Florida–LSU football rivalry
|First meeting||September 25, 1937
LSU 19, Florida 0
|Latest meeting||October 17, 2015
LSU 35, Florida 28
|Next meeting||October 8, 2016|
|All-time series||Florida leads, 31–28–3|
|Largest victory||Florida, 58–3 (1993)|
|Longest win streak||Florida, 9 (1988–96)|
|Current win streak||LSU, 3 (2013–present)|
The Florida–LSU football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Florida Gators football team of the University of Florida and LSU Tigers football team of Louisiana State University. Although both universities were founding members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in December 1932, the Gators and Tigers did not meet on the gridiron until 1937, and have been annual opponents only since 1971. When the SEC instituted divisional play in 1992, Florida was placed in the SEC Eastern Division and LSU in the Western Division, and Florida and LSU were selected as permanent cross-division rivals. The Gators and Tigers have combined to win five national championships and eleven SEC titles over the past two decades.
- 1 Notable games
- 2 Game results
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 Bibliography
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1960: Wristband robbery
Throughout the first half of the 1960 game, in which the Tigers were favored in Baton Rouge, LSU quarterback Jimmy Field effectively moved the ball time and again using plays from his wristband. But in the second quarter, with LSU up 10–0, the Gators sent a nine-man blitz against Field. He never saw it coming, and a sea of Gators piled on top of him. When he came out of the mass of bodies, his wristband was gone. The Gators then held Field to just 12 yards passing in the second half, with a lone first down. The Gators came back to win 13–10, and after the game a Gator coach gave the wristband to an official, saying one of his players had found it on the field.
1964: Hurricane delay
During the buildup to the 1964 game in Baton Rouge, all signs pointed to an exciting game to be played, with LSU playing especially hot at the time. UF, though unranked, was beginning to make some waves of its own with an exciting up-and-coming young player (and future Heisman Trophy winner) named Steve Spurrier. Then, after being delayed several weeks to the season finale due to Hurricane Hilda, the game ended up being anti-climactic with UF rolling to a surprisingly easy 20–6 win over the No. 7 Tigers. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that it was Spurrier's first win over LSU – the first of a long win streak that he would have over the Tigers as a player and head coach.
1972: Flooded Swamp
A massive rainstorm inundated Florida Field during the game, allowing a 4–4 Florida team to hang close enough with No. 8 LSU to tie the game at 3 with 2:08 left. LSU missed seven field goals during the deluge. The front page of the Youngstown Vindicator reported the next day that during the pre-game invocation, Catholic priest Michael Gannon prayed, "And if it be Thy will, we'd like You to stop the rain." It immediately started raining harder and continued heavily throughout the game.
1989: College football's first "overtime" game
This game was jokingly referred to as an "overtime" game in Steve Harvey's nationally-syndicated "Bottom Ten" column. After LSU hit a field goal to tie it at 13 with 1:19 left, Florida drove from their 20 to LSU's 27. Emmitt Smith was tackled at the LSU 24 inbounds with 18 seconds left. Florida scrambled to get back to the line of scrimmage to snap the ball, which they did with 3 seconds left. Kyle Morris managed to throw it out of bounds with 1 second left, but the clock still ran out, almost exactly like what happened at the end of the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game between #3 Texas and #22 Nebraska. Fireworks were set off over Tiger Stadium in celebration, for the holding off of a late Gator comeback, even though it was right as Florida was sending its special teams unit out onto the field. The second was added back to the clock, allowing Arden Czyzewski to attempt, and hit, a 41-yard field goal as time expired to win it 16–13. The unexpected setback sent LSU into a losing streak and its first losing season since they went 4–7 as well in 1983. The manner in which LSU lost the game helped push them into the top spot of that week's Bottom Ten.
1997: LSU's revenge
Humiliated by the previous season's 56–13 thrashing, LSU came into the 1997 game ready to play. Once again, the Gators were favored in this matchup in Baton Rouge. But it was LSU who jumped out to a big early lead, scoring two touchdowns in the first 8 minutes on runs by Herb Tyler and Tommy Banks. The Gators came right back with two TD runs by Fred Taylor, each of which capped off an 80-yard drive.
Then, Doug Johnson threw an ill-advised pass, and Cedric Donaldson picked it off and returned it for a touchdown to give LSU a 21–14 lead. The Gators' frustration mounted when another Johnson pass was picked off, this time by Mark Roman, and when Herb Tyler scored another touchdown to give LSU a 28–14 lead with 11:40 to go, the Gators appeared to be in big trouble.
Undaunted, Johnson tried to redeem himself with a 13-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Fred Taylor banging into the end zone to cut the Tigers' lead to 28–21. LSU could do nothing with their next possession, and Doug Johnson began moving the ball downfield again. He then faced a rush on a third and two and threw up a Hail Mary which was intercepted by Raion Hill. The Tigers held on for the 28–21 upset.
2006: Tebow's series debut
The 9th ranked Tigers visited the 5th ranked Gators favored by a point and a half. Early in the first quarter, JaMarcus Russell connected with Jacob Hester for a touchdown.
