25 Best Moments in The Swamp: No. 21 — Travis McGriff throws deep

Florida's Travis McGriff had a stellar day against the hapless Gamecocks, as he and the other seniors ended four years of undefeated play in The Swamp. [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. 21 — Nov. 14, 1998

Travis McGriff throws deep

The set-up: Florida came in to its game ranked fourth against unranked South Carolina with an outside chance at playing for a national title. The Gators had little trouble with the Gamecocks rolling to a 27-7 lead early in the third quarter.

The moment: Florida senior Travis McGriff, who was having a spectacular year, caught the second of his two touchdown passes late in the third quarter on a 29-yard pass from Doug Johnson to ice things. McGriff crossed the goal line and fired the ball deep into the stands of the north end zone as a homage to his father’s hero Carlos Alvarez (who also did the same thing in his final home game) and to the class of seniors who never lost a home game. It capped off a 13-catch, 222-yard receiving day for McGriff.

The result: McGriff received a 15-yard penalty, but Florida won the game 33-14. The following week, the Gators lost to FSU, then finished their season 10-2 with a trouncing of Syracuse and Donovan McNabb in the Orange Bowl.

The quote: “My dad (Lee) and I met for lunch every Friday of home games and for some reason he brought up what Carlos did. It crossed my mind, but then I forgot about it until I scored. I just had this hunch I might not get back into the game and I thought about our class and what we had done. All that was crossing my mind in, like, two seconds and I let it go.

“About five years ago, a guy coaching in flag football told me his brother had caught the ball and he would give it to me. So he did and it definitely was it with ‘Gators 98’ inscribed on it. I never thought I’d see that ball again after I threw it in the stands, but I have it now.” — Travis McGriff

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.


  1. I can see all sides to this issue, and I have no problem with what he did. His last game in the SWAMP and he still has a story to tell all of these years later. He didn’t do it to taunt, but to share in a moment what his Fathers hero had done. Whether you see this glass as half full or half empty, I will still drink the GATORS Kool-Aid…lol. GO GATORS!!!

  2. I was also a Carlos Alvarez fan – first Gator game I attended was against Houston – saw John Reaves and Carlos Alvarez destroy Houston 59 – 34 with Florida Field half empty. What a game – GO GATORS!!!