These SEC stalwarts won three straight BCS titles from 2006-08.
The attention of college football fans will be on the Swamp Saturday afternoon, when LSU and Florida put their undefeated records on the line. Over the last twenty years, the annual meeting between the Tigers and Gators has developed into one of the better rivalries in the SEC. And over the last decade, this physical clash has probably been the league’s best and most competitive matchup. There has been some interesting history between LSU and Florida: from stolen plays to controversial Sugar Bowl bids to weather concerns, from the Tigers breaking a nine-game Gators losing streak in 1997 to this game producing three straight national champions from 2006-08. Here are five great LSU-Florida moments from the last decade.
1) The Fake Field Goal — 2010
LSU kicker Josh Jasper’s run in the Swamp is one of the more famous plays in recent college football history, and the fourth quarter of this game was incredible. After a Jordan Jefferson run put LSU up 26-14 early in the final frame, Florida’s Andre Debose would take the kickoff back for a touchdown. With just over three minutes to go, a Mike Gillislee run and two-point conversion would put the Gators ahead 29-26. LSU lined up for a game-tying 53-yard field goal with 35 seconds to go, but then holder Derek Helton flipped the ball over his shoulder to Jasper. The pigskin hit the ground, but the LSU kicker took the bounce and ran for the first down. Jarrett Lee then completed two passes to Terrence Toliver, including the game-winning score with six seconds to go, to cap off a wild 33-29 Tigers victory in the Swamp.
2) Fourth-Down Dominance — 2007
This game at Death Valley was an absolute SEC classic. Florida led 24-14 to start the fourth quarter, but LSU would roar back with 14 unanswered points to win 28-24. Les Miles’ bunch converted five 4th-down conversions (9:16 mark of the video), and Jacob Hester’s touchdown with just over a minute to go would put the Tigers up for good. Tim Tebow’s Hail Mary pass was batted down on the game’s last play LSU, of course, went on to win the BCS Championship.
3) Gators Second-Half Slaughter — 2008
In this clash of the last two BCS champions, the Gators would start well and close better in a surprising 51-21 rout of the Tigers. Florida scored first on a Tim Tebow to Percy Harvin 70-yard touchdown pass on a tipped ball, and the Gators jumped out to a 20-0 lead. LSU would battle back to a 20-14 deficit in the third quarter, but then Tebow and company scored at will down the stretch. Urban Meyer’s Gators would go on to win their second BCS title in three seasons.
4) Tebow Jump Pass — 2006
Many fans outside of the SEC seem to forget that Chris Leak was the starting quarterback for Florida’s national title squad this year, and it was the LSU game where the nation first really noticed Tim Tebow. The heralded freshman quarterback would account for all three of the Gators touchdowns in a 23-10 win. Tebow was 2-for-2 passing for two scores, plus he ran in a touchdown. And of course there was the famous “jump pass”, which we witness from the crowd in the Swamp.
5) First-Year Head Coaches — 2005
This game of momentum swings was the first contest between a Les Miles’ LSU team and an Urban Meyer Florida crew, and their aforementioned matchups were as good as it gets in college football. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 advantage early, but the Gators would rally to a 17-14 lead after three quarters. LSU would answer back on the strength of a JaMarcus Russell to Dwayne Bowe 31-yard pass play, and then Joseph Addai ran in the game-winning score (7:04 mark of the video). The Tigers defense would hold the line in the fourth quarter for a 21-17 win, one where LSU overcame five turnovers.