Gators have gone broke at Doak in top-10 games
Published: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 1:15 a.m.
With Florida and Florida State both in the top 10 when they face each other Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, the UF-FSU rivalry has gone back to the 1990s, when the game was a matchup between top-10 teams every year (1990-2000).
That's good news for the rivalry, and certainly good news for the Gators, who are in the midst of one of the biggest turnaround seasons in the program's history and enter Saturday's game 10-1.
The potential bad news is that in those past top-10 battles between the Gators and Seminoles, the Gators did not win a single one of those games in Tallahassee. Florida is 0-5-1, with the only non-loss (a 31-31 tie in 1994) feeling just like a loss to those who were there or remember.
Here's a look back at those six games in Tallahassee between two top 10 teams:
No. 6 Florida at No. 8 Florida State
Final score: Florida State 45, Florida 30
What happened: Steve Spurrier's first season back at his alma mater was a huge success, but it ended on a real downer with this loss to the Seminoles. FSU jumped on the Gators early with a long TD pass to Lawrence Dawsey and the Seminoles rode the momentum to a comfortable victory. The player burned deep on the Dawsey TD was safety Will White, who was from Tallahassee.
No. 6 Florida at No. 3 Florida State
Final score: Florida State 45, Florida 24
What happened: A week earlier, the Gators clinched a berth in the SEC's first championship game with a victory over Vanderbilt, and Spurrier came into this game with his eye more on playing Alabama the following Saturday. Once the Seminoles got off to an early lead, Spurrier pretty much waved the white flag, taking numerous starters out of the game, including All-SEC quarterback Shane Matthews. The result was a 21-point loss to the Seminoles.
No. 4 Florida at No. 7 Florida State
Final score: Florida State 31, Florida 31
What happened: If there was ever a tie that felt like a loss, this was it from the Gators' perspective. Spurrier's offense hit some big plays early and the Gators stormed out to a big early lead. Going into the fourth quarter, the game appeared over, with the Gators leading 31-3. But Spurrier went conservative on offense, defensive coordinator Bobby Pruett went into a prevent defense, and the Seminoles came back from the dead. FSU climbed within seven, 31-24, with a Danny Kanell TD pass with 5:04 to play. With only 1:45 left, Rock Preston scored on a four-yard run for the 'Noles, who then elected to settle for the tie instead of trying to go for two for the win. The two teams met in a rematch in the Sugar Bowl, with the Seminoles prevailing 23-17.
No. 1 Florida at No. 2 Florida State
Final score: Florida State 24, Florida 21
What happened: Even though these two teams were 1-2 in the polls, the Gators were a solid favorite to win this game. But it was obvious fairly early in the game that things were not going to go UF's way. Danny Wuerffel, who would win the Heisman Trophy that year, threw three first-half interceptions that helped the Seminoles build a surprising 17-0 halftime lead. Wuerffel threw three TD passes in the second half, but it wasn't enough. The UF defense had no answer for tailback Warrick Dunn, who rushed for 185 yards. The Gators, of course, avenged the loss in a big way about a month later, routing the Seminoles 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl to win the national title.
No. 4 Florida at No. 5 Florida State
Final score: Florida State 23, Florida 12
What happened: Things started going wrong for the Gators during pregame warmups, when quarterback Doug Johnson threw a ball at FSU coach Bobby Bowden that triggered a near brawl. Although many players were involved, starting Florida defensive back Tony George was ejected from the game for tussling with two FSU players who were redshirting that season and not even scheduled to play in the game. The Gators managed to lead 12-6 at the half, but backup FSU quarterback Marcus Outzen threw a TD pass to Peter Warrick and the strong FSU defense shut the Gators out in the second half.
No. 4 Florida at No. 3 Florida State
Final score: Florida State 30, Florida 7
What happened: Only one spot lower in the polls than FSU, UF was considered a pretty heavy underdog going in, and that's the way the game played out. The Gators' only score came on a short TD pass from Jesse Palmer to tight end Aaron Walker in the first half. Meanwhile, the Seminoles were flying up and down the field all night behind eventual Heisman winner Chris Weinke, who threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns. The Seminoles would go on to lose in the national title game against Oklahoma 13-2 at the Orange Bowl.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.