However, Florida's freshman quarterback Tim Tebow would help the Gators turn the tide. While the Gators' starting QB was senior Chris Leak, coach Urban Meyer had been rotating Tebow, a highly touted recruit, into the huddle for a few series every game. Tebow made the most of his opportunities against LSU, accounted for three touchdowns, including his first career passing touchdown on "the jump pass". The Gators won 23–10 and went on to win the BCS National Championship.
2007: 5 for 5 on 4th down
The 9th-ranked Gators traveled to Baton Rouge to take on the top-ranked Tigers. Early on, it appeared that Florida was heading for a big win when they raced out to a 10–0 lead. The two teams then traded punches, scoring two touchdowns each to make it 24–14 late in the third quarter.
LSU rallied behind Matt Flynn to score a touchdown to cut it to 24–21. Then they stopped Tebow and got the ball back with just a few minutes left. They faced a fourth and two in their own territory, and got it. Not even a minute later, they faced another fourth and two. They converted that one as well.
By now, they were on the Florida 12-yard line. Once again, the Tigers faced a fourth and 1. But rather than kick the game-tying field goal, Les Miles ordered a dive play. And for the fifth time in the game, the Tigers converted. Soon after, LSU took the lead when running back Jacob Hester bulled across the end zone with 1:09 left.
But Tebow had one more shot. In three plays, he'd gotten Florida across midfield. There was time for one more play—a 45-yard Hail Mary. It was batted down in the end zone and LSU hung on, 28–24.
2008: Battle of champions
12th ranked Florida played host to 3rd ranked LSU in a matchup of the past two BCS National Champions. Led by Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin's two TD combinations, Florida jumped out to a 20–0 lead.
But then the defense, which had allowed 4 first quarter yards for LSU, then began busting coverages all over. Midway through the third quarter, LSU had sliced the Gator lead to 20–14, perhaps making Gator fans nervous by making them remember the previous year's collapse. But Tebow was not to be denied. He completed a bomb to Louis Murphy to the LSU 2-yard line, then rolled out and tucked the ball under his arm and walked in. That made it 27–14 Florida and the floodgates opened up. Jeff Demps followed Tebow's run by taking a pitch 44 yards for a TD and now it was 34–14. When it seemed it couldn't possibly get any worse for LSU, it did. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jarrett Lee was picked off by linebacker Brandon Spikes, who went 52 yards for another touchdown. Spikes punted the ball into the stands in celebration, and though he was flagged, the game was well and truly over. The final score was Florida 51, LSU 21. Florida went on to win the BCS Championship again in 2008, the third straight time the winner had come from this rivalry.
2010: The fake field goal
The 12th ranked Tigers came to the Swamp eager to erase bitter memories of the last time they played in the home field of the 14th-ranked Gators. Each team snatched the lead from each other back and forth for a while. Eventually, however, LSU pulled ahead 26–14 early in the 4th quarter. But Andre Debose answered with a kickoff return TD, and following a defensive hold by the Gators, QB John Brantley got the ball with a chance to be a hero with 7 minutes left and trailing 26–21. He led a long, punishing drive that ended when running back Mike Gillislee plowed into the end zone with three minutes left. Brantley completed the two-point conversion to Omarious Hines to increase the Gator lead to 29–26 with just under 3 minutes left.
Undaunted, Jarrett Lee led a drive that found LSU at the Gator 36-yard line with 34 seconds to go. LSU coach Les Miles ordered a 53-yard field goal attempt by Josh Jasper. Or so it seemed. Holder Derek Helton blindly pitched the ball over his head, hoping for a miracle. It hit the ground, but took a perfect bounce right into the arms of Jasper, who picked it up and crossed the first down line.
Lee then threw a long pass to Terrence Toliver to the Florida 5-yard line with 9 seconds left. On the last play of the game, he tossed the game winner to Toliver. LSU won 33–29.
Florida leads the series 31–28–3. The longest winning streak in the series is held by Florida, with nine victories from 1988 to 1996. LSU's longest winning streak is four, from 1977 to 1980.
The visiting team in the series has been unusually successful in recent years. Since 2001, LSU has a 4–3 record at the Swamp, while Florida is 3–5 at Tiger Stadium. Both the Gators and Tigers each won two national championships during that time period and boasted impressive home records against other opponents.
|Florida victories||LSU victories||Ties|
- Alabama–LSU football rivalry
- Arkansas–LSU football rivalry
- Auburn–LSU football rivalry
- Florida–Florida State football rivalry
- Florida–Georgia football rivalry
- Florida–Tennessee football rivalry
- LSU–Texas A&M football rivalry
- Magnolia Bowl
- Zaccardi, Nick. "Tebow jumper nets first career touchdown pass". Alligator. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 116–125 (2011). Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- 2011 LSU Football Media Guide, LSU Athletic Department, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pp. 153–163 (2011). Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- College Football Data Warehouse, Florida vs Louisiana State. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- 2009 Southern Conference Football Media Guide, Year-by-Year Standings, Southern Conference, Spartanburg, South Carolina, pp. 74–77 (2009).
- 2011 Southeastern Conference Football Media Guide, Southeastern Conference, Birmingham, Alabama, p. 60 (2011).
- 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 116–125 (2011).
- 2011 LSU Football Media Guide, LSU Athletic Department, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2011).
- Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
- Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
- Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
- McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
- McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
- Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.