Last week we threw a bit of a change-up to the Flashback Friday series by looking at an entire rivalry instead of a single game. This week, it seems fitting to keep that approach going, as one of the biggest rivalries in college football will play its 92nd or 93rd meeting, depending on which team you ask.
Georgia claims this rivalry began in 1904, but Florida claims it began in 1915. Regardless of who is right, this series is one of the most intriguing in all of college football because of the atmosphere Jacksonville has provided to the series and, of course, some of the historic moments that have happened on the field during this series.
Let’s take a look back at a few of the biggest moments and games in this rivalry:
1980: Georgia 26, Florida 21
This game will forever live on in Georgia folklore. The Dawgs were ranked second in the country and running back Herschel “My God a Freshman” Walker was the talk of college football. Down 21-20 late in the game with their backs against the wall on third down from their own 8, it wasn’t Herschel but two other players that combined to create one of the most iconic moments in not only Georgia history, but also college football history. The iconic call by Larry Munson made the moment what it was:
Buck Belue rolled out and hit Lindsey Scott on what looked like a short pass, but Scott turned and ran to his left. He just kept running up the left sideline past the Florida defense, on a play that was dubbed “Run Lindsey Run.” Georgia would go on to win the game and the national championship.
1993: Florida 33, Georgia 26
Steve Spurrier had only been the coach at Florida since 1990, but he had immediately made his mark on this series by winning his first three games. The 1993 game is called “The Timeout Game” because it looked like quarterback Eric Zeier and Georgia had tied the game with just five seconds left. From the 12 yard line, Zeier fired the ball over the middle for a TD but apparently a Florida corner had called a timeout just moments before the snap (fast forward to the 5 minute mark in the video below)….
The timeout was awarded and Georgia was given the ball back on the 12. With one last heave to the end zone, pass interference was called against Florida and Georgia had yet one more chance. The last-chance pass by Zeier fell incomplete, and the Gators held on in one of the most controversial games of the series. Florida would go on to win the SEC championship this season.
2002: Florida 20, Georgia 13
Steve Spurrier left Florida after 12 years and just one loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. 2002 was Georgia’s year to shine: The Bulldogs came into this game 8-0 and ranked No. 5 in the country. Under Ron Zook, the Gators had started 5-3 and didn’t appear to be headed in the right direction.
Florida upset Georgia, giving the Dawgs their only loss of the season. Georgia would go on to finish the season 13-1 and win the SEC championship. For Georgia fans, this was the game that got away from them during the Mark Richt era. A win would have likely put Georgia in the national championship game and possibly would have given Richt the national title that has eluded him at Georgia.
2007: Georgia 42, Florida 30
Since 1990, this rivalry had turned sharply in the favor of Florida. The Gators had won 15 of the last 17 meetings and Georgia was looking for a spark. Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno took the ball over the top for the first score of the game, and then this happened:
It was a surreal moment and it did help spark Georgia, as the Bulldogs won the game convincingly.
The “Gator Stomp” left a bad taste in Urban Meyer’s mouth, and Meyer used it as motivation for Florida as the teams headed into this game in 2008. The result? In a game that pitted two Top-10 teams against each other, Florida took a 14-3 lead and blitzed Georgia in the second half, finishing the game with a 49-10 victory. Oh, yeah, there’s this other minor note, too: Meyer called two timeouts right before the end of the lopsided game to allow the moment to linger, sticking it to his rival just a little bit.
While the Gators have owned much of the recent history of this series (thanks to Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer), Georgia still holds a nine- or ten-game advantage in the series depending on who you listen to. More importantly, the rivalry’s momentum has swung back to Georgia: The Bulldogs have won three straight games.
This year’s game features a coach seemingly at the end of his tenure (Florida’s Will Muschamp) and a Georgia team that still has an outside chance at getting into the first ever College Football Playoff. On paper the game this year looks like a W for Georgia, but you have to wonder if it will play out to be yet another intriguing chapter in the history of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.