Looking back is rarely as conductive as looking forward, but it sure can be fun. Thus, in honor of Throwback Thursday, today I shall bless your eyes by reminiscing about the five sweetest Gator wins over Tennessee.
Let’s count ’em down:
5) 2002: Florida 30, Tennessee 13
One week after getting trucked over by Miami in Gainesville, the Gators went up to Knoxville to try to console themselves. That didn’t happen over the first 25 minutes, so Tennessee benevolently decided to do it for them with a barrage of self inflicted wounds the likes of which this rivalry has never seen. The Vols fumbled an incredible seven times in the first half, and after missing the first couple of opportunities, Florida cashed in on the rest of them, exchanging the latter five gifts for three touchdowns and a field goal. The 24 point, turnover fueled scoring outbreak stunned the Vols, who went on to lose 30-13.
4) 2014: Florida 10, Tennessee 9
Neither team was ranked coming into this game, but boy was the pressure on for both teams. Then-Florida coach Will Muschamp was fighting to save his job, while then-second year Tennessee coach Butch Jones was trying to take his Vols to the next level (you know, the one above SEC East doormat). Three Aaron Medley field goals staked the Vols a 9-0 lead, but Treon Harris came off the bench to replace the ineffective Jeff Driskel and guide Florida to a 10-9 victory. But this game is more memorable for the bragging right it gave Gator fans than anything else: Will Muschamp would end his Florida career a perfect 4-0 against Tennessee.
3) 1995: Florida 62, Tennessee 37
On this wet, dreary day in Gainesville, Tennessee quickly raced out to a 30-14 lead. Then the Florida Gators, guided by Danny Wuerffel, scored a touchdown. Then they scored another one. And then another one. And another one after that. And another one after all of those. And still yet another one after the aforementioned five. Getting tired of reading the same words over and over again? Too bad, I’m not done: And then Florida scored their seventh straight touchdown. That’s right, the Gators scored 48 consecutive points on Tennessee in 1995, and only because of a rare missed PAT was it not 49 straight. But please, Tennessee fans, let’s hear more about how you scored 38 straight last year.
2) 2007: Florida 59, Tennessee 20
There was just something so satisfying about Florida being able to win the SEC East even after losing to Tennessee last year. Well, 2007 was the inverse. The difference was that Florida completely and utterly annihilated Tennessee for 60 minutes that the Vols were petrified to even dare show themselves in the days that followed. Tim Tebow appeared to give Tennessee life by throwing a dumb 96 yard pick six to Eric Berry, but that life was immediately bombed to smithereens with another devastating scoring run. The Gators didn’t score 48 unanswered points that day, but they did score 31 straight, including one on a Dustin Doe scoop and score and one on a nasty spin move by Percy Harvin and Florida wound up with its most convincing victory it would get that season.
1) 2015: Florida 28, Tennessee 27
For anybody who’s been cryogenically frozen or just became a Florida fan in the past 24 hours and has just learned the proper way to do the Gator Chomp, this recap of the last time Tennessee came to the Swamp is for you. Florida scored first on a Kelvin Taylor touchdown run, but Tennessee quickly took over the game and scored the next 20 points. (This series sure has a lot of scoring runs, doesn’t it?) Florida attempted to fight back by forcing a fumble to set up another Taylor touchdown, but with ten minutes to go, Tennessee scored on a draw play to rebuild their 13 point lead. Then-Florida, now West Virginia QB Will Grier then directed a six minute scoring drive that ended with a short touchdown toss to Brandon Powell, and Florida’s defense then forced Josh Dobbs and the Vols’ offense into a three and out. A sack and two incomplete passes set up a 4th and 14 with exactly 99 seconds remaining- of which Grier needed exactly 13 to hit Antonio Callaway on a curl route, watch him pick up a block from Powell that wiped out two Vols defenders and go untouched for an incredible 63 yard, game saving touchdown. Tennessee actually drove into field goal range in the waning moments, but Medley’s kick sailed about- and no exaggeration, check it out on YouTube if you don’t believe me- the width of a dried coat of paint.