The 1959 Florida Gators got off to a 3-0-1 with a 14-13 victory over Mississippi State on this date.
As it turned out, the Gators would finish 5-4-1 that season, the last one for coach Bob Woodruff, who remained as athletic director when the Gators welcomed Ray Graves as their head coach.
Wooduff’s record for the 10 seasons was 53-42-6. Four times, his teams finished in the AP Top 20 rankings and Florida had only two losing seasons. In the SEC, the Gators’ overall 29-32-4 record included a 6-4 edge against rival Georgia. Florida would earn its first postseason bid – to the Gator Bowl following the 1952 season when the Gators went 8-3 but finished sixth in the SEC at 3-3. Florida’s best finish in the SEC was a solo third (5-2) during a 6-3-1 1956 campaign.
Here is the wire report on the opening game:
GAINESVILLE FL. — Florida turned apparent defeat into a 14-13 victory over Mississippi State Saturday with eight points in the closing minutes on a blocked kick that Dan Edgington ran back for a touchdown and Dick Allen’s pass for two extra points.
Mississippi State, underdog by two touchdowns, seemed to have the game sewed up when Bill Schoenrock dropped back to punt from his 30-yard line with just over four minutes to play. Danny Royal, a Florida tackle, blocked the punt and Edgington grabbed the ball on the 21 and sprinted across the goal line.
Florida had one player – Dave Hudson – named to the All-SEC first team.
The Gators have played nine games on this date, posting a 6-2-1 record. The Gators have enjoyed wins over Randolph Macon (1942), Mississippi State (1959, 1964, 1987) and Kentucky (1998, 2009). The two losses were to Alabama (1970) and Mississippi State (1981) and the tie was against Georgia Tech in 1953.