Click HERE for second round results.
Click HERE for third round results.
(269) 1985 UCLA - 17
RB Gaston Green, QB David Norrie, WR Karl Dorrell, and the rest of the UCLA offense was held in check and never really challenged the Fighting Irish.
(141) 2001 Florida - 31
(116) 1987 Syracuse - 21
Quarterback Don McPherson didn't have another comeback in him as the Orangemen dug a hole too deep to climb out of.
(13) 1988 Notre Dame - 27
(141) 2001 Florida - 30
Notre Dame team had a number of huge wins during the 1988 season. But at this point in The Greatest Tournament of All Time, everybody has big wins to hang their hats on and your past results don't get you anything.
Steve Spurrier made it known early in the game that his athletic defense wasn't going to allow Tony Rice and company to move the ball at will. In fact, Lito Sheppard intercepted a pass intended for Rocket Ismail on the first play from scrimmage and returned it for a touchdown to set the tempo.
The Florida defense then forced a three-and-out which was followed by a four play, 66 yard touchdown drive that took just over a minute of game time. Rex Grossman was 4-for-4 passing on the drive and found Reche Caldwell for the score. With just under 3 minutes off the clock, the underdog Gators had exploded out to a 14-0 lead.
But Lou Holtz settled his Fighting Irish down and the game was on. Rice got the option game going with tailbacks Mark Green and Tony Brooks to the point where Notre Dame was able to get to the century mark on the ground and cut the lead to 20-10 going into halftime.
In the second half, Notre Dame continued to play their way back in the game. Thanks to Grossman's gunslinger mentality, cornerback Todd Lyght was able to pick off two passes in the third quarter. Lyght played a fantastic game, holding Jabar Gaffney to just 2 receptions.
Ricky Watters, a WR on the 1988 Notre Dame team caught a touchdown pass to open the fourth quarter to give the Irish their first lead of the game at 27-23.
But just when it looked like Notre Dame would roll into the Bracket of Champions as expected, Grossman had one last drive to pull off the upset. He guided his team down the field with confidence, utilizing tight ends Aaron Walker and Ben Troupe on three consecutive plays to get the Gators in the red zone.
On the next play, Grossman took the shotgun snap, avoided Chris Zorich, rolled right and threw a 16-yard strike to Robert Gillespie in the end zone for the game winning touchdown.
2001 Florida (#141 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Gators will face the winner of Bracket 52 in the first round.