6. Sept. 29, 2007
Auburn Tigers at No. 4 Florida Gators
Final score: Auburn wins 20-17
The last time they won the SEC East, a lot of things had to happen for Tennessee football. Remember, the Vols were dead in the water early on. They had started off the year 1-2 with a 45-31 loss to the California Golden Bears and then a horrific 59-20 loss to Tim Tebow and the defending national champion Florida Gators.
After a win over the Arkansas State Red Wolves, which was two weeks after beating the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, they entered the bye week 2-2 and 0-1 in the conference. But those two blowout losses meant there was no faith in them.
However, the week UT beat ASU, an early sign of issues at UF began to show. They barely held off the Ole Miss Rebels under Ed Orgeron to get to 4-0. Still, Auburn was 2-2 like the Vols with upset losses to the South Florida Bulls and Mississippi State Bulldogs and their only wins coming over the New Mexico State Aggies and Kansas State Wildcats.
So despite UF’s ugly play, Vol fans likely believed they had no reason for faith in Auburn heading into Gainesville for a major showdown with a top 5 team. How wrong they were! As Florida’s only loss during their 2006 national title run, Auburn proved they could compete with Urban Meyer’s teams.
Tommy Tuberville’s group jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half thanks in large part to a missed field goal and a fumble by the Gators. The two teams exchanged field goals for Auburn to head into the fourth quarter with a 17-3 lead, but then the Tigers had a fumble, and you knew that Florida would use the momentum for a fourth-quarter comeback.
They did just that, scoring back to back touchdowns. All of a sudden, the game was tied at 17. But Auburn didn’t quit. With less than four minutes left, the Tigers drove into Florida territory and turned to Wes Byrum for a game-winning 43-yard field goal.
Meyer employed the brilliant use of timeouts at this point, calling one right before Byrum kicked, and made a field goal that appeared to be the game-winner. But in a moment of deflation, he realized he had to kick again.
Displaying amazing mental toughness, Byrum made the field goal again and ran across The Swamp doing the Gator Chomp. What’s more is that all of a sudden Tennessee football was alive again in the race, and fans celebrated that during their bye. It only got better for them the next week.