The Gators and LSU renew their annual rivalry Saturday at the Swamp and that’s the right word for what it’s become: rivalry.
Even though most Florida has more prominent long-standing rivals like Georgia, Florida State and even over the last 30 years, Tennessee, the recent games with the Bayou Bengals have taken on significance on an SEC and even, the national scale.
Likewise, LSU’s biggest rivals are Ole Miss, who they clobbered last week, and of course, the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide.
Still, there have been some dramatic, hotly-contested and huge national implication games over the last 15 years or so, in the playing of this game.
Take for example the 2007 game in Baton Rouge, where Florida was the defending National Champion but LSU was ranked number one in the country.
A sophomore quarterback by the name of Tim Tebow was gaining all kinds of national fame and LSU fans had obtained his cell phone number, publicized it and sent him hundreds of threatening and harassing voicemail and text messages the week of the game.
Tebow used it as motivation and actually taunted the LSU fans after a touchdown at Tiger Stadium by motioning to the crowd in the endzone to call him by putting his thumb and finger up to his ear. This was part of the Gators building a 10 point fourth quarter lead. Tiger fans would remind everyone that they converted twice on fourth down on the final game winning drive, and scored with an under a minute to go to defeat Florida 28 to 24.
LSU went on to win the BCS National Championship later that year with a decisive win over Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
Tebow and the Gators got their revenge the following season, when he threw for two scores and ran for another, as Florida annihilated #4 LSU 51-21 handing them their first loss of the season.
Tebow went on to win the Heisman Trophy and Florida went on to a perfect season beating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for the BCS National Championship.
Fast forward to 2015, when the embattled LSU coach Les Miles used this fake field goal in a tie game in the fourth quarter with the Gators
LSU went on to win and improve to 6-0 in that 2015 season. However, they faltered down the stretch and Miles, who was almost fired at the end of 2015, was fired mid-season 2016.
That same year, with Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the east coast of Florida, the Florida-LSU game was postponed after controversy as to where and when it would be played arose. Eventually, it was decided that Florida would give up their home game for that season and play the game at the end of the year in Baton Rouge.
The Gators won the game with a dramatic goal-line stand stopping LSU running back Derrius Guice on 4th and foal in the final seconds clinching the SEC East Division title for the 2016 team.
Because of that Hurricane, Florida will get to host LSU for the second consecutive season at home. And, the Bayou Bengals once again come in undefeated and ranked #5 this time.
And whether it be cell phone messages, fake field goals, or goal line stands, these games have been wild, narrow margin and fun to watch most of the time.
Now, let’s see what happens in the 2018 version.
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