In similar fashion to my five favorite games from a Gator perspective, here are my five least favorite Florida-Florida State games.
2011 Florida 7- Florida State 21
After holding the Florida State offense to under a 100 yards in the game, the Gators still managed to find a way to lose this one. It was the culmination of a tough stretch of games against top 5 ranked defenses where the Gators couldn’t survive four quarters of football. They had been beaten up previously by Georgia and South Carolina where they were worn down on both sides of the line of scrimmage and just didn’t have enough left in the tank to pull this one out.
In the post-game press conference, head coach Will Muschamp famously called out his team’s character by calling them “soft”. The most telling moment came late in the game when the Gators had the ball on fourth and one deep in Seminole territory where they tried to run a quarterback sneak with Trey Burton in at wildcat, he was stopped initially and tried to reverse field but was stopped for a fourteen yard loss.
It’s always tough to lose to your rival at home, but when your defense holds the opponent to under 100 yards total offense and you’re still beaten handily, that’s the worst.
2003 Florida 34- Florida State 38
In the absolute worst display of officiating I have ever seen, the Seminoles stole one in Gainesville in 2003. It was certaily exciting with lead changes back and forth and a winning touchdown pass at the end, but the referees were absolutely retarded in this one.
The all ACC officiating crew repeatedly screwed up calls either erroneously claiming a player that had fumbled was down or erroneously ruling a fumble when a player was down. They even falsely ruled that Leon Washington had recovered a fumble at the Gators goal line when Channing Crowder actually came out of the pile with the football. To add insult to injury they gave Crowder a personal foul for spiking the ball after the play when they ruled it a Seminole recovery.
Then turning worse matters to worst, they failed to call interference on the winning touchdown pass when it was obvious to everybody in attendance but the officials that P.K. Sam had pushed off on safety Gus Scott before catching the ball in the end zone.
1987 Florida 14- Florida State 28
The first of the two they played that season, the Gators came in to Tallahassee top ranked and favored over the second ranked Seminoles. The Seminoles jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead. The Seminole defense commenced to beating up quarterback Danny Wuerffel hitting him a total of 32 times in the game prompting the now famous slogan “hitting to the echo of the whistle” and led to subsequent incessant complaining by Spurrier about the lack of calls in that one.
Spurrier made adjustments at halftime and the Gators climbed back into it cutting the Seminole lead to 24-21 with just over a minute to go. An on-side kick attempt failed and the Seminoles were able to run out the clock for the upset, setting the table for the rematch in the Sugar Bowl won by the Gators 52-20 giving them their first national championship.
1995 Sugar Bowl Florida 17- Florida State 23 The Fifth Quarter
In the first of the Florida-Florida State Sugar Bowl rematches affectionately billed “the fifth quarter”, the Seminoles came out victorious. This game was a rematch of the “choke at Doak” game where the Seminoles came back to tie the Gators at the end of the game. Florida had dominated the regular season game and expected to come out in this one and dominate as well.
Gator fans and players alike groused about having to play a team they had all but beat earlier in the season. When the game began, however, both teams tried to show the first game was a fluke and put everything on the table. Warrick Dunn threw a 73 yard flea flicker touchdown pass, Spurrier pulled out the old Emory and Henry formation, Wuerffel threw and 82 yard strike to Ike Hilliard and both teams tried their best to light up the scoreboard. In the end, the Seminoles survived an onside kick at the end to win the “fifth quarter” rematch. Afterward, Bobby Bowden said
“I do not want to play them twice ever again unless I’m coaching at Mississippi State or something.”
In an odd twist of fate, that exact thing would take place two years later in the same bowl, but this time with higher stakes.
1994 Florida 31- Florida State 31 The Choak at Doak
In the first matchup in the regular season, the Gators dominated for three quarters. Leading 31-3 at the start of the fourth quarter in Tallahassee, the Gators were cruising to victory when disaster struck. The biggest comeback in college football history which will forever be known as “The Choak at Doak”.
Spurrier had come out in five wide sets that the Noles hadn’t seen and moved the ball at will for three quarters. The defense had been dominant as well and Noles quarterback Danny Kanell seemingly couldn’t do anything right. By the fourth quarter, Spurrier had pulled the plug on the offense hoping to shorten the game and get out of there. The Florida defense went into a prevent against the Seminoles who had went to a shotgun set and started throwing screens and short passes to take advantage.
What happened was the Gator offense repeatedly stalled as they had lost their rhythm and intensity, while the Seminole offense started making first downs and got a couple of quick scores. Suddenly, the Seminoles were back in the game and had the momentum. The Seminole defense was renergized and kept holding the Gators to three and outs and the Noles came back to tie the game in the end.
When it was over, Gator players and coaches said they felt like they had lost, while Seminole players and coaches felt like they had won the game. This one will forever burn in the hearts of all Gator fans.
Feel free to leave a comment with your five least favorite Florida-Florida State games.