LSU fans may think it unfair that their Tigers have to play Florida every season as their cross-divisional Southeastern Conference opponent. But truth be known, the Tigers and Gators have met every year since 1971, long before the SEC had divisions, with Florida holding a slim 33-29-3 lead in the series. There is no denying, however, that this matchup has led to some memorable matchups like the ones below:
Oct. 25, 1958 — LSU 10, Florida 7: With LSU’s blossoming national championship hopes on the line, kicker Tommy Davis trots onto the field with 2:59 left in a 7-7 tie with the Gators. Seemingly unfazed by the pressure, Davis nonchalantly tells quarterback Warren Rabb “Just tilt it back a little” before splitting the uprights with a 36-yard game-winning field goal. The tense victory lifts LSU from No. 3 to No. 1 in the AP poll, a spot the Tigers hold the rest of the season.
Oct. 2, 1982 — LSU 24, Florida 13: The upstart Tigers, 2-0 coming off a 3-7-1 season in 1981, are a two-touchdown underdog to the No. 4-ranked Gators in Gainesville. That is until Dalton Hilliard takes over. The freshman tailback tallies 207 yards total offense and all three LSU touchdowns as the Tigers beat their highest-ranked opponent in 16 years.
Oct. 11, 1997 — LSU 28, Florida 21: The Tigers are 0-7-1 all-time against No. 1 teams coming into this one, including a 56-13 drubbing at Florida in 1996. This time LSU bolts to a 14-0 lead and hangs on thanks to Cedric Donaldson’s 31-yard pick six interception return. It’s the Tigers’ first win over Florida’s Steve Spurrier as a player or coach in 11 tries. “Now,” one LSU fan says amid a sea of people surging onto the field, “I can die happy.”
Oct. 6, 2007 — LSU 28, Florida 24: A then-record Tiger Stadium crowd of 92,910 watches the tense drama unfold between the reigning (Florida) and future BCS champions (LSU). The Tigers rally twice from 10-point deficits, converting five fourth downs before Jacob Hester scores the winning touchdown on a 2-yard plunge with 1:09 remaining.
Oct. 9, 2010 — LSU 33, Florida 29: Facing fourth-and-3 at the Florida 36 with 35 seconds left, the Tigers fake a field goal as holder Derek Helton flips a pass over his shoulder — on a bounce — to kicker Josh Jasper. Jasper scrambles for five yards. Three plays later, Jarrett Lee connects with Terrence Toliver on a winning 3-yard touchdown pass with six seconds remaining.