Looking back at the last four winning streaks in the Florida-Georgia series

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It’s never easy finding a path to victory against a team that is ranked No. 1 in the country and has allowed only four touchdowns all season — one of them was a meaningless score as the clock hit 0:00.

Not easy at all.

Especially for a Florida team that leads the nation in passes picked off. And gave up 49 points in its last game.

But there is a reason why we play the games and you have to remember that every game is its own game. They write books about Florida-Georgia and if there is one reason for Florida to hope the next chapter is a good one, we have to hope the mathematical progression continues.

After the infamous Georgia Stomp game in 2007, each team has been on three-game winning streaks. First the Gators, then the Bulldogs, then the Gators, then the Bulldogs.

Florida broke the latest streak in 2020 so wouldn’t it make sense to keep it going?

Here’s a look at those four mild winning streaks and what happened in each of them:

2008-10

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Florida wins three in a row

Total score – UF 124, Georgia 58

Although Urban Meyer and Mark Richt made up several years after Georgia rushed the field following its first touchdown in the 2007 game, Meyer was furious at the time.

The week of the 2008 game, he told his wife Shelley about a dream he had. Florida was way ahead and Meyer instructed Tim Tebow to roll out and throw the ball as hard as he could into the Georgia fans still at the game.

They laughed. He told Tebow about it. Tebow’s response?

“Let’s do it!”

Instead, Florida simply handed Richt the worst loss of his career 49-10. Meyer responded at the end of the game by calling two timeouts to make the Bulldogs suffer a little longer.

“It doesn’t get any sweeter than this,” said Tebow, who was responsible for five touchdowns in the game.

Florida’s players had spent the previous offseason doing 42 reps at every weight station to signify the 42 points Georgia scored in 2007.

A year later, it was more of the same, a 41-17 win during which Tebow broke Herschel Walker’s scoring record. Georgia came out in black helmets for the first time ever. It didn’t work.

“New helmets and black pants ain’t going to make you win the game,” said linebacker Ryan Stamper.

And in Meyer’s last Florida-Georgia game, Florida kept its SEC East hopes alive with a thrilling 34-31 win in OT. Significant in this game was Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham putting his hands to his throat and screaming at Florida kicker Chas Henry that he was going to “bleepin’ choke.”

He did not.

2011-2013

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Georgia wins three in a row

Total score – Georgia 64, UF 49

Ah, the Will Muschamp Era. There are people out there (including in my old building at the Gainesville Sun) who were convinced Muschamp was a plant sent by Georgia to wreck Florida’s program.

He did his best to do just that but not because of a lack of effort.

He lost his first three games against Georgia, which was stunning for Gator fans who had just witnessed an 18-3 Florida run in the series.

The Gators blew a 17-3 lead in the 2011 game as Richt, fighting for his job, went for two fourth downs that resulted in touchdowns. It was Florida’s fourth straight loss of the season.

“Obviously, I didn’t do a very good job of getting our team ready,” Muschamp said. It didn’t help that John Brantley was 2-for-14 in the second half.

No. 6 Florida went into the 2012 game undefeated, but a late Jordan Reed fumble at the goal line led to a 17-9 loss. It would be the only regular-season game that Gator team would lose.

The following year, the Gators were facing a Georgia team coming off consecutive losses. Neither team was ranked, but the Bulldogs were welcoming Todd Gurley back for injury. He rolled up 187 all-purpose yards, Georgia got up 20-0 and held off a furious Florida comeback to win 23-20.

That meant that Muschamp was 0-7 as a player and a coach in the series.

2014-16

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida wins three in a row

Total score – UF 89, Georgia 33

There were some coaching changes during this three-game streak as Muschamp finally beat the Bulldogs 38-20 using a fake field goal and 418 rushing yards.

In the interview room after the game, Muschamp reached for a fake monkey and said, “Let me get this thing off my back.”

Two weeks later, after an overtime loss to Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina team, Muschamp was fired effective at the end of the season.

That brought Jim McElwain into this rivalry and his first game had a lot to do with 2015 being Richt’s last Florida-Georgia game.

During the bye week, he made a decision to go with an unknown quarterback in Faton Bauta. He was more elusive as a runner and it would surprise the Gators defense.

Except his high school coach told enough people that by the time the game got close everyone knew who the quarterback would be. And, of course, No. 11 Florida crushed Georgia 27-3 to leave Richt with a 5-10 record in the series.

(On the other hand, it made Treon Harris 2-0 as a starter in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party).

A week later, Florida would beat Vanderbilt to clinch a trip to Atlanta.

The next year, it was the same deal. Florida won 24-10, earned another trip to the SEC title game (although that would be much later in the season) and made it three in a row over the Bulldogs and one in a row over new coach Kirby Smart.

“People pick this team apart quite a bit and this and that,” McElwain said. “Guys, this is a good football team. The Florida Gators are a good team, all right?”

2017-2019

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia wins three in a row

Total score – Georgia 102, UF 41

McElwain would only coach in one more Florida-Georgia game and it was not pleasant. Rumors swirled on game day that he was about to be fired after his “death threats” comment and Florida went out and played like a team that didn’t have their coach’s back.

No. 3 Georgia led 35-0 after three quarters thanks in part to Sony Michel TD runs of 74 and 45 yards and won 42-7. Florida had no pulse and McElwain was fired the next day.

Dan Mullen took over and brought some new life to an old series, taking shots at Georgia in press conferences. It did not work out well in his first match-up, a 36-17 loss where the Gators were in the game in the fourth quarter before two late Georgia touchdowns sealed it.

The following year, Florida had all kinds of troubles when the armbands each offensive player received didn’t match up. Mullen could be seen raving on the sidelines about the mix-up (and at the half had a heated discussion with officials about missed calls) and the Gators went down 16-3 before scoring a pair of late touchdowns to have a chance.

But a perfectly thrown pass from Jake Fromm to Eli Wolf for the first down sealed Florida’s fate in a 24-17 loss.

After the game, Mullen talked about how Florida had pulled closer to Georgia, but it was of little consolation.

Until the following year.

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