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Florida's Wuerffel Is Almost Perfect in a 62-14 Victory

September 08, 1996|From Associated Press

Danny Wuerffel answered Coach Steve Spurrier's criticism with near perfection Saturday night, missing on just one pass in leading No. 4 Florida to a 62-14 victory over Georgia Southern at Gainesville, Fla.

Wuerffel completed 15 of 16 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns for the Gators (2-0), a far cry from last week when he missed open receivers and drew the brunt of Spurrier's criticism.

Georgia Southern (1-1), a Division I-AA school, flustered Florida with its flex-bone option attack that took chunks of time off the clock and the kept the score from really getting out of hand.

Wuerffel completed his first 11 passes and finished the first half 14 for 15 for 239 yards. He played one series of the second half and threw one pass, a 28-yard touchdown throw to Jacquez Green for a 42-7 lead.

Wuerffel had a pass efficiency rating of 275.2. His 94% completion percentage was the highest in school history, and his 11 straight completions were the best at Florida since Terry Dean completed 11 straight in 1993 against Arkansas State.

Redshirt freshman Eugene McCaslin, suspended last week for breaking team rules, had a memorable debut by carrying eight times for 116 yards and two touchdowns, including a 63-yard score with 2:46 left.

No. 14 Alabama 20, Southern Mississippi 10--The Crimson Tide defense beat up on Southern Mississippi quarterback Heath Graham throughout to win at Birmingham, Ala.

Alabama (2-0) dominated the first half, registering four sacks and holding Southern Miss to minus-29 yards in offense and just one first down on an overall miserable day for Graham. He finished eight for 26 with the two interceptions and 98 yards as the Golden Eagles (1-1) finished with 109 yards in total offense.

"Their defensive backs were the best I've ever seen," Graham said. "I've been playing football a long time, and those guys were good. Their defensive line must be pretty good too, because they got to me all day."

Defensive lineman Chris Hood had three sacks, Michael Myers added two and Ozell Powell had one more as Alabama completely frustrated the Southern Miss offense.

After Harold Shaw ran around left end for 12 yards on the Eagles' first play of the third quarter, Southern Miss didn't register another first down. Only one more play--a two-yard run--went for positive yardage. The rest of the 12 second-half plays resulted in incomplete passes or losses.

No. 17 Louisiana State 35, Houston 34--Kevin Faulk, originally suspended for this game at Baton Rogue, La., ran for 246 yards, returned four punts for 106 yards and scored three touchdowns.

The late rally gave LSU (1-0) its first victory in a season opener since 1990, although Houston (1-1) kept the crowd of 80,303--the biggest ever for a season opener--sweating it out.

Faulk, who rushed for 234 yards in the Independence Bowl last year, carried 21 times. He scored on a three-yarder in the first quarter, an 80-yard run to open the third quarter and a 78-yard punt return to open the fourth period, cutting a 34-14 deficit to 34-21.

LSU Coach Gerry DiNardo suspended him for one game after Faulk, a sophomore from Carencro, La., was arrested Feb. 19 outside a bar in his home town and charged with two counts of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and failure to move. Police dropped the charges on Thursday, prompting DiNardo to reinstate Faulk, LSU's leading rusher last season as a freshman.

With LSU trailing 34-28 after Kendall Cleveland's one-yard run, Rondell Mealey, scheduled to start in place of Faulk, scored the winning touchdown on a 36-yard run with 3:22 left in the game. Mealey rushed for 161 yards in 14 carries.

Mississippi State 31, Memphis 10--Keffer McGee rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs opened their season with a victory at Memphis, Tenn.

McGee got his career rushing high in 23 carries, most of them in the first half. The junior tailback did not play in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs capitalized on several big plays, including a 99-yard fumble recovery return by Izell McGill in the fourth quarter as Memphis (0-2) was trying to cut the Bulldogs' lead to a touchdown.

Cincinnati 24, Kentucky 3--The Bearcats used a smothering defense and a steady performance from quarterback Chad Plummer to beat the Wildcats at Cincinnati.

Plummer, often operating from the shotgun, helped the Bearcats (1-1) roll up 347 total yards, compared to 173 for Kentucky (0-2).

Mississippi 31, VMI 7--Artie Moore rushed 19 times for 112 yards and a touchdown at Jackson, Miss., as the Rebels beat their second straight I-AA opponent. Mississippi led, 28-0, at halftime.

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