As part of the recognition of the 150th anniversary of college football, the Southeastern Conference is recognizing 150 of the greatest games and moments in the history of the 14 institutions of the SEC.
Each of the SEC's 14 members submitted to the Conference Office 10 great games or moments, and the SEC added 10 conference-wide highlights to produce a total of 150 great moments to be celebrated throughout the 2019 football season. To view the other weeks, click here.
Week 9 - SEC Football 150 Greatest Moments (1990-1997)
Final Score: Florida 17, Alabama 13
Date: September 15, 1990
Site: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Title: Gators Notch Culture-Changing Win at Alabama in Spurrier's Debut Season
First-year head coach Steve Spurrier took the Gators on the road for the first time in his career after UF's season opening 50-7 win over Oklahoma State. While there was cautious optimism in the program, the Gators' road opener was in Tuscaloosa - where they hadn't won since 1963. Led by sophomore free safety Will White's three interceptions and Jimmy Spencer's blocked punt, which was recovered in the endzone by Richard Fain, UF downed Alabama, 17-13. The Tide jumped out to a 10-0 lead before a Shane Matthews six-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Barber in the third quarter. White's three interceptions tied a UF single-game record, and he was later named National Defensive Player of the Week. His second interception came at the Florida two-yard line, keeping the Tide out of the endzone in the third quarter. Still trailing 10-7, Matthews took a snap from the shadows of his own goal line and connected with Ernie Mills for a 70-yard completion. Arden Czyzewski capped the drive off with a game-tying 23-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Less than 15 seconds into the final quarter, Spencer blocked a punt, sending the ball backwards 25 yards and into the endzone, where Fain fell on it for the game-winning touchdown. Spurrier later said the win at Tuscaloosa changed the culture of a program that couldn't win big games on the road. "I think it convinced our players at the time: Hey we're good enough to beat almost anybody if we prepare and get ready to play."
Final Score: Florida 35, Kentucky 26
Date: November 16, 1991
Site: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Title: Gators Hold off Kentucky to Clinch First SEC Championship
Florida entered the game with a 6-0 record in conference play and needed a win against heavy underdog Kentucky to clinch the school's first-ever Southeastern Conference Championship. Florida jumped out to a 28-3 lead before halftime but Kentucky, who had not won a conference game all year, rallied with 23 unanswered points and 7:53 remaining in the game. With the Wildcats back within two points, the Gators responded with a drive that ended with Errict Rhett finding the end zone, clinching the win and ending 57 years of frustration. Shane Matthews threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns, along with a touchdown reception. Matthews' favorite target was Tre Everett, who hauled in three passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns, including a spectacular 65-yard scoring grab off a Kentucky defender's back. Rhett finished with 154 yards, with his two-yard game-clinching touchdown putting him at 1,000 yards rushing for the season. The Gators became the first team to go undefeated in SEC play since 1983, and they were the first team since 1977 to win seven games in league action.
Final score: SEC Championship Game: Alabama 28, Florida 21; Sugar Bowl: Alabama 34, Miami 13
Date: December 12, 1992; January 1, 1993
Site: Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.; Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.
Head coach: Gene Stallings
Title: High Tide
In the 100th season of Alabama football, its postseason run in 1992 was unique to any previous in the history of college football. For the first time in the sport, a conference championship game was being held a week after the end of the regular season to anoint the SEC Champion and a berth in the Sugar Bowl against No. 1 Miami for the national championship. The game did not disappoint and has since gone down as a critical turning point for college football, after Tide cornerback Antonio Langham jumped in front of a pass from Florida QB Shane Matthews and returned it 27 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 3:16 to go in the game for a 28-21 victory. Alabama went into the Sugar Bowl matchup with the Hurricanes as a heavy underdog, but the Crimson Tide led 13-6 at halftime of a well contested game. But the second half turned into a coronation as the Tide outscored the Canes 21-7 on its way to a 34-13 victory and the school's 12th national championship. Running back Derrick Lassic seemed to be a man possessed as he cut, sliced and weaved his way to 135 yards rushing on 28 carries and two touchdowns. The Tide's historic defense stepped in, as had been commonplace throughout the season, and shutdown Miami's vaunted offense, led by Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta. The Hurricanes managed only 10 points on offense and 48 rushing yards while Torretta completed only 43 percent of his passes with three interceptions. Alabama had the ball for over 36 minutes of the game and limited the Canes to just 5-of-17 on third down conversions.
