The Florida Gators did not have the best of seasons in 1954, but along the way they did pull off one of the biggest upsets in their 48 years of football by defeating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 13-12, in the Atlanta.
The Yellow Jackets came into the game as the fifth-ranked team in the country but could not defeat a spirited Gator squad. To illustrate the polls in 1954 did not make any more sense than the polls in 2010, the Yellow Jackets finished the season ranked No. 11 in the UPI coaches poll and were not ranked in the AP media poll. Georgia Tech did conclude the season with a 14-6 win over Arkansas.
The Gators were going through a period of mediocrity, with a total of just eight wins in the ’53 and 54 seasons. The Gators would not win over six games in a season during the rest of coach Bob Woodruff’s tenure as the Gator coach.
The wire dispatch on the game:
ATLANTA — Jackie Simpson and Mal Hammack led a battling gang of Florida Gators to a 13-12 upset victory over Georgia Tech, the nation’s fifth-ranked football power.
Florida scored first in the third quarter, Simpson racing around right end from the four to climax a 52-yard march. Dick Allen’s conversion made it 7-0.
A little later sub end Buddy Jones of Tech gathered in an Allen pass and ran It back 36 yards to Florida’s 17. Four plays later Bill Brigman sneaked it over from the four.
A fumble by George Volkert on Tech’s 13 led to Florida’s second touchdown. Burgess recovered and six plays later Lance knifed over left tackle with only about eight minutes left in the game.
With less than three minutes remaining, Tech drove 54 yards in four plays to score, but Burton Grant’s conversion attempt was wide and there went Tech’s chance for a tie. Billy Teas, behind good blocking, sped the final 26 yards in that drive.
The Gators are 5-4 in games played on Sept. 25. The wins are over Mississippi State (1976 and 1982) Kentucky (1999 and 2004) along with the Tech win in 1954. Gators had losses to LSU (1937), Ole Miss (1948), Mississippi State (1965) and Alabama (1971).