Michael McNeely lined up to hold for the 39-yard field goal attempt. Georgia was up 7-0 in Jacksonville with 8:35 left to play in the first half. McNeely kept the ball after catching the snap and darted off to the right side. Thirty-nine yards later, he was celebrating with the Gators fans in that corner of the North end zone at Everbank Field.
The game at that moment was tied 7-7.
A few hours later, Florida quarterback Treon Harris was in victory formation and took a knee celebrating a 38-20 victory. The unranked Gators beat the No. 11 Bulldogs.
This type of play is classic Florida-Georgia game isn't it?
Not to troll too hard, but Georgia lost, so in the most recent 30 years of the game, that part way typical. Also, UGA choking on a year with tons of potential is also typical. Also, one enormous special teams play defining enormous college football games is typical.
Look at the Florida-Miami game this year in Orlando.
Does Florida win without Tommy Townsend's fake punt conversion or without Van Jefferson's recovered fumble when Jeff Thomas muffed a punt? Probably not.
What about in the Florida-Georgia game a few years before Michael McNeely? Certainly Gator fans haven't forgotten when now-Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was on the other sideline in Jacksonville. Remember when punter Chas Henry came in in place of injured kicker Caleb Sturgis to kick a game-winner in overtime and Grantham taunted Henry with a choke gesture?
Henry did just the opposite. He refocused after then-Georgia head coach Mark Richt tried to ice him with a timeout. Henry shut Grantham and the rest of the Georgia sideline up by nailing a 37-yarder in overtime to send the 'Dawgs home losers.
All of this is to say, special teams matters people.
And I know you're probably reading this like "obviously, nobody is arguing that." But I don't just mean pay attention to special teams during the game when it counts. When you and your buddy who's a fan of the other team are breaking down the game at work, when your dad asks you who you think is going to win, mention special teams. Mention that if somebody makes a game-changing play on that end of the football, they'll probably win.