Hall of Famer Carlos Alvarez and the 1969 Houston-Florida Game

Carlos Alvarez, "The Cuban Comet," became the sixth Gator player and ninth representative of the University of Florida to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. He was a great Gator both on the field and in the classroom, and after earning a law degree from Duke (summa cum laude) he has had a successful career practicing law in Tallahassee. The game that launched his Gator career was a memorable upset over highly ranked Houston.

Coming off a mediocre 1968 season that saw the worst loss program's worst loss since 1942, the Gators were unranked. (One poll placed them in the bottom 20 teams in the nation.) They opened 1969 campaign against the Houston Cougars who, by contrast, were expected to contend for a National Championship. Ranked seventh in the AP's preseason poll (and No. 1 by Playboy), the Cougars came to Florida Field as heavy favorites.

Ray Graves' Gators got the ball first, and, as expected, ran the ball twice without much to show for it.  On the third play from scrimmage, sophomore Carlos Alvarez made a move at the 35 yard line to blow past the Houston corner and hauled in a John Reaves pass for a 70-yard touchdown, for his first collegiate catch. The rout was on. Alvarez caught five more passes that day, including a 21-yard touchdown, en route to a 59-34 victory.

The 1969 Gators led by the "Super Sophs," including Reaves and Alvarez, went on to post a 9-1-1 (the best record posted by a Florida team until 1991) mark that included a 14-13 Gator Bowl victory over the SEC Champion Tennessee Volunteers. Alvarez still holds the University of Florida records for career receiving yardage (2,563) and receptions in a game (15).

Alligator Army salutes Carlos Alvarez on his election to the College Football Hall of Fame.

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