As the Florida Gators prepare for the January 2nd match-up against the Louisville Cardinals in the All State Sugar Bowl, HailFloridaHail takes a look back at some memorable Gator Sugar Bowl appearances. In this episode, we take a look bacl at the 1994 Sugar Bowl game when Florida took on the West Virginia Mountaineers.
West Virginia came in undefeated and looking to lay claim to a share of a national title while the Gators came in at 10-2 and champions of the SEC. The two teams played close through the first quarter. Tied at 7 early in the second quarter, Monte Grow put himself into Gator lore with a couple of plays in a three play sequence where he changed the course of the game. First was his big hit on West Virginia quarterback Darren Studstill. As a good dual threat quarterback, Studstill had been hurting the Gators with some big scrambles. On this play he dropped to pass but quickly broke off and attempted to take the ball up the middle. As he passed the line of scrimmage he was met by safety Grow who put a textbook monstrous hit on Studstill, face up just underneath his chin strap. He laid him out and the sound of the collision was audible to the television audience as it happened and on replay. It likely caused some sort of mild concussion to Studstill because he appeared somewhat disoriented after the play.
On the next play he badly missed a receiver open on a quick out. After the play he fumbled with his chin strap which hung limply from the top of his face mask inside the face mask. He came to the line of scrimmage with it still hanging as if he didn’t even realize it was hanging like that despite it being right in his face. He eventually called a timeout on the play. After the timeout, he dropped to pass again where he was met once again by Grow as he let the ball fly. The ball sailed like a dying quail into the arms of safety Lawrence Wright who zigged and zagged his way to the end zone for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
After the hit Studstill was never the same nor was the West Virginia football team, as the Gators came out in the second half and dominated the remainder of the game. The Gators went on to win 41-7 removing any hope West Virginia had of a national championship.
The Gators ended up rushing for 201 yards in the game behind Errict Rhett’s 25 carries for 105 yards, and passing for 280 behind Terry Dean’s 244 yards and one touchdown, totalling 481 yards of offense overall. Conversely, the Gator defense harassed West Virginia into a 16-40 passing performance for a meager 143 yards and only 265 yards of total offense.
Check out the video of Monty Grow’s big hit and the sequence leading to the go ahead touchdown.