6. Auburn 23 vs. Florida 20 – Oct. 13, 2001
How I Remember It: Florida was the best team in the nation at the time. They had Rex Grossman, Jabar Gaffney, Reche Caldwell, and of course were led by Steve Spurrier. Not one person in the world gave Auburn a chance. I don’t even think Florida brought their punter, seriously.
It was windy and drizzly the whole game. The score was close, but Auburn pretty much manhandled the Gators all night. Florida had negative rushing yards, and besides one long pass play, where Gaffney was wide open, the Tigers stopped the nation’s most explosive offense.
I remember even from my view, in the student section, Damon Duval’s winning field goal looked wide right, but when the fans in the endzone went crazy, I knew Auburn had just done the “impossible”. I also remember my fellow students rushing the field and tearing down the goalpost. Once they were done, the chain link fence inside the hedges around the field was pretty much gone.
What Really Happened: Florida was ranked #1 or #2 in the nation, depending on which poll you were following, but we’ll use #1 for this post’s sake. Auburn came in unranked with one loss (Syracuse, 14-31).
The Gators got on the board first with a field goal, but Auburn answered back with one of their own to tie the game. Early in the 2nd quarter, Daniel Cobb ended a 59-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak. The Gators added another field goal later in the quarter as the Tigers led 10-6 going into halftime.
Florida would take the lead halfway through the 3rd quarter on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Grossman to Caldwell. At the end of the quarter, Auburn recovered a fumble on a bad snap to the punter at the Florida 2-yard line. One play into the 4th quarter, Chris Butler ran two yards for the score.
The Tigers would add another field goal on their next possession, but on the very next play from scrimmage, Grossman connected with Gaffney for an 80-yard touchdown pass tying the game at 20-20.
The two teams would go back and forth for the most of the rest of the quarter, but following an Auburn fumble, Karlos Dansby intercepted Grossman. Cobb then led the Tigers on a 10-play drive to get Duval in field goal range.
Just like yesterday’s entry, we all know he made the kick, and the rest is history.
Why did I pick this game? Even though Auburn only had one loss on the season, they weren’t in the national picture at all. This win was huge for the season, and huge for the program. The Tigers knocked off the #1 team when nobody expected it. A game winning field goal is always good for the Top 30 list as well.
Fun Facts: This was Auburn’s first win over Florida in eight games. Rex Grossman was intercepted four times on the night.
Play of the Game: Duval’s game winning field goal is a no-brainer.
Player of the Game: As I’ve said before, if you kick a game-winner, you are the player of the game everytime.
Quote of the Game: “This feels great. To come out and beat the No. 1 team in the nation feels great. The defense did what they had to do to stop them, and the offense played tough all game. I have the easy job. For the third week in a row, I just came out and put it through the uprights. I really wasn’t nervous at all.” – Damon Duval
Box Score and Game Story: USA Today
The rest of the Top 30:
7. Auburn 18 vs. Alabama 17 – Nov. 22, 1997
8. Auburn 18 vs. Florida 17 – Oct. 14, 2006
9. Alabama 26 vs. Auburn 21 – Nov. 27, 2009
10. Auburn 41 vs. West Virginia 30 – Sept. 19, 2009
11. Auburn 28 vs. Alabama 21 – Nov. 19, 2005
12. Auburn 10 vs. Florida 7 – Nov. 4, 1989
13. Auburn 28 vs. Tennessee 21 – Oct. 4, 2003
14. Georgia 56 vs. Auburn 49 – Nov. 16, 1996
15. Auburn 7 vs. LSU 3 – Sept. 16, 2006
16. Auburn 20 vs Florida State 17 – Oct. 20, 1990
17. Auburn 28 vs. Alabama 23 – Nov. 22, 2003
18. Auburn 29 vs. Georgia 26 – Nov. 11, 2000
19. Auburn 38 vs. Arkansas – Oct. 16, 2004
20. LSU 26 vs. Auburn 21 – Sept. 20, 2008
21. Georgia 19 vs. Auburn 14 – Nov. 13, 1982
22. Auburn 17 vs. Alabama 10 – Nov. 24, 2007
23. Auburn 33 vs. Ole Miss 20 – Oct. 31, 2009
24. Auburn 26 vs. Tennessee 26 – Sept. 29, 1990
25. Auburn 31 vs. LSU 7 – Oct. 26, 2002
26. Auburn 27 vs. Florida State 24 – Oct. 1, 1983
27. Ole Miss 24 vs. Auburn 20 – Nov. 8, 2003
28. Auburn 24 vs. Georgia 6 – Nov. 13, 2004
29. Auburn 55 vs. Pacific 0 – Sept. 9, 1989
For some reason I remember Florida punting on 3rd down at one point. Did that really happen or am I just getting senile in my old age?