Date: December 5, 1992
Site: Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Title: SEC Championship Game becomes first in NCAA Division IA
The Southeastern Conference etched its mark in the college football history books on December 5, 1992, when the league became the first in Division IA to stage a championship game between its two division winners. The game was made possible after the conference expanded with the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, then created Eastern and Western Divisions. Under NCAA regulations, a conference with at least 12 members may play an additional football game to determine its champion, provided the regular season is played in divisions. A capacity crowd of 83,091 watched Alabama win the first SEC Championship Game over Florida while ABC televised the historic first event. The SEC title game would be played at Legion Field for two years before moving to Atlanta in 1994.
Final score: Auburn 22, Alabama 14
Date: November 20, 1993
Site: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama
Head coach: Terry Bowden
Title: Nix To Sanders
No. 6 Auburn defeated No. 11 Alabama 22-14. The game, at Jordan Hare Stadium, was not televised due to Auburn's probation but was shown on closed-circuit television before 47,421 fans at Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium. Auburn was trailing Alabama 14-5 late in the third quarter when starting quarterback Stan White went down with a knee injury. In to the game came his backup, sophomore Patrick Nix. The Tigers were facing 4th and 14 from the 35-yard line. Legendary Auburn play by play announcer Jim Fyffe described the next few moments this way: "Out of the shotgun, Patrick Nix. Alabama bringing everybody. Nix is gonna float one for Sanders, Sanders - Oh HE Caught it at the TWO! And He Dives In! TOUCHDOWN AUBURN! ... A 35 Yard Pass Play. Patrick Nix to Frank Sanders!" Alabama still led, but the game had turned. Etheridge's 26-yard field goal gave Auburn the lead and a 76-yard James Bostic sprint ended it, capping off an 11-0 season for the Tigers.
Date: December 3, 1994
Site: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Title: SEC Championship Game moves to Atlanta
After two years at Birmingham's Legion Field, the SEC Football Championship Game moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta where a stadium record 74,751 watched Eastern Division Champion Florida capture its second straight conference title. The game attracted a television audience of more than 30 million viewers. ABC's broadcast earned a 10.5 rating, marking the network's most-watched college football game since the 1991 season.
Final Score: Florida 52, Florida State 20
Date: January 2, 1997
Site: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Title: Gators Rout Seminoles in National Title-Winning Rematch
Just two months earlier, Florida's 24-21 loss to archrival Florida State seemingly crushed its national championship hopes. Florida rebounded the next week in the SEC Championship Game, winning a 45-30 shootout over No. 11 Alabama. Then a pair of upsets - No. 3 Nebraska fell to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game and No. 2 Arizona State lost to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl - gave UF the rematch with its in-state rival for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl. Coach Steve Spurrier was very public about the Seminoles defense playing through the whistle to hit star quarterback Danny Wuerffel in Tallahassee, so he put his Heisman Trophy signal caller in the shotgun most of the night. Wuerffel threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, as the Gators' 52-point outburst set a Sugar Bowl record. Florida's defense limited Warrick Dunn to 28 yards rushing in the first half, and Florida State's star running back left the game with cramps in the third quarter. Ike Hilliard hauled in three touchdowns, including his famous "stop and pop" move to avoid Seminoles defenders and find the end zone. Terry Jackson added a pair of fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns to complete the rout.
