Three Buccaneers have played in the NCAA Championship game.
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Five years ago, almost to the day, Gerald McCoy took the field against current teammates Louis Murphy and Major Wright in the 2009 BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
The game featured Murphy, Wright and the 12-1 Florida Gators against McCoy's unbeaten, 12-0, Oklahoma Sooners. Florida entered the game ranked No. 2 in the country while Oklahoma was ranked No. 1. Despite the rankings, Florida was favored by five-and-a-half points.
All three players were key contributors for their respective teams, and Florida ultimately took the victory, 24-14.
Wright set the tone early with a big hit on wide receiver Manny Johnson in the first quarter. He followed that up with an interception of Sam Bradford just before halftime and totaled nine tackles on the game.
In the second quarter, Murphy caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Tim Tebow to give Florida its first lead, 7-0. It was the last touchdown reception of Murphy's college career. He finished the game with two catches for 44 yards.
Also in the second quarter, McCoy intercepted Tebow – the only interception of McCoy's college or professional career.
The two teams were gridlocked at seven in the second half but Florida would re-gain the lead on a two-yard rush by Percy Harvin in the third quarter. Another touchdown, along with a field goal, in the fourth proved to be too much for Oklahoma.
Following that game, Murphy declared for the NFL Draft and was selected in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders. McCoy and Wright would returned to college, though neither would play in the national championship game again.
The following spring, McCoy and Wright declared for the 2010 NFL Draft. McCoy was selected third overall by the Buccaneers and Wright was picked in the third round by the Bears.
|FACTS FROM THE '09 CHAMPIONSHIP
-Played on Jan. 8, 2009
-Offensive MVP: Offense (Tim Tebow, Florida)
-Defensive MVP: (Carlos Dunlap, Florida)
-Broadcast on FOX
-National anthem sung by Yolanda Adams
-Referee: Ron Cherry