JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UPI)- A hard-driving line led the Florida Gators
to a narrow 13-12 victory over Baylor's passing Bears Saturday in Gator
Bowl game which had one of the wildest finishes in the 16 year history
of the post-season classic.
Baylor quarterback Ronnie Stanley hit ace receiver Ronnie Goodwin with a
pass good for 47 yards in the final two minutes and star halfback Ronnie
Bull charged over from the three-yard line to bring the Bears within two
points of glory.
Baylor elected to gamble on a two-point conversion with 1:01 left but
second-team quarterback Bobby Ply's end zone throw to Goodwin was
incomplete. Goodwin, the Southwest Conference's top pass catcher, got
his fingers on the ball but couldn't hold it.
A record crowd of 50,112- largest in Gator Bowl history- counted the
seconds as Florida ran out the clock to end the Gators' greatest season
of all time.
The aerial-minded Bears set five passing records and tied a sixth but
couldn't cope with Florida's bruising defense until the frantic fourth
The Gator defenders, sparked by senior guard Vic Miranda, halted a
75-yard drive by Baylor on the half-yard line in the first quarter, then
set the stage for two second quarter touchdowns.
Florida fullback Don Goodman ripped through the middle for three yards
for the Gators' first touchdown after senior guard Chet Collins
recovered a fumble by Bull on the Bears' 20 yard line.
Specialist Bill Cash made the kick good- just another point at the time
but it proved to be the difference between a win and a tie.
With 30 seconds left In the first half, Stanley fumbled into his own end
zone and Gator guard Larry Travis pounced on the ball for Florida's
second touchdown. Cash's kick was wide.
Ply, who made his first start of the year for Baylor, passed to Goodwin
in the end zone on the first play of the last quarter to put his team
back in the running. The scoring play climaxed a drive that started on
Baylor's 29-yard line and featured a 28-yard run by Bull. The kick, by
fullback Larry Corley, was no good.
Both teams had 8-2 records In the regular season and were runner-up in
their respective leagues, Baylor in the Southwest and Florida in the
Southeastern. Florida ranked as a slight favorite, by about one-half
point. This marked first time in 54 years of football that the Gators
have won nine games in a single season, bowl games included.
Baylor set the following air records: 12 first downs by passing, 27
passes attempted, 24 attempted by Ply (individual), 7 caught by Goodwin,
and 129 yards gained on passes by Goodwin. The Bears also tied the Bowl
record for passes completed at 13.
Sportswriters covering the game voted Florida quarterback Larry
Libertore, 188 pound sophomore sensation who directed the Gators' first
touchdown, as most valuable for his team. A similar honor went to
Baylor's Ply, who earned the starting assignment Saturday because of his
showing against Rice in the Bears' final game of regulation play.
UF- Goodwin 3 run (Cash kick)
UF- Travis, recovered fumble in endzone (Cash kick failed)
BU- Goodwin 11 pass from Ply (Corley kick failed)
BU- Bull 3 run (Ply pass incomplete)
UF- Libertore 14-61, Goodman 10-28, Infante 6-24
BU- Bull 14-53, Ply 14-5
UF- Dodd 3-5-21, Libertore 2-3-36
BU- Ply 12-24-161
UF- Infante 3-47
BU- Goodwin 7-129, David 3-33