The Georgia-Florida series from the 1970s is mostly remembered for the Bulldogs' dramatic wins in 1975 (Appleby to Washington for 80 yards) and 1976 ("4th and Dumb" and a Ray Goff-led comeback). The victory over the Gators that preceded the two, although not nearly as distinguished, was certainly just as thrilling.
PREGAME: Florida journeyed to Jacksonville with one of its greatest teams in its history. The Gators were 7-1, ranked 6th in the nation, and had already accepted an early invitation to play Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl that New Year's Day. Georgia had one of its most explosive offenses in years, however, the defense was the worst in the 11 seasons of the Vince Dooley era, allowing 355 yards and almost 25 points per game. The Sugar Bowl-bound Gators were a comfortable 6 1/2-point favorite over the 5-3 Bulldogs.
DETAILS: Surprisingly, Georgia shut out the Gators through the first two quarters, 9-0. The Bulldogs scored on a 5-yard run by Horace King (photo--courtesy of Red and Black) and on a safety when Florida backup quarterback Jimmy Fisher slipped and fell in his own end zone. The Gators took a 10-9 lead in the third quarter following a Don Gaffney scoring pass and David Posey field goal. In the fourth quarter, King scored on a second five-yard run, knifing past several Gator defenders into the end zone standing up. The Bulldogs elected to go for two points and sophomore quarterback Matt Robinson connected with Richard Appleby (who would REALLY make a name for himself in the very same stadium a year later) for a two-point conversion and a 17-10 advantage. In the final minutes, Gaffney drove the Florida offense 55 yards, scoring on a 4-yard scramble with only 28 seconds remaining. Gators coach Doug Dickey, as he had the year before, decided to go for two points and the victory, down 17-16. In 1973, Gaffney had defeated Georgia, throwing for a late touchdown when trailing 10-3 and then passing for the subsequent two-point conversion to break the hearts of the Bulldogs, 11-10. A year later, he attempted to do the same but his two-point pass fell low and wide of fullback Jimmy DuBose. The Bulldogs had turned Florida's sugar sour in a one-point, thrilling victory.
PLAYER OF GAME: Although King was responsible for both Bulldogs touchdowns, "Gliding" Glynn Harrison rushed for 85 of Georgia's 173 rushing yards. Harrison's best run was one that did not count--an 87-yard touchdown jaunt that was later called "one of the greatest runs in Georgia history," however, it was nullified by an offsides penalty.
Georgia- 12 first downs, 173 rush yards, 90 pass yards, 12-5-1 passes, 263 total yards, 1 fumb. lost
Florida- 23 first downs, 240 rush yards, 180 pass yards, 19-11-1 passes, 420 total yards, 1 fumb. lost
RUNDOWN: The Gators would finish the '74 regular season with an 8-3 record and would narrowly lose to Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl, finishing #15 in the final AP poll. Georgia's win over Florida propelled its SEC record to 4-1 and kept its hopes alive for an SEC championship. However, the Bulldogs dropped their final three games, including to Miami of Ohio in the Tangerine Bowl, to finish a disappointing 6-6 overall. Georgia's inadequate play on defense in 1974 eventually led to its "Junkyard Dawgs" moniker and scrappy style of play the following season.