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Vol Villains Round One: Danny Wuerffel vs. Tim Tebow

One made such a strong impression that I can still spell his unusual name right on the first try fifteen years later. The other played in the following decade under an even brighter spotlight, which refuses to allow us to forget him any time soon. Both burned a hole in some very good Vol defenses.

Danny Wuerffel

  • As a freshman, won a 41-34 shootout against Heath Shuler, UT's only regular season loss.
  • As a sophomore, he beat Todd Helton and the Vols 31-0, the last team to shutout Tennessee.
  • As a junior, he played possum for two quarters before unleashing the fury in a Gainesville downpour: 29 of 39 for 381 yards and six touchdowns.
  • As a senior, he watched Florida pick up where it left off and didn't have to do much work: he threw for only 155 yards but got four touchdowns, including one on 4th and 11 on the opening drive that set the tone. Manning threw for 492 yards and set a school record for attempts that still stands today (65), but he threw four interceptions that Wuerffel didn't. With Wuerffel directing the Fun 'n Gun, Florida outscored Tennessee 76-14 in the second half of '95 and the first half of '96. If you were too young for this, it's hard to fully describe the anguish and helplessness of knowing the Vols were so good and yet watching Wuerffel carve them up backyard football style.
  • Wuerffel went 4-0 against Tennessee with 4 SEC Championships, the 1996 National Championship, and the 1996 Heisman Trophy. He is the reason Peyton Manning is only a one-time first team All-SEC/All-American, and one can argue is one of the reasons bored voters didn't award Peyton the Heisman the following year.
  • Nice guy, though.

Tim Tebow

  • You may have heard of him.
  • As a freshman, his late conversion on 4th and 1 helped the Gators beat the Vols 21-20, en route to a National Championship.
  • As a sophomore - who, at the time, no one was exactly sure what he could do as the full-time starter - he led the worst beating of my lifetime, 59-20 over the Vols, with 14 of 19 passing for 299 yards and 2 TDs, plus another 61 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. This game created a monster at our expense.
  • As a junior - like Wuerffel as a senior against us, but even moreso - he simply got out of his team's way. He was just 8 of 15 for 96 yards and the Vols took him away on the ground, 12 carries for 27 yards...and Florida won 30-6. I didn't think they were any good. They won the National Championship.
  • As a senior, he wasn't spectacular statistically again, but got the job done: 14 of 19 for 115 through the air, 24 carries for 76 yards on the ground, and another Gator victory.
  • Though Eric Berry picked him off twice, Tebow did go head-to-head with him in the open field in 2009, and came away with a draw.
  • Tebow went 4-0 against Tennessee, with 2 SEC Championships, 2 National Championships, and the 2007 Heisman Trophy.
  • Nice guy, though.