UF-FSU a streaky series
Published: Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 11:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 11:33 p.m.
Florida and FSU began their series in 1958 and since then the rivalry has had it all — blowouts, nail-biters, pre-game fights, national title implications. But more than anything, the series has been about streaks.
One team ends a streak and a new one begins right away. Here's a look at some of the winning streaks that have become part of the landscape of one of college football's greatest rivalries.
How it started: Florida won the first game ever played between the two teams 21-7 in Gainesville in 1959. The Gators would not lose in the next five games against the Seminoles.
Big win: That would be the first one. Florida was under a lot of pressure to play Florida State and when it finally happened there was even more pressure on the Gators not to lose to "the girls school." Thanks to the game's most valuable player — quarterback Jimmy Dunn — the Gators prevailed.FSU led 7-0 before Dave Hudson blocked a punt for a score. Dunn scored twice in the game.
Close call: This is one that wasn't a pure winning streak because there was a tie in 1961, Ray Graves' second season. FSU treated the 3-3 tie like a victory, Florida like it was a loss.
How it ended: Florida's players wore helmets that read "Go For Seven" for the 1964 game against Florida State in Tallahassee. Not a smart move. With Steve Tensi throwing the ball and Les Murdock kicking three field goals, FSU finally broke through with a 16-7 win.
How it started: After a tough loss in 1967, Florida went on the longest streak of the series to date, winning nine in a row starting with a 9-3 win in Tallahassee in 1968.
Big win: Florida started the 1972 season 1-1 while FSU came into the game ranked 13th in the country. Nobody expected the Gators to win in Tallahassee but they destroyed the Seminoles 42-13. The Gator defense was stellar coming up with nine FSU turnovers. And Nat Moore made a signature run in the game, faking a Seminole defender to the ground on a sweep play for a score.
Close call: Somehow, some way, Florida won the 1971 game 17-15 in Gainesville. The Gators came in 0-5 while FSU was 5-0. But defensive back Jimmy Barr caught a fumble in mid-air and returned it 26 yards for a score and Florida stayed on the ground rather than risk turnovers from quarterback John Reaves.
How it ended: By 1977, the Doug Dickey Era was near an end at Florida. Meanwhile, Bobby Bowden was turning things around in Tallahassee. The result was a 37-9 win for the Seminoles in Gainesville as the Gators had no answer for the FSU receiver Roger Overby, who had three touchdown catches.
How it started: It started with that 1977 win over Florida for FSU and continued for three more seasons. The following year, the Seminoles and Gators were tied 21-all at the half but FSU pulled away in the second half for a 38-21 victory.
Big win: In 1979, the Gators came into the game 0-8-1 in a year when they would not win a game. FSU was ranked fifth in the nation and could hardly stomach a repeat of the 1971 game. Florida played tough but FSU won 27-16.
Close call: Charley Pell's second season saw the Gators have the biggest turnaround in college football history, but they couldn't quite catch the Seminoles. A pair of Hardis Johnson touchdown catches allowed FSU to escape with a 17-13 win in Tallahassee. After the game, Pell told his distraught team it would not lose again to Florida State.
How it ended: In 1981, Florida used a bye week to get ready for FSU. Boy, were the Gators ready. They demolished the Seminoles 35-3.
How it started: With that 1981 Florida win. Pell's recruiting was starting to show up on the field. FSU fans will tell you it was because he was cheating. As it turned out, they were right. But the Gators ran off six straight againstFSU under Pell and Galen Hall.
Big win: In 1983, Florida was ranked 12th. FSU was looking up at the Gators. When they played in Gainesville, it was pretty obvious. Florida won 52-13 by forcing six FSU turnovers and rushing for 297 yards.
Close call: In 1982, Florida turned to back-up quarterback Bob Hewko to rally past FSU 13-10 on Jim Gainey's field goal. At game's end Hewko threw the ball into the stands at Doak Campbell where the Florida fans were sitting and they stormed the field.
How it ended: By 1987, the probation had taken its toll on the Gators and FSU was beginning to reap the benfits. The third-ranked Seminoles easily handled the Gators 28-14 in Gainesville in front of a national audience on CBS.
How it started: Galen Hall was in his third full season when this streak started and Florida was headed down the road to mediocrity.FSU, on the other hand, was on its rise to becoming a dynasty under Bowden.
Big win: In 1988, Florida was a team built on defense and Emmitt Smith. The Seminoles handled both. They trounced Florida 52-17 on ESPN.
Close call: Florida didn't have much to play for in 1989 other than the fact that it was FSU. The Gators blocked an early punt, but couldn't muster much offense under interim coach Gary Darnell. FSU won 24-17.
How it ended: In one of loudest games ever played at Florida Field, the Gator defense was heroic in the 14-9 win in 1991. The Gators front four harassed Casey Weldon all day but it still came down to one final pass in the end zone that was tipped away.
How it started: Remember that Florida had won the year before in dramatic fashion. And the ‘98 Gators had lost but once in overtime. And thatFSU was using Marcus Outzen at quarterback. Didn't matter. Florida failed to capitalize on Outzen's mistakes and FSU won 23-12 on its way to playing for the national title.
Big win: FSU needed to beat Florida to secure a spot in the 2000 national title game. Since Florida had won every game Rex Grossman started, Steve Spurrier put him in for the first play. This time, it didn't work. FSU rolled to a 30-7 victory.
Close call: FSU also needed a win over Florida to play in the national title game in 1999. The Seminoles had their hands full with the Gators before winning 30-23 with a Florida Hail Mary in the end zone falling to the ground on the game's last play.
How it ended: It will be forever known as the Darnell Docket game, but despite the FSU player's antics, the Gators rolled to an easy 37-13 win behind quarterback Rex Grossman.
How it started: It was an improbably win on a night they dedicated the field for Bobby Bowden in Tallahassee. But in his last game as the Florida coach, Ron Zook pulled out a 20-13 win over the 10th-ranked Seminoles.
Big win: After all the smack talk from Geno Hayes in pre-game, Tim Tebow had an answer. He dominated the night as Florida rolled to a 45-12 win last year and Tebow secured the Heisman.
Close call: In 2006, Florida needed a win to keep its national title hopes alive. The Gators dominated early but FSU rallied to tie the game at 14. Chris Leak then took the Gators on the winning drive, hitting Dallas Baker in the back of the end zone for the game-winner.
How it ended: That, my friends, is what everyone on both sides is wondering.
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