No. 3 — Sept. 16, 2017
The Heave to Cleve
The set-up: Both teams were floundering around the lower part of the top 25 and Florida was dealing with a missed game because of Hurricane Irma. The game itself was a snoozer for three quarters (6-3 Florida) before all heck broke loose in the final half, including Malik Davis fumbling away a touchdown at the goal line and Tennessee’s John Kelly dropping a possible game-winning TD pass. It was 20-20 with less than a minute to go when Florida got the ball.
The moment: Florida managed to get a first down on a running play — drawing boos from the Gator faithful — and had time for one play from its 37. Feleipe Franks dropped back and felt pressure so he rolled to the right and planted before firing a perfect strike to the end zone. Somehow, Tyrie Cleveland was behind the defense and cradled the ball like a newborn baby in the end zone where he was mobbed by his teammates. The final was 26-20.
The result: Florida won the next two games over Kentucky and Vandy, but things didn’t go too well for Florida after that as it finished 4-7. Jim McElwain was fired after the Georgia game and Randy Shannon took over, as Florida began its search for a new coach. But they’d always have the Heave to Cleve.
The quote: “I remember thinking that Florida has finally found its quarterback and Jim McElwain finally has an offense. That may have been a little premature. Those kinds of things don’t ever seem to happen to Florida. It was historic. It was euphoric.
“But it wasn’t a Hail Mary. It was a perfect post pattern. And it might have been the most perfect throw a quarterback ever made.” — Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel.
Reader comments: Myron Hassell picked this play as his No. 1 — “I’ve only been once, but I’ll be there again for the Florida vs TN this year.”
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.