This is the second part (the losing portion) of a two-part look at 20 games that have come to define the Florida Gators football program. These games have been bitter pills to swallow for Florida Gators fans.
Here they are:
10. 2005—Florida at Alabama
So far, this is the only blowout loss in Urban Meyer’s three seasons at Florida. Alabama punched them in the mouth all day long, hitting them for a long TD pass on their second offensive series. Alabama never looked back.
Florida’s high-powered offense was stuck in neutral as they could only manage a field goal in a devastating 31-3 loss. This game was eerily reminiscent of the 45-3 beating Steve Spurrier took in his first season as Gators head coach at the hands of Tennessee
9. 1991—Florida at Syracuse
Florida was no match for "The Loud House" of the Carrier Dome. They couldn’t stop Syracuse from the opening kickoff.
A 95-yard return for a touchdown off of a reverse only opened the floodgates as Florida got smoked by the potent Syracuse option offense led by QB Marvin Graves. Syracuse blew the doors off of the Carrier Dome that day in one of the more obscure Florida losses in the Spurrier era, and the only regular season loss of the 1991 season for Florida.
8. 1998—Florida at Florida State
This game was marred by a pre-game fight between both squads, in which FSU lost some walk-on in jeans to an ejection—while Florida lost starting safety Tony George.
Sounds fair, doesn’t it??
Florida came in clinging to slim national title hopes while FSU took advantage of late-season losses by Kansas State and UCLA to appear in the first BCS Championship Game. How intriguing would a Florida-Tennessee rematch in 1998 have been?
7. 2003—Florida vs. Florida State
"The Swindle in the Swamp." Somehow, in spite of shoddy officiating and Chris Rix looking like the second coming, the Gators were almost able to come away with a win in this one thanks to a Herculean effort by TE Ben Troupe, and a solid ballgame by CB Keiwan Ratliff.
6. 2001—Florida vs. Tennessee
If not for the tragedy and horror of 9/11, this game might not be on the list.
Pushed back until December, the UF-UT game was a crushing blow to Florida's title hopes, as Travis Stephens ran over the Gators for 226 yards on their way to the SEC Championship Game. The game sent Steve Spurrier out with a loss in his final home game as Gators head coach.
5. 1997—Florida at LSU
The defending National Champions rolled into Baton Rouge coming off of a huge win against Tennessee and were soundly beaten by the Tigers. The game wasn’t as close as the 28-21 score might indicate, as the Gators were held without a passing touchdown and LSU scored its only win over Steve Spurrier.
4. 2003—Florida at Miami
The Gators shot at redemption for the 2002 beating nearly went up in smoke on the opening kickoff as Devin Hester gave the Hurricanes an early lead. The Gators stormed back and led 33-10 before ex-Gator Brock Berlin led the rally to hand the Gators yet another loss to Miami.
3. 2007—Florida vs. Georgia: Georgia wounded the Gators with Moreno’s first TD, then they proceeded to pour salt in the wound and dance all over it.
Once the Dance Dance Revolution was over with, the Bulldogs straight whipped Florida all over the field. They pushed Florida’s defense around all day, and it set the tone for the Bulldogs run to the BCS.
2. 1996 Fiesta Bowl—Florida vs. Nebraska
The Gators came in undefeated, winners of their third SEC Championship in a row. They had whipped Tennessee, Georgia, and beat Florida State on their way to their first crack at a National Championship.
Unfortunately for them, they ran into arguably the greatest college football team of all time. Tommie Frazier and company smoked the Gators like they were a JV team. How the Huskers ever lost a football game between 1993 and 1997, I have no idea.
1. 1994—Florida at Florida State
Arguably the worst tie/loss/non-win in Florida history.
This is when the Gators were young and ruthless: Sophomore Danny Wuerffel was finally given the keys to the Fun ‘N Gun. Future pros Reidel Anthony, Fred Taylor, and Ike Hilliard were all in their first year in the orange and blue.
The defense was paced by All-American Ellis Johnson. Steve Spurrier had no qualms about running up the score as the Gators led 31-3 going into the fourth quarter.
Then, out of nowhere, the roof caved in.
In the one of the worst quarters of football, those mighty Gators, who had roared like a lion the first 45 minutes were as silent as a church mouse in the fourth quarter. Steve Spurrier must have loosened his visor, Danny Wuerffel did his best Terry Dean impression, and the defense seemed to take every play off down the stretch as the Seminoles were able to salvage a tie that felt more like a win.
The rest of season didn’t seem to matter, as the Gators somehow found a way to upset Alabama to win the SEC before losing to Seminoles again in the Sugar Bowl.