25 Best Moments in The Swamp: No. 10 — The Wright hit

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Florida defensive back Lawrence Wright. [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. 10 — Sept. 16, 1995

Big hit

The set-up: Peyton Manning and No. 8 Tennessee came to The Swamp determined to upend No. 4 Florida in the third game of the season. A Vols win would go a long way toward possibly ending the Gators’ three-year rein as Eastern Division champions of the SEC.

The moment: The Vols got off to a quick start and held a commanding 23-7 lead midway through the second quarter. The Gators slowed down some of that UT momentum with a 1-yard TD run by Fred Taylor. Moments later, safety Lawrence Wright made a dynamic play that reversed the momentum and would change the complexion (and direction) of the game. Only two plays after Taylor’s score, UT wide receiver Joey Kent caught a Manning pass about 20 yards downfield. But just as the ball arrived, so did Wright, slamming his right shoulder into Kent’s chest and causing a fumble the Gators recovered. The hit knocked Kent out of the game — and ignited the UF sideline and sold out Swamp.

The result: In a strange and somewhat stunning response to the sudden change of Wright’s hit, UF quarterback Danny Wuerffel fumbled moments later and UT’s Raymond Austin scooped up the loose ball and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown that gave the Vols a 30-14 lead late in the half. But the energy Wright created with his monster hit did not fade. It only increased. UF got right back into the game with an 11-yard TD pass from Wuerffel to Ike Hilliard with only nine seconds left in the first half to make it a 30-21 game. The fired-up Gators came out in the second half and rolled, scoring 41 unanswered points in what would become a 62-37 destruction of the Vols. And it all really started with that one enormous hit by Wright.

 The quote: “(That hit) changed it a lot. That touchdown right before half was huge also. (Chris) Doering caught a fourth-down pass, I remember, and their linebacker dropped an interception. Anytime somebody drops an interception something bad happens to that team, it seems like. (The Wright hit) energized everyone. It was sort of a moment that changed some stuff. We scored every possession in the second half.” — Coach Steve Spurrier

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.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Hard Hittin’ Lawrence Wright!! I still remember watching that game and dam near jumping throught the roof when he hit JK. Dude’s feet were completely parallel to the ground with the ball seemingly suspended in air forever. Other than the Brandon Spikes hit on Moreno and the Jon Bostic helmet rocker hit on Bridgewater, this has to be the best UF slobberknocker of all time!!! GEAUXXX GATORS!!