he yelled, almost in disbelief, "They really thought they would win!" Arizona
Wuerffel has sometimes been belittled as merely the latest beneficiary of Spurrier's pass-happy offense, but in fact he has proved to be talented, tough and reliable. He has endured his coach's demands with extreme patience, and after shredding
on Saturday he seemed ready to put questions about the Fiesta Bowl loss behind him forever. "This is a new game and a new season," Wuerffel said. "That [ Tennessee ] game was a long time ago." Nebraska
The Gators face