Florida Vs. Auburn: Great Moments In the Underrated Rivalry

Michael OleszekAnalyst IAugust 15, 2008

When SEC football rivalries are talked about, most people mention the Iron Bowl, Florida-Georgia, or Alabama-Tennessee.

Well, after Georgia, Auburn is actually Florida's second-longest rivalry.  The Tigers lead the series slightly all-time over Florida.

For many Gator fans, the Tigers are a forgotten rival, or not even a rival at all.  Tennessee, Florida State, and even Miami are considered to be bigger rivals.

Before the SEC expanded in 1992 and split into Eastern and Western divisions, Auburn had an annual rivalry with the boys from Gainesville.  Auburn stopped playing Florida every year in 2002, when the SEC scheduling geniuses decided that two rotating opponents on the schedule would be better than years of tradition.

Auburn and Florida now only play four times every 10 years unless they meet in the SEC Championship game.  They have only met in Atlanta once, with the Gators winning 28-6.

The series has not been without its defining moments. There have been blowouts, last-second heroics, and devastating heartbreaks.

Here are just some of the moments that make the Florida-Auburn rivalry what it is.

1966: Florida 30, Auburn 27

Steve Spurrier clinches both the game and the Heisman Trophy by kicking a 40-yard game-winning field goal.

1973: Florida 12, Auburn 8

Florida gets its first win in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

1976: Florida 24, Auburn 19

Wes Chandler weaves his way through at least eight tacklers on his way to a 52-yard touchdown before being bitten on the shoulder pad by Auburn's War Eagle IV.

1985: Florida 14, Auburn 10

The Gators hold Auburn great Bo Jackson to 48 yards, and the win over Auburn sends Florida to its first No. 1 ranking in school history.

1986: Florida 18, Auburn 17

Kerwin Bell comes off the bench and combines with Ricky Nattiel to send the Tigers home with a loss in arguably the greatest comeback in Gators history.

1989: Auburn 10, Florida 7

The Auburn Tigers send Emmitt Smith and the Gators home with another loss.  Emmitt Smith would not beat Auburn in his career as a Gator.

1990: Florida 48, Auburn 7

Auburn comes into the Swamp unbeaten and ranked No. 4 before leaving with the worst defeat in Pat Dye's career.  It was the largest winning margin ever for the Gators over Auburn.

1993: Auburn 38, Florida 35

The best team money could buy upsets the Gators on a rainy day in Auburn on a late-game field goal, despite giving up 560 yards of total offense to the high-powered Gator offense. 

1994: Auburn 36, Florida 33

The threat of the bench for Terry Dean isn't enough motivation as he lives down to expectations, throwing four interceptions and paving the way for Danny Wuerffel to come in and take over at QB.

Wuerffel completes his first nine passes and throws three touchdowns to take the lead before a crucial interception gives Patrick Nix the ball—and enough time to hit Frank Sanders with an eight-yard game winner that knocks off the No. 1 Florida Gators.

1995: Florida 49, Auburn 38

Three minutes into the game, Auburn leads 10-0 and looks ready to make it three in a row over Florida, but then the Gators get rolling to pay back the Tigers on their way to the first undefeated regular season in school history.

2000: Florida 38, Auburn 7 and Florida 28, Auburn 6

Rex Grossman torches the Tigers for nine touchdowns in two games as the Gators beat Auburn twice, including once for the SEC Championship—the last of Steve Spurrier's career.

2001: Auburn 23, Florida 20

Another year, another setback.  This time, Florida comes in ranked No. 1 in the country, and Auburn pulls the shocker.  Payback was in order for the Tigers after losing to Florida twice the previous season.  Damon Duval knocks home the game-winner from 44 yards out to upset the Gators.

2002: Florida 30, Auburn 23

The Gators lead 23-7 in the fourth quarter before Ronnie Brown and Auburn roar back to tie the game at 23.  Damon Duval tries to knock out the Gators for the second year in a row, but Bobby McCray's blocked kick sends the game to overtime.

In OT, Taylor Jacobs brings the Gators back with a 25-yard touchdown catch that provides the difference in the last annual meeting between the two teams.

2006: Auburn 27, Florida 17

Florida rolls into Jordan-Hare Stadium undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the nation but leaves with the only loss of their National Championship season.  Florida keeps Auburn's offense out of the end zone all night, but four John Vaughn field goals and Tre Smith's blocked punt return for a TD pace the Tigers to the upset—not to mention a questionable fumble by Chris Leak and a fluke touchdown as time expires.

2007: Auburn 20, Florida 17

The Auburn Tigers shut down the high-powered Gators in the first half, holding them scoreless before the break.  Wes Byrum kicks the game-winning field goal (twice) and knocks off the defending champs, despite the furious comeback led by Tim Tebow and some timeout shenanigans by Urban Meyer.


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