Final score: Kentucky 40, Alabama 34 (OT)
Date: October 4, 1997
Site: Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Kentucky
Head coach: Hal Mumme
Title: Goalposts Toppled Following First Overtime Game
In a thriller that featured one tie and five lead changes - including the first overtime game in school history - Kentucky notched its first victory over Alabama in 75 years. Tim Couch led the way for the Wildcats, being named National Player of the Week as he threw for 355 yards and four touchdowns. With seven minutes remaining in the back-and-forth affair, Alabama led 31-27 and was set up for a field goal. However, David Ginn rejected the kick and Anwar Stewart returned it 68 yards for a touchdown. After the game went to OT, UK recovered an Alabama fumble, followed by a 26-yard TD toss from Couch to Craig Yeast. Wildcat fans promptly stormed the field and tore down the goalposts. "If I weren't so old, I'd have torn them down myself," then-UK athletics director C.M. Newton said afterward.
Final Score: LSU 28, Florida 21
Date: October 11, 1997
Site: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Head Coach: Gerry DiNardo
Title: The Night the Tigers Beat No. 1
Tiger Stadium was bulging at the seams as LSU, for the first time in the history of the school, beat the Associated Press' No. 1-ranked team in the country with a 28-21 win over the top-ranked Florida Gators in Death Valley. LSU scored the first 14 points of the contest and led 14-7 at halftime. In the second half, Florida tied the game at 14-14 minutes into the third quarter. However, the Tiger defense kept the potent Florida offense in check and LSU regained the lead when Cedric Donaldson returned an interception 31 yards for a 21-14 lead. Florida fumbled the ensuing kickoff and four plays later QB Herb Tyler scored his second TD on an 11-yard run for a 28-14 LSU advantage with 11:40 to play. Florida cut the deficit to 28-21 with 6:44 to play, and after LSU failed to get a first down on its next possession, the Gators regained the ball with 4:20 to play on its own 21-yard line. The Tigers sealed the victory when Raion Hill intercepted a Doug Johnson pass with 2:47 to play.
Final Score: Missouri 51, Oklahoma State 50 (2 OTs)
Date: October 25, 1997
Site: Lewis Field, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Head Coach: Larry Smith
Title: "Stealing One in Stillwater"
It had been 14 years since Mizzou Football's last winning season, and Head Coach Larry Smith, now in his fourth year with the Tigers, had hopes rising that 1997 would be the year to break the dry spell. Smith's squad stood 4-3 heading into the home stretch, but a tough road game at undefeated and 12th-ranked Oklahoma State loomed large. An upset win would get MU just one win away from bowl eligibility, while a loss would leave little margin for error the rest of the way. After allowing the Cowboys the first score of the game, Mizzou answered with 30 consecutive points to take a seemingly commanding 30-7 lead at half. Junior QB Corby Jones led the way with three first-half touchdown passes, and the Tiger running attack contributed with 221 first-half yards. But this one was far from over, as OSU charged back in the second half with their own 30-point run, and when the Cowboys capped that spree with a touchdown with just under two minutes left in the game to take a 37-30 lead, things seemed dire for the Tigers. They got worse, as MU's first three plays on its ensuing drive went for a combined minus two yards, leaving a make-or-break fourth-and-12. Jones calmly connected with WR Ricky Ross for an 18-yard completion to keep hopes alive, and four plays later, the duo would hook up again for one of the most memorable touchdown passes in Tiger history. With 26 seconds left, Jones slung a beautifully-placed ball near the OSU goal line on Ross' inside shoulder, and somehow Ross stayed in bounds, found the ball despite being covered, and made the basket catch while getting one foot down for an improbable 38-yard score that tied the game and forced overtime. The teams would trade touchdowns in the first extra period, and the Tigers would score first in the second overtime on Jones' 15-yard keeper to take a 51-44 lead. Okie State would answer with a touchdown to make it 51-50, but eschewed the tie and chose to go for two to win the game. Lining up in a unique formation, the Cowboys didn't fool the Tiger defense, and DE Marquis Gibson rushed hard to force OSU's Tony Lindsay to scramble from the pocket. That forced him into the strength of the defense, as a horde of defenders crashed in and gang-tackled Lindsay at the 2-yardline to end the game. Mizzou celebrated an excruciatingly thrilling 51-50 double overtime win that undoubtedly played a key role in Smith's building of the program, as they would later reach back-to-back bowl games in 1997 and '98.