VETTEL: Gators 2006 By The Numbers

With a month to go until the National Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona, let’s take a look at the individual numbers that stand out as some of this year’s Florida Gators take aim on the UF record book.

Urban Meyer: The second-year Gator coach is the first in UF history to post 21 wins in his first 25 games at the helm. Meyer’s 21-4 mark is one game better than Steve Spurrier’s 20-5 at this stage. Spurrier lost his game #26, but then won the next seven. Galen Hall was 18-1-1 after 20 games but then lost four straight. He ended up 19-5-1 after 25 games. Charley Pell was 9-15-1 at this point of his tenure. Doug Dickey started out 13-12 while Ray Graves posted a 15-9-1 record.

Chris Leak: Amazingly Florida’s senior quarterback will start the bowl game with exactly 11,000 passing yards. That’s 125 yards more than Danny Wuerffel had at UF, but Wuerffel passed for 955 yards in three bowl games, but while Leak’s bowl stats count, Wuerffel’s don’t. Leak leads UF in every meaningful category except TD passes where his 87 is still 27 shy of the career total 114 for Wuerffel. Add in 13 rushing touchdowns and Leak has been responsible for exactly 100 touchdowns as a Gator. That’s 22 behind Wuerffel, but only one shy of Peyton Manning for third in SEC history.

Dallas Baker: Dallas has caught 147 passes in his career, leaving him two shy of tying Chris Doering for fourth place at UF. Seven receptions against Ohio State would push Baker past Doering and Errict Rhett (153) into third place. Baker has caught 20 touchdown passes, which ranks ninth in UF history. He needs two to tie his uncle, Wes Chandler.

DeShawn Wynn: It has been a strange up-and-down career for the senior runner from Cincinnati. Still, Wynn has put together a pretty solid four years at Florida. His 2,008 rushing yards ranks 13th at UF, but he can move up two slots with just 19 yards against Ohio State. Wynn ranks even higher with his 24 rushing touchdowns. That total ties Larry Smith for seventh at UF and one more would tie him with Buford Long for sixth place.

Eric Wilbur: Wilbur is the puntingest Gator of all time, topping the All-time list with 227 punts and 9,723 yards. Wilbur’s career average of 42.8 trails only Ray Criswell in UF history. If you were wondering about Wilbur catching Criswell for the best punting average, don’t look for that to happen. He would have to punt ten times against Ohio State and average 84 yards on those kicks.

Ryan Smith: Florida’s summertime gift transfer from Utah has been a godsend for the Gator secondary. His eight interceptions have only been topped once in UF history. Keiwan Ratliff picked off nine passes in 2003, so one pick in Arizona will allow Smith to tie that single season record.

Team Offense: The 2006 Gators have the sixth best yards per play (6.5) in UF history. Their 21 rushing touchdowns are tied for ninth best and the team completion percentage of .633 ties the third best ever in Gainesville.

Team Defense: The Gators of ‘06 are the second best in UF history allowing just 74.5 yards per game on the ground. Only the ‘97 Gators (70.7) posted a better mark and the difference can be attributed to a minus-56 game against Arkansas that year. The Gators’ 20 interceptions ties for the seventh best total over the years.

All in all it certainly has not been a record-breaking season of domination for the Gators, but they do have some impressive numbers. However there is one record in sight that would trump all the others. The Gators are one win from becoming the first Florida team to win 13 games.