25 Best Moments in The Swamp: No. 22 — Spikes’ pick and punt

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UF linebacker Brandon Spikes (51) celebrates his interception against LSU game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Oct. 11, 2008. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/File)

It was June of 1992 when Steve Spurrier, fresh off Florida’s first official SEC title, called The Sun columnist Mike Bianchi with a new name for the stadium that would eventually bear his name.

The Swamp.

In the years that followed, there have been some unbelievable games and players. Sun writers Pat Dooley and Robbie Andreu came up with their rankings of the 25 best moments since 1992 when Spurrier gave it that moniker.

No. 22 — Oct. 11, 2008

Spikes’ pick and punt

The set-up: Florida was one game removed from The Pledge, handling Arkansas on the road for a 4-1 record and No. 11 ranking. LSU came in off a bye week unbeaten and ranked No. 4 in the country. Florida scored the first 20 points before LSU rallied to within 20-14. The Gators scored twice to make it 34-14, but the fourth quarter started with LSU driving.

The moment: LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee threw a pass over the middle that Brandon Spikes intercepted. Spikes, who had his first career interception earlier in the game, returned this one 52 yards for a clinching touchdown 12 seconds into the fourth quarter, then punted the ball to a delirious south end zone crowd. It was 15 yards, but the game was over.

The result: Florida ended up winning 51-21 and jumped up to No. 5 in the rankings. The Gators would go on to win their third national title.

The quote: “We knew that the tight end was a huge factor for them. Spikes had studied a lot of film to get ready for that game, because it was such a big game. Everyone was going crazy and then he punted. Urban (Meyer) was yelling in my head phones, ‘He punted it, Charlie.’ I ripped him pretty good. He said, ‘Don’t worry coach. We’re going to go out there and stop them again.’ “ — then-Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong.

Editor’s note: You have one Swamp game moment that comes to mind? Tell us what it is.Maybe it’s already on our Top 25 list. We’ll update readers on top moments from fans as the countdown proceeds.

4 COMMENTS

    • Wow, talk about a negative nancy. Is that you, Mike Winter? I was at the game. It was over. One, 15-yard penalty wasn’t gonna allow LSU to score 27 points in the 4th quarter. You know LSU was mouthing off that entire game, it was Florida’s first trip back to the Swamp since the Ole Miss disaster. Less than 0% chance this was going to cause any bad karma in this game, and if fired up the crowd to stay loud and keep coming back for more.

      • I said it was fortunate that nothing negative happened after the penalty and it was because of what you reasoned, the lead, etc. But you must not watch much football if you haven’t seen teams get scored upon on the next drive following a celebration penalty.

        We all LOLed when Spikes punted it BECAUSE this game was over, yet Meyer ripped Spikes for punting the ball. Maybe HE’s Mike Winter.