Saturday, October 20, 2018
Colleges

Spurrier's top 10 home game memories at Florida

Steve Spurrier, inventor of "The Swamp," named some of his favorite home games as a Gator — nine that he coached, one that he played, not in any particular order. And if you disagree with his choices (coach, you do recall that 52-14 win over Georgia in 1994 when heavy rains made Florida Field seem like a real swamp, right?), well, he does have an office at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium now.

Florida 50, Oklahoma State 7 (1990)

Spurrier's guys put up half a hundred in his Florida coaching debut. The offense rocked for 567 yards. Shane Matthews, who Spurrier said was a backup on the scout team before he arrived, threw for 332 yards. And so it began.

Florida 48, Auburn 7 (1990)

The Gators squashed No. 4 Auburn's chance to jump to No. 1. Auburn coach Pat Dye said, "When the dam broke, it was like a flood. There was no stopping them."

Florida 35, Tennessee 18 (1991)

The 10th-ranked Gators avenged a 45-3 loss in Knoxville in Spurrier's first season by winning a tense game over the fourth-ranked Vols, clinched by Larry Kennedy's late 44-yard interception return for a touchdown. "They got us there pretty good," Spurrier said. "We got them here."

Florida 35, Kentucky 26 (1991)

Florida clinched its first official SEC title. Spurrier rode on his players' shoulders. The fifth-ranked Gators led only 28-26 late in game, but a prolonged drive, including a key third-down catch from Errict Rhett, put it away. "That was the best drive we ever had at The Swamp," Spurrier said. "Just think if we'd lost that game. We were 35-point favorites. We were 6-0 in the SEC, Kentucky was 0-6. If we'd lost, all the critics would have said the Gators choked again, and we would have. They would have killed me."

Florida 14, Florida State 9 (1991)

No. 5 over No. 3. Beyond loud. Spurrier got on the board against Bobby Bowden in a ferocious defensive game. Gators defensive backs Will White and Del Speer broke up a pass in the Florida end zone to clinch the win. "It was one of the most emotional games I've ever been around as a player or a coach," Spurrier said after the game. "There was constant electricity. Our fans really helped us. No doubt about it."

Florida 62, Tennessee 37 (1995)

The most memorable of the Peyton Manning smackdowns. Manning and No. 8 Tennessee led No. 4 Florida 30-14 in the second quarter. The Gators then scored 48 consecutive points. Danny Wuerffel threw six touchdown passes. It was the most points Tennessee had allowed since 1893.

Florida 35, Florida State 24 (1995)

Wuerffel threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns and No. 3 Florida jumped on Florida State early and held on to complete its first undefeated regular season. "This is for all the Gators, past and present," Spurrier said after the game.

Florida 52, South Carolina 25 (1996)

Spurrier became the all-time wins leader at Florida with 71, eclipsing Ray Graves. "I put that one on the list because of Coach Graves," Spurrier said. "He brought me here, coached me. I gave him a game ball and he gave a nice little talk to the team."

Florida 32, Florida State 29 (1997)

Doug Johnson to Jacquez Green on an audibled curl-and go route, 63 yards, to set up the winning TD. One of the great plays in Florida history. The 10th-ranked Gators wiped out No. 1 Florida State's perfect season and national title hopes. And Spurrier, convinced Florida State was stealing Florida's sideline play signals, alternated Johnson and Noah Brindise at quarterback nearly every play, sending his signals in with them. You had to love it.

Florida 30, Auburn 27 (1966)

The beginning of the legend: Florida senior quarterback Stephen Orr Spurrier kicked a 40-yard field goal late in the game to beat Auburn. The seventh-ranked Gators improved to 7-0. "Shoot, that was the one that won the Heisman for me," Spurrier said. "Guess we'll put that on there. But Georgia kicked our butt the next week. I remember that, too."

Martin Fennelly, Times Sports Columnist

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