The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC x CFB 150: 1997-2000

116 days ago
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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 10 - SEC Football 150 Greatest Moments (1997-2000)

Final Score: Florida 32, Florida State 29
Date: November 22, 1997
Site: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Title: Gators Alternate QBs and Upset No. 1 Florida State
Often referred to as the greatest game ever played in "The Swamp", the Gators survived five lead changes and created the sixth to upset undefeated Florida State - which danced on the "F" at midfield prior to the game. Head coach Steve Spurrier elected to keep Florida State off balance by alternating quarterbacks Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise every play. With the Gators trailing 20-18, four plays after Florida State regained the lead, Fred Taylor broke off a 61-yard touchdown run to put Florida back in front. Florida State responded with 11 straight points and left the Gators with just under three minutes to work with. Johnson hit Jacquez Green for 63 yards on a play Spurrier drew up moments before the drive began. Taylor carried for 16 yards and put Florida on the one-yard line the following play, then capped the drive with a touchdown run. Linebacker Dwayne Thomas snagged an interception as Florida State attempted to rally, sealing the dramatic victory.

Final Score: Tennessee 30, Auburn 29
Date: December 6, 1997
Site: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer
Title: Manning Rallies Vols To SEC
Tennessee won the SEC title with a narrow win over Western Division rival Auburn, coming from 27-17 down to win 30-29. It was the Vols' third league title in the last ten years and 12th overall. A Georgia Dome crowd of 74,896 saw Peyton Manning's game-winning 73-yard toss to Marcus Nash with 11:41 left in the game. Manning completed 25 of 43 passes for 373 yards and four TDs. He also had two TD passes to Peerless Price and one to Jermaine Copeland. Jamal Lewis set SEC Championship game records with 127 rushing yards on 31 carries. Lewis finished with 1,364 yards, best ever by a UT freshman. Trailing 20-10 at the half, the Vol defense clamped down on the Tigers and held them to 66 yards of total offense in the second half and -15 rushing yards for the game.

Final score: Mississippi State 26, Alabama 14; Mississippi State 22, Arkansas 21; Mississippi State 28, Ole Miss 6
Dates: November 1998
Site: Starkville and Oxford, Mississippi
Head coach: Jackie Sherrill
Title: The Run to the 1998 SEC Western Division Title
Three consecutive weeks saw Mississippi State defeat Alabama, No. 9 Arkansas and Ole Miss to secure the program's first and only SEC Western Division title. Brian Hazelwood booted a 27-yard field goal with seven seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 22-21 triumph over the ninth-ranked Razorbacks. For the first time in 27 years, the Egg Bowl was played on Thanksgiving. State dominated 28-6, capped off with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tim Nelson with 2:36 to play. The Bulldogs would meet top-ranked Tennessee the following week in their first and only appearance in the SEC Championship Game.

Final Score: Texas A&M 36, Kansas State 33 (2 OT)
Date: December 5, 1998
Site: TWA Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
Head coach: R.C. Slocum
Title: First Year of BCS is Chaos Thanks to Aggies
Texas A&M entered the 1998 Big 12 Championship ranked No. 10 in the country but was an underdog against Kansas State. The game was played in the TWA Dome in St. Louis and KSU was ranked No. 1 in one poll and No. 2 in the other. With a win, the Wildcats would play in the first BCS Championship Game, and Kansas State led by 15 points in the fourth quarter, 27-12. Branndon Stewart started at quarterback for Texas A&M due to an injury to starter Randy McCown suffered the week before against Texas. Stewart capped a 10-play, 78-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown strike to Leroy Hodge to cut the score to 27-19 with 9:20 remaining. The next Aggie drive stalled in KSU territory when a fourth down pass was batted down and the Wildcats took over with three minutes left. The Aggie defense was led by Lombardi and Bednarik Award winner Dat Nguyen and the Aggie Wrecking Crew stripped K-State quarterback Michael Bishop and the fumble was recovered on the Wildcats' 35-yard line. Stewart would hook up with running back Sirr Parker for a 9-yard touchdown pass to pull within two points with 1:05 remaining in regulation. The two-point conversion was also a pass from Stewart to Parker to knot the game at 27. The teams traded field goals in the first overtime period and then KSU kicked a field goal in the second overtime. The Aggies were facing a third-and-17 at the 32-yard line when Branndon Stewart hit Sirr Parker in stride and the swift running back carried a defender into the end zone to score the game winner and complete the upset, 36-33. The Aggies would enter the BCS playoff era with an appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

Final Score: Tennessee 23, Florida State 16
Date: January 4, 1999
Site: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer
Title: Vols Win 1998 National Championship
Tennessee won its first national championship since 1951 by defeating Florida State, 23-16, in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. In doing so the Vols won 13 games for the first time in school history. The decisive play for the Vols came when offensive MVP Peerless Price, who caught four passes for 199 yards, hauled in a 79-yard scoring toss from Tee Martin. Price also had a 76-yarder to set up another score. Shawn Bryson caught a 4-yard TD pass from Martin and defensive MVP Dwayne Goodrich had a 54-year interception return for a score. Jeff Hall added a 23-yard field goal and two extra points. Martin completed 11 of 18 passes for 278 yards and two scores. Al Wilson, the leader of the defense all year, led the defensive effort with nine tackles.