Now that you say it, I do remember that. Spurrier got frustrated and they were back deep in their own territory. In fact, I think it happened on the dropped snap that set up the Chris Butler touchdown.
This game was also one of my favorites, but it was definitely on a Saturday night, not Thursday night. Also the goal post being carried up the student section and almost thrown over the edge of the stadium took place after this game. You said it happened after the 1997 iron bowl and i guess it could have happened then too, but i was at both games and don’t remember the goal post even being taken down after that iron bowl. Anyways I love the list and all the memories it brings back especially because we are basically the same age and pretty much attended the same games. War Eagle
Yeah, you’re right. I’m not sure why I was thinking it was Thursday night. I fixed it. Thanks!
The goal posts definitely came down in the ’97 Iron Bowl as well, i verified it in an old article. But you’re right again. In both cases the posts were almost thrown over the edge.
Thanks for reading!
Right after this game started a friend of mine asked me what I was doing after the game. I looked her right in the eyes and told her I was running onto the field and tearing the goalpost down. It was my greatest prediction ever.
Interesting Story from that game. I was a Senior and a Member of the Marching Band that year.
2 weeks earlier while watching the game with Duval’s then girlfriend Brandy we had a friend who just always would be negative and was talking about how bad we were playing at Syracuse (First flights after 9/11… Go Figure)
Finally I said (after a little liquid courage) to him…
“We’re not playing that bad tonight… We’ll beat State next week, hell I’ll do you one better… WE’LL BEAT FLORIDA!”
Needless to say everybody looked at me like I was crazy and at this point I added just for the hell of it
“Watch… Damon is going to kick 2 game winners in back to back weeks”
Sure enough the following week we were down 14-13 with just about a minute and a half left. Tubby sent the FG unit on and I locked eyes with my friends who I told them a week earlier it would happen. Duval kicked his patented curve ball FG through the uprights and I laughed as I raised my horn to play “War Eagle”
The following week even Dr. Good (Associate Director of Bands at the time)amongst others said we didn’t have a chance. Like you I believed we had a shot at winning every game. Unfortunately I was running late to practice due to being caught behind Florida’s bus coming into town, but I heard something on the radio that made me pump my fist…
“Leading rusher Earnest Graham will not dress today”
I remember saying after running my lap when I got to practice “We will win this game, and I will bet anybody dinner on that fact” I had one friend who took me up on it and asked why I was so cocky and I said
“I don’t care who you are… You can’t have a passing game without a running attack and Florida lost their’s for this game” The box score you link to even reflects that (18 attempts for negative 36 yards)
Sure enough when Duval lined up and did the curve ball again, his girlfriend blew me a kiss and said “I love you”
Needless to say playing while students and fans rushed the field and then up at Toomers was one of my favorite memories as a member of the Auburn University Marching Band.
For the record… I never would have guessed we would go into OT against La Tech the following week.
[…] details of this game can be found all over the internet so I won’t add to them here. To be honest, they’re a little hazy for me outside of a vague […]
I was at this game and the game the week before against Mississippi St. The week before was a nail biter, I just remember that their cheerleaders only seemed to know one cheer… Go State..Go State! Fieldgoal… we won!! Next week, it was drizzling all day…. nobody sat down, there was electricity in the stadium. My daughter’s best friend (and lifelong UA fan) went with us to the game. We watched Duval practice kick field goals from the 50 before the game started….. forward to the end…. it comes down to a field goal, we knew Duval could do it easy and he did! The people around us who never sat down the whole game were all hugging and celebrating. Megan, my daughter’s bff was converted…. she has been an Auburn fan ever since… there is nothing like football in Auburn. What a great memory for all of us!