Daily Football Fix: Big Gator wins missed

New Gator head football coach Steve Spurrier had a lot to smile about during his first season in l990. His team finished 9-2-0, beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa , walloped fourth-ranked Auburn at Florida Field and broke Georgia’s two-decade stranglehold on the Gators in the “Border War.”

Since the 1994 Florida football season, I have covered all but one Florida football game, home and away and bowls and, well, you get the idea.

It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

(The one I didn’t cover is a long story I will tell you over beers sometime).

For a kid who hung on every word coming out of the mouth of Otis Boggs, it really has been a privilege.

And I went to plenty of games as a student and when my parents had an extra ticket or I sold hot dogs to get in (always sold one basket full before finding a seat).

But there are some games I didn’t attend that I wish I had.

Here are the top five:

  1. Florida 59, Houston 34 (1969): No, I wasn’t there for the famous start of the Super Sophs. Someone asked my dad what Florida’s chances were and he said, “Two — nil and none.” So we didn’t go. Thousands of fans actually showed up for the game at halftime. It was quite a debut for John Reaves, Carlos Alvarez and Tommy Durrance.
  2. Florida 10, Alabama 6 (1963): This game was in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the Tide came in ranked No. 3 in the country. I listened to it as an 8 year old (do the math; I’m old) and can still hear the call in my head when Dick Kirk broke his 52-yard run that eventually won the game.
  3. Florida 38, Georgia 7 (1990): I was the sports editor at the Gainesville Sun and was working the desk. This was the beginning of Florida’s dominance over Georgia under Steve Spurrier.
  4. Florida 13, FSU 10 (1982): The ’82 team was the epitome of up-and-down. It opened the season with James Jones’ famous catch in a win over Miami and beat USC the following week, but later would lose to Georgia 44-0. The win over FSU, ranked 15th, saved a crazy season and Gator fans stormed the field.
  5. Florida 42, FSU 13 (1972): Nat Moore and a turnover-happy defense made this a surprisingly easy win for the Gators. I remember listening to it at Robbie Andreu’s house and we were both just incredulous as UF piled up the points.

Feel free to share the games you missed that you wished you had attended.


  1. I remember the 72 Fsu when Willie Jackson Sr had the ball hit him in the head when he fielded a punt.

    A memorable game for me was the 1973 Fla-Auburn game when Don Gaffney was name the QB. Vince Kendrick carried the rock for an injured Nat Moore. Gators won first time ever at Jordan Hare 12-8

  2. Oct 1, 1992 – the blowout loss @ Miss State
    I was just a kid, so being there wasn’t a thing, but I believe it was a Thursday night ESPN game. It was the first time I was ever grounded – my mom wouldn’t let me watch the game on TV. That killed me! So I’m confined to my room, find an old radio with the pull-out antenna, and listen to my beloved Gators get drubbed in Starkvegas.
    I felt as if I was the reason they lost and held a grudge against my mom for quite some time after that.

  3. I was in in the USAF, stationed in Montgomery AL. Three UF grads and our wives got tickets to UF at Auburn, Nov 3, 1973. It was great to watch the first ever Gator win in Jordan-Hare Stadium 12 – 8. http://www.gainesville.com/news/20060826/bfontsize4-no-8-florida-12-auburn-8br–emnov-3-1973emfontb
    But that wasn’t the best, which came when I was a UF freshman: October 1, 1960. Georgia Tech came to Florida Field. Ray Graves, most recently defensive assistant to Tech’s coach Bobby Dodd, was in is first year as UF coach. With about 2 minutes to go, Tech kicked off, up 17 – 10. The return gave the Gators the ball on about their 35. Graves put Bobby Dodd Jr in at quarterback and he threw about a 40 yard completion. The Gators went on to score, now down 16 – 17. The whole damn stadium was yelling “Two! Two! Two! And they did it, on a pass from Larry Libertore to “Honest John” MacBeth, as time ran out. The Gators finished that season 9 and 2.

  4. Sincerely, the one gator game I listen to on the radio and wish I could have been their to see the disaster at Auburn.
    How John Reaves threw 9 picks is mind boggling. I wonder now how many were a Pick-6?
    The Old SEC and other teams use to spie on opponents from way up in trees to chart plays, and use other ways of, “Scouting Espionage”.
    Auburn must have even got the gator play book to boot.

  5. The pivotal game we always overlook is the Head Ball Coach’s first as a coach. Now that history has been written we forget how huge that was and what a statement his Gator team made setting the tone for the season and coach Spurrier’s legacy. Remember, the Gators had gone thru a near death penalty after multiple years of multiple NCAA (and SEC) sanctions. Emmitt Smith did not return for his Sr season and frankly, things looked bleak.
    Then the Okla. St. game was played Sept. 1990. I believe they were ranked in the top 20. Gators everywhere waited to see if the new coach could break the Gator curse (never having won a legit SEC title). I was ecstatic to be a part of that crowd as the Gators routed OSU with Darren Mickel scoring a defensive score to put an exclamation point on the win!
    That was a statement game and to this day the Gator program is forever changed. Go Gators! Thank you, HBC.

    • That game was played while the student murders were still a threat. I was in the Air Force in Montana so I wasn’t in town but I’ve been told by friends that the feeling in town the night before the game and after the game was tense and everyone was paranoid.

  6. Games I wish I had attended…lets see…The Zooker christening Bobby Bowden Field in 2004 would be up there. I also regret missing the 1995 game against Tennessee when we stormed back and put up 62 in a blowout win.

  7. The 1997 fsu game was the greatest game I missed. My folks were there and had a ticket for me. But I was in my first semester in graduate school, was leaving town the next week, and needed to write my final paper. My dad gave me hell for that until the day he died 17 years later. GO GATORS.

  8. Its the losses that you missed that stick with you, at least for me. I missed the 2009 SEC championship, my wife scheduled something as part of our anniversary celebration, I kinda whined about it. She told me before the game “you aren’t going to want to watch that game”. I protested around the kickoff, she said, ive had a dream, the gators are going to lose, and don’t expect them to be good in the future – a really brutal statement. she is a fan, quite normal, she just had an awful feeling, and the prediction was true, and still true to this day. I wish she could predict things for money, but its one of those crazy things. sure tebow graduating etc. was one thing, but no one thought urb was going to be gone too (it had that awful hospital trip, attempted resignation, attempt to return for a year), Muschamp, the good start with mac that unraveled first with Grier and then with the credit card fraud. Pink Floyd was right with the lyric “and then one day you find ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.” In the back of my mind, if I had just watched on TV, they would have won, they were the better team, Urb stays, the spread stays, more championships, no way they ever would have put a Georgia bulldog in charge, no, never on any of what went wrong….

    • mveal……wake up! No, really, wake the hell up! It was just a dream, don’t go off the deep end on us!

      The Gators have won 4 national championships since 2011, and 5 SECs……Urban is still the head coach and Spurrier is still the AD. Man, you’ve really got to lay off the Ambien before going to bed!