By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The city of Jacksonville will get its annual rowdiness booster this weekend when Florida and Georgia come to town.
About time Jacksonville gets excited about some football. If top-ranked Georgia wins, it will be a game closer from claiming the SEC East and continuing its unbeaten season.
If the Gators are able to spoil all of that momentum, it will make up for what I’m forecasting to be a mediocre season.
Here’s a look at the five best all-time moments from the World’s Largest Cocktail Party.
- THE TIMEOUT: Let’s start it off with one of the most controversial endings in college football history.
In a game which featured consistent rain, the Bulldogs were down 33-26 in the fourth quarter. But with the help of quarterback Eric Zeier, the Bulldogs drove into Florida territory with 1:30 left.
With five seconds left, Zeier threw what was thought as the game-tying touchdown to Jerry Jerman, but Gators cornerback Anthone Lott called timeout right before the ball was snapped.
Zeier’s next and final pass fell incomplete, and Florida held on to the victory and went on to win the SEC and Sugar Bowl.
- THE GATOR STOMP: After years of Gator wins, Georgia’s head coach Mark Richt decided to change things up.
To start, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno scored to give the Bulldogs the 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Then, the entire team came into the end zone to celebrate with Moreno, which is now referred to as the “Gator Stomp.”
That move gave the Bulldogs the motivation it needed to take down the defending national champions with a 42-30 win.
Moreno ended the day with 188 yards on the ground, and the Bulldogs defense sacked Florida’s Tim Tebow six times.
- HALF A 100: In 1994, the battle was moved to Gainesville because Jacksonville’s stadium was being used by the Jags and in return the battle took place in Athens in ‘95.
Georgia was 5-3 and limping through head coach Ray Goff’s final year.
Florida was undefeated and coach Steve Spurrier – at the height of his cockiness – decided he wanted the Gators to be the first team to “hang half a hundred between the hedges.” The Gators scored seven touchdowns and accomplished that goal with 1:21 left in the game.
- TIMEOUTS: Georgia had won the year before in a game where the entire team ran into the end zone to celebrate the first touchdown.
Although the Gators did not discuss their anger, they were seething and a picture of the celebration hung in every player’s locker.
Each team had one loss when they met in 2008 and the winner would be in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East and have a possible shot at the national title.
The Gators jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead and then Georgia imploded in the second half, turning the ball over four times.
Florida capitalized and scored 35 unanswered points. The vindicated Gators then went on to win the SEC title and national championship.
1.RUN LINDSAY, RUN:
The most memorable moment had to be when the Bulldogs went on their championship run in 1980.
The Bulldogs were down 21-20 in the fourth quarter, facing third-and-long at their own 7-yard line.
Backed up in his own end zone, Georgia quarterback Buck Belue found Lindsay Scott at the 25-yard line. Scott was able to blow past the Florida secondary and score the game-winning touchdown with seconds left on the clock.
The 93-yard touchdown pass kept the Bulldogs’ title hopes alive. They moved to No. 1 in the polls the following week and went on to win their second consensus national title.
All in all, this is a historical matchup that college football fans look forward to every year. There have been plenty of memorable moments from this series, but these are five that really stand out from the rest. Let’s hope for a safe and sportsmanlike battle- although no one ever anticipates it.