Chauncey Gardner, Florida’s exuberant freshman DB, earned Outback Bowl MVP honors today.
Gardner earned that distinction by virtue of picking off Hawkeyes quarterback C.J. Beathard twice, including returning one of those two picks for a 58-yard touchdown. Those were Gardner’s second and third interceptions of the year, his first having occurred against Florida State.
Gardner spoke to the media after receiving his MVP award, and praised his teammates, saying that the MVP honors go to the guys up front who cleared the way for him.
S/O To All Of My Teammates Man Without Them None Of This Was Possible #Brothers— Chauncey Gardner Jr (@StillDat_) January 2, 2017
Gardner’s pick-six followed in the grand tradition of members of Florida’s secondary returning interceptions for touchdowns in the Outback Bowl, and thus earning themselves MVP honors. This practice was started by Ahmad Black in the Gators’ last appearance in the Outback Bowl, in 2011 against Penn State. Black also had two interceptions in that bowl, returning the one for a touchdown.
@StillDat_ out there running interceptions back like me?— ahmad black (@ahmadblack35) January 2, 2017
It’s up to you to continue this tradition, Future Gator Defensive Backs Playing In A Future Outback Bowl.