Final score: Arkansas 28, Tennessee 24
Date: November 13, 1999
Site: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Head Coach: Houston Nutt
Title: Sweet Revenge
The Razorbacks welcomed No. 3 Tennessee to Fayetteville with revenge on their minds in Houston Nutt's second year at the helm. A year earlier, Arkansas suffered one of the biggest heartbreaking losses in school history, fumbling late in a matchup of undefeated teams in Knoxville to set up the Volunteers for a comeback 28-24 win en route to the national title. An unranked 5-3 Arkansas team, fresh off a loss at Ole Miss, did not appear to be much of a match for the defending national champions on paper but an early pick-six from David Barrett gave the underdog Hogs hope early. The two teams traded scores the remainder of the first half with a 19-yard Tee Martin run putting Tennessee up 17-14 at the half. A Clint Stoerner interception early in the third quarter led to a Travis Henry score and a 24-14 UT lead. A 53-yard bomb from Stoerner to Boo Williams brought Arkansas within three points in the third quarter. Stoerner and the Hogs waited until late in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback. The Arkansas QB took over, leading the Razorbacks on an eight-play, 80-yard drive and finding Anthony Lucas over the middle in the endzone to put the Hogs in front for good. The goal posts came down again with fans carrying one of the posts out of the stadium and over the hill to Dickson Street.

Final score: Mississippi State 23, Ole Miss 20
Dates: November 25, 1999
Site: Davis Wade Stadium; Starkville, Mississippi
Head coach: Jackie Sherrill
Title: "The Pick and The Kick"
Down 20-6 on Thanksgiving Night in the fourth quarter, No. 23 Mississippi State rallied with 17 unanswered points to stun No. 20 Ole Miss in what many consider the greatest Egg Bowl ever played. With 20 seconds left, instead of kneeling the ball to go to overtime, Ole Miss decided to run a play, deep in its own territory. Rebel quarterback Romero Miller dropped back and lobbed a deep pass which was deflected by the hands and then the foot of Bulldog cornerback Robert Bean before being intercepted by Eugene Clinton and returned deep into Rebel territory. The play became known as "The Pick and the Kick." With eight seconds remaining, MSU kicker Scott Westerfield then booted a 44-yard game-winning field goal. The win was State's fourth late come-from-behind rally of the season, securing a berth in the Peach Bowl.

Final Score: Texas A&M 20, Texas 16
Date: November 26, 1999
Site: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
Head coach: R.C. Slocum
Title: Bonfire Game
Texas entered the game ranked as high as No. 5 while the Aggies were No. 17, but the collapse of the Aggie Bonfire prior to the game focused national attention on the contest with more than 700 media credentials issued to sports and news crews. After Ja'Mar Toombs ran in for an initial Aggie lead, 6-0, the Longhorns would take a 16-6 lead into halftime. Combined with the outstanding punting by Shane Lechler and spirited play by the Wrecking Crew defense would keep the Longhorns out of the end zone the rest of the afternoon. Toombs ran in another score from nine yards out in the third quarter to cut the lead to 16-13. Aggie quarterback Randy McCown would throw a 14-yard touchdown fade pass to his roommate Matt Bumgardner with a little over five minutes to go in the game to give Texas A&M a 20-16 lead. Texas quarterback Major Applewhite led the Longhorns to midfield when defensive back Jay Brooks sacked and stripped Applewhite of the football and linebacker Brian Gamble recovered the fumble. With arms outstretched to the heavens, Gamble and the Aggie football team had given the Texas A&M community some normalcy after a week's worth of dealing with the disaster of losing 12 Aggies in the Bonfire collapse. Toombs, who rushed for a career-high 37 times for a career-high 126 yards, said it best after the game, "no matter what, we weren't going to lose. It was more than a game to us."

Final score: Mississippi State 47, Florida 35
Date: September 30, 2000
Site: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Mississippi
Head coach: Jackie Sherrill
Title: The goal posts come down
Jackie Sherrill called it his biggest win as unranked Mississippi State took down Steve Spurrier's No. 3 Florida Gators, 47-35. Fans stormed the field and tore down the goal posts in Davis Wade Stadium. The Bulldogs gained 517 yards on the ground, while Wayne Madkin accounted for three touchdowns. Florida turned the ball over three times and was sacked seven times, allowing MSU to record its first victory over a top three opponent since 1980. The Gators, who entered the contest 4-0, finished with -78 rushing yards. Florida would go on to win the SEC Championship that year.

Final score: Mississippi State 43, Texas A&M 41 (OT)
Date: December 31, 2000
Site: Independence Bowl Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
Head coach: Jackie Sherrill
Title: "Snow Bowl"
Willie Blade blocked an extra point, Julius Griffith ran it to the endzone for two points, and Wayne Madkin scored from six yards out to give Mississippi State a 43-41 overtime decision over Texas A&M in the 2000 Independence Bowl, which became known as the "Snow Bowl." The Aggies held a 35-21 lead in the fourth quarter, but MSU responded with 14 unanswered points for its largest fourth-quarter rally in program history. A rare snowstorm blanketed Independence Stadium prior to kickoff and continued throughout the game. Fans watching at home on television could barely see the action, and snow plows cleared the hashes during timeouts.