Top 5 heartbreaks for Florida vs. Georgia

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – It’s Florida-Georgia week, which means it’s time to take a look back at the annual series between the two Southeastern Conference rivals.

Each day this week, GatorNation will have a top-five list that captures the colorful history of the series.

Today’s list:

Top 5 heartbreaking moments in Florida-Georgia series history for Florida:

1974: Georgia 17, Florida 16

Florida needed to beat Georgia to win the first SEC title in school history, and it looked like the Gators were on the verge of getting it. QB Don Gaffney had scored on a 4-yard run with 28 seconds remaining, and coach Doug Dickey elected to go for two instead of the tie. Gaffney had beaten Georgia with a two-point conversion the previous year, but this time his pass to Jimmy DuBose was incomplete because Georgia safety Dave Schwak hit DuBose as the ball got there. 1966: Georgia 27, Florida 10

The Gators, led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier, were unbeaten and needed a victory to clinch at least a share of the first SEC title in school history. Georgia picked off Spurrier three times – he had thrown only two all season until then – and returned one for a touchdown. The Bulldogs also held the Gators to just 34 yards in the second half.

1975: Georgia 10, Florida 7

Again, Florida needed a victory over Georgia to win the first SEC title in school history. One of the most famous plays in series history cost the Gators that chance. With Florida leading 7-3 in the fourth quarter, Georgia coach Vince Dooley called a trick play in which TE Richard Appleby ran the ball on an end-around – a play that had worked earlier in the game – expect this time Appleby stopped and threw the ball to WR Gene Washington, who went untouched for an 80-yard touchdown. The Gators had a chance to tie the game with less than a minute remaining with a field goal, but a bad snap threw off the timing and K David Posey sent a wobbler into the line of scrimmage.

1976: Georgia 41, Florida 27

Familiar story: Florida needed a victory over Georgia to win the first SEC title in school history. Familiar story, part II: One of the most famous plays in series history cost the Gators that chance. With Florida leading 27-20 in the third quarter, Dickey elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the UF 29-yard line. Georgia DB Johnny Henderson stopped RB Earl Carr for no gain. That play – Fourth and Dumb – sparked the Bulldogs to 21 unanswered points.

1985: Georgia 24, Florida 3

The Gators earned the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in school history thanks to a victory over Auburn. Four days after the rankings were released, the Gators got hammered by the Bulldogs. Georgia ran for 344 yards, including 145 by Keith Henderson and 104 by Tim Worley. After the game, Georgia fans stormed the field and celebrated by yelling, “Four days!” Florida beat Kentucky and FSU to finish 9-1-1 but couldn’t play in a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions. The Gators would have been able to claim at least the AP title had they beaten Georgia.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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