1958 Florida Gators football
Gator Bowl, L 3–7 vs. Ole Miss
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Ranking
CoachesNo. 15
APNo. 14
1958 record6–4–1 (2–3–1 SEC)
Head coach
Home stadiumFlorida Field
(Capacity: 43,000)[1]
Seasons
← 1957
1959 →
1958 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 1 LSU $ 6 0 0 11 0 0
No. 4 Auburn 6 0 1 9 0 1
No. 11 Ole Miss 3 2 0 9 2 0
Vanderbilt 2 1 3 5 2 3
Tennessee 4 3 0 4 6 0
Alabama 3 4 1 5 4 1
Kentucky 3 4 1 5 4 1
No. 14 Florida 2 3 1 6 4 1
Georgia Tech 2 3 1 5 4 1
Georgia 2 4 0 4 6 0
Tulane 1 5 0 3 7 0
Mississippi State 1 6 0 3 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1958 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1958 NCAA University Division football season. The season was the ninth of ten for Bob Woodruff as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. Woodruff's 1958 Florida Gators finished with an overall record of 6–4–1 and a Southeastern Conference (SEC) record of 2–3–1, placing eighth in the twelve-member SEC.[2]

Before the season

The prospects for the 1958 season were devastated by Bernie Parrish deciding to play baseball with the Cincinnati Reds.[3] The Gators were led by quarterback Jimmy Dunn, defensive back Don Fleming, halfback and punter Bobby Joe Green and All-American tackle Vel Heckman.

Schedule

DateOpponentRankSiteResultAttendance
September 20TulaneW 34–1426,641
September 27No. 11 Mississippi StateNo. 18
  • Florida Field
  • Gainesville, FL
L 7–1431,102
October 10at UCLA*W 21–1431,175
October 18VanderbiltdaggerNo. 18
  • Florida Field
  • Gainesville, FL
T 6–640,105
October 25at No. 3 LSUL 7–1062,000
November 1No. 4 Auburn
  • Florida Field
  • Gainesville, FL (rivalry)
L 5–636,474
November 8vs. GeorgiaNo. 19W 7–638,234
November 15Arkansas State*No. 18
  • Florida Field
  • Gainesville, FL
W 51–719,030
November 22Florida State*No. 12
  • Florida Field
  • Gainesville, FL (rivalry)
W 21–744,403
November 29vs. Miami (FL)*No. 14
  • Gator Bowl Stadium
  • Jacksonville, FL (rivalry)
W 12–924,641
December 27vs. No. 11 Ole Miss*No. 14
L 3–741,312
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game

Primary source: 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide.[2]

Attendance figures: University of Florida 1959 Football Brochure.[4]

Roster

Game summaries

Tulane

The season opened with a 34–14 conference wins over the Tulane Green Wave

Mississippi State

The first disappointment of the season came in the second week, when the Gators lost 7–14 to the eleventh-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs.

UCLA

In the third week of play, Florida had an intersectional victory over the UCLA Bruins 21–14 on the road in Los Angeles, California.

Vanderbilt

Florida tied Vanderbilt 6–6.

LSU

Florida–LSU
1 234Total
Florida 0 007 7
#3 LSU 0 703 10

The Gators lost to the eventual consensus national champion LSU Tigers at the latter's homecoming. The Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak to the Gators with a 10–7 defensive struggle that came down to the last three minutes of play.[7] The game featured one of the strongest rushing teams in the nation against one of the league's best run defenses. The Tigers, led by halfbacks Billy Cannon and Johnny Robinson, averaged 220 yards rushing per game. The Gators had held their previous opponents to an average of 65 yards rushing per game. LSU was favored by two touchdowns.[5] Bill Kastelz, the sports editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union, wrote that Heckman's play reached All-American levels against No. 3-ranked LSU on October 25, 1958.[8]

Auburn

In a 5–6 loss to fourth-ranked Auburn, an injury to a Florida tackles led Woodruff to employ the unorthodox strategy of shifting Heckman between right and left tackle.[9] Bill Kastelz, the sports editor of the Jacksonville Times-Union, wrote: "Big, fast and tough, he outshone all of Auburn's great linemen."[8] According to Auburn coach Shug Jordan, "There should be a law to prevent things like that. We were supposed to run plays where Heckman wasn't, and he's there now."[10]

Coach Bob Woodruff's Gators and coach Shug Jordan's Tigers played nine games against each other between 1951 and 1959, only three of which were decided by more than ten points. However, none was closer than the game between the unranked Gators and the defending national champions and fourth-ranked Tigers in 1958, a game in which neither team scored more than six points.[11] Late in the fourth quarter, with the Tigers leading 6–3 on the strength of a single touchdown and a missed extra point, the stingy Gators defense pinned the Tigers offense behind their own three-yard-line.[12] Rather than risk a turnover, Jordan ordered Tigers quarterback Johnny Kern to kneel in their own end zone, intentionally scoring a safety for the Gators, but earning a free punt for the Tigers.[12] The Tigers kicked it away, and their defense held on to win 6–5.[13]

Georgia

The Gators beat the rival Georgia Bulldogs 7–6.

Arkansas State

Florida beat Arkansas State 51–7.

Florida State

1 234Total
Florida State 7 000 7
Florida 7 1400 21

The Gators had a 21–7, first-time victory over the new in-state rival Florida State Seminoles[14][15]

Miami

The season included a 12–9 upset of the Miami Hurricanes.

Postseason

The Gators capped the year with a season-ending 3–7 loss to the eleventh-ranked Ole Miss Rebels in a defensive struggle in the December 1958 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

References

  1. ^ Department of Sports Publicity. "University of Florida 1958 Football Brochure" (PDF). floridagators.com. University Athletic Association, Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived 2015-12-08 at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 107 (2015). Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  3. ^ Golenbock, Go Gators!, p. 109
  4. ^ Department of Sports Publicity. "University of Florida 1959 Football Brochure" (PDF). floridagators.com. University Athletic Association, Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b Mercer, Bailey (October 25, 1958). "Eyes of SEC Focused on Tonight's Tigertown Tilt". The Times-Picayune. p. 17.
  6. ^ Martinez, Harry (October 26, 1958). "LSU 10-7 Winners – Davis' Boot is Difference". The Times-Picayune. pp. 1, 4.
  7. ^ "2001 LSU Football Media Guide" (PDF). LSUsports.net. LSU Publications Office. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Florida Tackle Heckman Among All-America Candidates". St. Petersburg Times. November 7, 1958. p. 5C.
  9. ^ "Heckman Lauded for Great Play". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. November 3, 1958. p. 10.
  10. ^ "Heckman Best Florida Lineman Since Barrow". The Miami News. November 25, 1958. p. 4D.
  11. ^ 2011 Auburn Tigers Football Media Guide, Auburn Athletics Department, Auburn, Alabama, pp. 178−189, 191 (2011). Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Tom McEwen, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974).
  13. ^ Norris Anderson, "Auburn Holds Desperately, Turns Back Florida 6 To 5", The Miami News, pp. 1C & 5C (November 2, 1958). Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  14. ^ NoleFan.org
  15. ^ "FSU Played Well But Gators Played Better Says Nugent." Ocala Star-Banner. 1958 Nov 23.

Additional sources