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Dogs and Gators are Primed and Ready to Renew Their Rivalry

Dogs and Gators are Primed and Ready to Renew Their Rivalry

When it comes to the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators, they were born to dislike one another.

The two rivals are often compared and frequently matched up. To be quite honest, Georgia and Florida can’t stand the sight of each other. It has always been that way.

This is a border rivalry between the Gators and Bulldogs. The intensity starts at home very often. Some of Georgia’s football players grew up in Florida. Some of Florida’s players are Georgia natives.

That only fuels the football rivalry between Georgia and Florida. Some of the craziest and wackiest college football games of all time came right there in Jacksonville at the old rusty Gator Bowl with Florida and Georgia knocking heads and trash talking until they were blue in the nostrils.

Another such rivalry will occur on Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville with the Bulldogs and Gators tangling once more with SEC bragging rights on the line.

On the field it won’t be so friendly. It is going to be violent and as real as a seafood platter at Joe’s Crab Shack Restaurant on First Street at nearby Jacksonville Beach.

The 5th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs will square off with the 8th-ranked Florida Gators in a good old fashioned game of football tomorrow at TIAA Bank Field on the St. Johns River. No, the football rivalry will not be played at the former rust bucket known as the Gator Bowl.

That stadium has long since received a facelift and a name change. But the Dogs and the Gators will make some more football memories where the old stadium used to sit.

And what memories Florida and Georgia have to build on. The Dogs and Gators have made some gridiron history right beside the Hart and the Matthews bridges in Jacksonville.

There was the 1942 Georgia-Florida game when the Bulldogs slam dunked the Gators, 75-0. There was also the 1966 Florida-Georgia game when the hairy Dogs denied Heisman-Trophy winning quarterback Steve Spurrier of Florida.

Spurrier and the Gators lost to Georgia, 27-10. And that defeat cost Florida its first SEC football championship.

Two years later in 1968 at the Gator Bowl, the pigeons and 75,000 rainsoaked fans watched as Georgia embarrassed Florida, 51-0 in Jacksonville. Florida was the preseason favorite to win the Southeastern Conference championship that year.

What the Gators got instead was a 6-3-1 season and one humiliating loss to Georgia and star quarterback Mike Cavan.

But in 1970, Florida got some revenge in the Gator Bowl. Florida rallied to beat Georgia, 24-17. The Gators and All-SEC defensive end Jack Youngblood stopped the Bulldogs on the Florida one yard line late in the fourth quarter.

Florida also scored the last two touchdowns of the game on a pair of John Reaves scoring tosses to legendary wide receiver Carlos Alvarez.

And in 1980 in the Georgia-Florida game the Dogs got off the snide and shocked the Gators with the game-winner with a Buck Belue 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsey Scott.

Another Florida-Georgia stunner came in the 1984 football game when the Gators shut out the Bulldogs, 27-0. Kerwin Bell and Ricky Nattiel led that Florida rout in Jacksonville.

Bell hooked up with Nattiel on a 97-yard touchdown pass against Georgia. But the Dogs came back one year later in 1985 and beat the No. 1-ranked Gators, 24-3 in a startling upset in the Georgia-Florida rivalry.

Bulldog running backs Tim Worley and Keith Henderson put on a show. Florida had no clue how to tackle those two.

The 2002 Florida-Georgia game was a football classic, too. The Gators had something special for the Dogs as Florida defeated No. 4-ranked Georgia, 20-13. Defensive back Gus Scott and quarterback Rex Grossman led the Gators past the Bulldogs.

Tomorrow’s Georgia-Florida game will have some suspense and breathtaking plays, too. The 3-1 Gators and the 4-1 Bulldogs will exchange frowns and head butts starting at 3:30 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field.

Anything can happen. Brace yourself and get some extra bean dip. The Florida-Georgia game will be televised on CBS, and it isn’t going to be boring.

The author of this article can be reached via email at [email protected]

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