4. Oct. 27, 2007
No. 20 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 9 Florida Gators
Final score: Georgia wins 42-30
Two weeks after moving back in control of their own destiny to win the SEC, Tennessee football squandered it with an embarrassing 41-17 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Sure, it was Nick Saban’s Alabama. But he was in his first year and had a really bad team. So Phillip Fulmer never should have let this happen.
As a result, the Gators were back in first after holding off the Kentucky Wildcats on the road. Heading into this weekend, though, every East team had two conference losses except for the Vanderbilt Commodores, who had three, and four of those five teams with two losses played each other, Kentucky being the exception by playing the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Vols fans’ last hope was for the Georgia Bulldogs, a team they beat early in the year, to pull of the upset. They got a little bit of early help when MSU upset Kentucky, but that game wasn’t important. This was the big one.
And UGA delivered for Rocky Top. They scored an early touchdown and took a 15-yard penalty as Mark Richt sent his entire team into the end zone to celebrate. That celebration sent a message, and in a shootout, the Dawgs held off the Gators for a 42-30 win.
It was the biggest break ever for UT, who could then take sole possession in first place by beating the South Carolina Gamecocks that night. They did just that, winning in overtime thanks to a missed field goal by S.C., an outcome that would dictate two more of their wins down the stretch en route to them finally winning the SEC East.
The road was rocky, but the Vols came through and finished 9-3 and 6-2 in the conference. Georgia’s win over Florida was the final bit of outside help they needed to make it to Atlanta. Then they just had to survive, which they did.