EL PASO- Doug Dickey lived his worst expectations here Sunday in the
42nd Sun Bowl. The University of Florida coach also figures his Gators
got more than they bargained for in a 37-14 stomping at the hands of
Obviously irked by a 2-point conversion and the final Aggie touchdown,
Dickey unleashed a word barrage at his opponents.
"It was a great compliment to us when they went for two points when they
took a 24-0 lead,” he cracked "And. it was a great compliment when they
put their first string back in when they were ahead. You kind of wish
people would do that who were in your conference. It would nice to play
those people every year and have them came to your place.”
Those were the things Dickey wasn’t expecting. But, he lived his fears
in what he was expecting. A complete Aggie football team. Since arriving
on the Sun Carnival scene a week ago, the Gator coach said, time and
time again, “The Aggies are the most complete team I’ve ever seen.”
Certainly, they were a complete team for the record 33,252 spectators
who jammed into the sun splashed arena Sunday. The Aggies employed all
phases of the game to destroy the Gators. Offensively, they rolled up
365 yards and scored by ground, air and foot. Defensively, they were so
intimidating they created five Florida turnovers and forced the Gators
to a minus 12 yards in total offense during the second quarter.
George Woodard, the burly 255 pound Aggie fullback stacked up 20 points,
124 yards on 25 carries rushing and hauled in four passes for 25 yards.
Out of this, Woodard scored on romps of 1 and 3 yards via the ground and
received a 15 yard pass for another TD and stepped untouched for the
controversial 2-point conversion.
David Walker, the southpaw field general, attacked the Gators 18 times
by air and hit on 11 for 122 yards, including the payoff pitch to
Woodard. He also scored once on a 9 yard keeper with a great block from
halfback David Brothers.
Yet, the young man who came up with the votes to win the Most Valuable
Player award was Tony Franklin, A&M's spectacular kicking specialist.
Franklin uncorked a 62-yard field goal in the second period for the
longest 3-pointer in the history of bowl competition in this country (video).
It was just three yards shy of his record NCAA shot of 65 yards during
the regular campaign. Prior to his big one Sunday, he kicked a
39-yarder to give the Aggies a 3-0 edge and then later added a
Tank Marshall, Edgar Fields, Jimmy Dean, Jesse Hunnicutt and Robert
Jackson were the brutal defenders and Fields was voted the game's
The Gators had more problems than just the Aggies. Unfortunately, their
starting quarterback, Jimmy Fisher, suffered a dislocated ring finger on
his throwing hand on Florida s first offensive thrust. He played
spasmodically later, but Dickey was forced to employ backup Bill Kynes
for more than a quarter.
Dickey even went to a defensive back, Terry LeCount, for a third QB.
And, he countered by scoring the second Florida TD on a 1 yard keeper
with 4:52 left in the battle.
Wes Chandler, the heralded split end who wasn't expected to play due to
an ankle injury, went the distance and scored the other Gator TD on a
brilliant 29-yard, end-around maneuver with 8:29 still left in round
It really didn't matter too much since the Aggies had already staked
themselves to that 24-0 advantage and fans were only wondering by this
time what the final A&M victory would add up to on the scoreboard.
From the beginning, A&M stuck it to the Gators. Fisher suffered his
finger injury and fumbled on the game's third play, which Dean
recovered for the Aggies exactly at midfield. Out of it, though, the
maroons got only Franklin’s 39 yard field goal and a 3-0 edge.
The Aggies parlayed another Gator bobble, this one by Kynes, into their
first TD. Phil Bennett created the fumble and Lester Hayes fell on it at
the 14. Three plays later, Walker made his 9-yurd dash and the Maroons
led 10-0 just 4:25 deep into the second.
Then, with 7:39 left to the second, A&M had a choice of punting or going
to Franklin. They went to the little kicker and that's when he replied
with his 62-yarder for a 13-0 Aggie lead. Franklin did it again with
just 1:16 remaining in the initial half when his 33-yarder made it
16-zip at intermission.
It wasn’t a good halftime for Dickey. His Gators had only 27 net yards
and two first downs. They had been across the 50 into A&M country only
once at the 41 and they couldn't get outside their own 30 in the second
grew worse rather quickly in the second half. The Aggies put on their
best drive of the day with their first series of the third period.
Walker alternated himself with Woodard, Brothers and Curtis Dickey to
parade 67 yards in seven plays. Woodard made the final step, then added
"We went for two because that is no kind of score (22-0) to sit on and
not try to score against a team like Florida.” said A&M coach Emory
Bellard. In a sense, he was right because Florida opened up its attack
in the second half, which resulted in Chandler's scoring dash only
moments after A&M made it 24-0.
The Aggies missed a great scoring chance early in the final quarter when
Woodard, diving into the Gator endzone, fumbled and the ball flopped
back to the 3-yard line. Since it was fourth down, that was it, even
though A&M’s Frank Myers recovered.
Just minutes later, however, safety Carl Grulich of Richardson
intercepted a Fisher pass and turned in the game’s most exciting play
when he battled his way 29 yards to the Florida 3. From here, Woodard
smashed the final 3 steps for a 31-7 lead.
On the next Aggie possession, Bellard inserted his reserves, with Dallas
QB Keith Baker operating the wishbone. There were still some nine
minutes to play. The Baker-led offense was short lived, however. After
the Gators moved 48 yards in 8 plays to score LeCount, Bellard returned
his 1st unit to the affair with his 31-14 advantage. Walker, Woodard.
Brothers, Dickey and Company promptly moved 55 yards in five plays to
score the game's final TD on Walker's pitch to Woodard.
With :14 remaining, Florida almost scored. A Kynes pass bounced from the
arms of Aggie cornerback Mike Williams into the hands of Chandler for
an apparent TD in the A&M endzone. It was overruled by an official, who
charged the Gators with offensive interference. It was only third down
and there was some confusion as to why A&M was rewarded the ball. The
reason: offensive pass interference in the endzone is an automatic
That was it for the Gators, leaving Dickey to wrestle for words in his
post-game barrage of the Aggie. Not the happy Ags, who will return home
with a 10-2 record and wondering if perhaps they will move up
considerably in the AP final Ton Ten charts.