Round of 32
(seed) year school - score
(156) 1996 Nebraska - 20
The turnover bug bit the '96 Cornhuskers again, and the defense couldn't contain Chris Weinke and company as the '99 Seminoles marched into the Sweet 16.
Weinke burned an aggressive Nebraska secondary to the tune of 312 yards and 3 touchdowns while defensive tackle Corey Simon disrupted the Nebraska offense by collapsing the interior line on nearly every play that he was in the game. Nebraska was only able to run for 161 yards - well below their average - and turning the ball over four times (3 fumbles, 1 interception) didn't help either.
(21) 1991 Washington - 26
(12) 1989 Notre Dame - 20
Speaking of blowing up the option before it has a chance to get moving down the line, Steve Emtman did just that against Tony Rice and the Notre Dame offense.
Rocket Ismail scored both of Notre Dame's touchdowns, one on a 55-yard punt return and the other on a 44-yard reception, but the rest of the Irish offense stalled. Emtman was a thorn in Rice's side, hitting the senior quarterback often just a split second after the ball was snapped. Linebacker Chico Fraley cleaned up the rest of the running game, registering 11 tackles (4 for loss) on Notre Dame running backs Ricky Watters and Anthony Johnson.
For Washington it was just the opposite. Beno Bryant found plenty of room to run, gaining 140 yards behind star offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy. Kennedy and company controlled the line of scrimmage, neutralizing the impact of All America defensive tackle Chris Zorich.
(141) 2001 Florida - 31
(84) 1982 Nebraska - 30
Rex Grossman continued his string of clutch performances while Nebraska continued their stumble here in the Round of 32.
The Nebraska offense exploded out to a 17-0 first quarter lead in which they held a 169-to-27 edge in total yards. But Steve Spurrier didn't let his Gators quit. Spurrier made a gutsy call to go with backup quarterback Brock Berlin after falling behind 17-0, despite the fact that Grossman had been on fire the last three games. Spurrier's gamble worked because Berlin led a touchdown drive (with the aid of a questionable call by the officials that helped take some of the wind out of Nebraska's sails) and when Grossman returned to the game he was more fired up than ever.
Over the final two and a half quarters of the game, Grossman threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, while DT Ian Scott and LB Andra Davis tightened up their assignments against Turner Gill and the Nebraska offense. Despite an offensive line that featured Dave Rimington and Dean Steinkuhler, Florida was able to use their quickness and a series of timely run blitzes to contain Mike Rozier and Roger Craig just enough to put the Fun 'N Gun offense in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter.
And that's exactly what Grossman and the offense did. Robert Gillespie took a swing pass from Grossman 23 yards with just a minute left on the clock for the game winning touchdown.
(36) 2008 Florida - 19
(4) 2001 Miami - 27
Flexing their muscles again, Larry Coker's Hurricanes (by way of Butch Davis' recruiting) found yet another way to win here in the Bracket of Champions. Miami beat Florida at their own game. Kevin Beard returned a punt for a touchdown and Chris Campbell forced a fumble by Brandon James on a punt return that set up another Miami score to give the Hurricanes a big advantage in the special teams department - an area the 2008 Gators typically dominated.
Tim Tebow was largely ineffective against a speedy defense that hammered him on every play, whether he carried the ball or not. Vince Wilfork and company clogged the middle to take away Tebow's advantage in the short yardage game, and linebackers Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, and Chris Campbell were turned loose on the junior quarterback. Tebow finished the game with just 32 rushing yards to go along with 2 interceptions.
Sweet 16 Matchups:
(5) 1999 Florida State vs (21) 1991 Washington
(4) 2001 Miami vs (141) 2001 Florida