The year was 2008.
Number 15 was under center for the Orange and Blue. He had just come off a historic 2007 season, being the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman trophy. The Gators were off to a 3-0 start, even beating rival Miami in the process. Then it happened.
Quarterback Tim Tebow was stuffed on 4th and 1, late in the fourth quarter down 31-30 resulting in a turnover on downs. Gator nation was shocked. It was the first time Ole Miss had beaten a Top five opponent since 1977. The Gators had suffered their first loss of the season– and last. Florida went on to win their next ten games— including a national championship— by an average margin of 33.8 points. This Saturday, Florida plays Ole Miss again—but this time, 7 years later, the story’s been flipped.
The University of Mississippi Rebels are 4-0 this season, coming off a win two weeks ago against then ranked number 2 team in the country, Alabama. The Rebels are currently ranked third in the nation and have scored a total of 219 points so far. Florida is coming off a huge comeback victory over the Tennessee Volunteers last week where they scored two late touchdowns winning 28-27. Following the win, the Gators have been launched into the Top 25 rankings, currently ranked at 25.
The Gators’ were very fortunate for their magical comeback last week, because this week won’t be similar to prior ones. Tennessee is a good SEC team, but they’re no where near the level that Ole Miss is at. QB Chad Kelly has thrown for 1219 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, while leading his team to upsetting the number 2 team in the nation at Tuscaloosa. The Gators defense needs to play the best they’ve played all season, and the offense needs to come through.
QB Will Grier played well against Tennessee throwing for 283 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Fellow QB, Treon Harris was suspended last game but coach Jim McElwain has said that the starting role isn’t taken yet. Will Grier will get the start against Ole Miss Saturday, and will need to play fantastic if he wants to lead his team to victory.
Prediction for Ole Miss vs. UF: The Gators were very fortunate to walk away with the W last week, and this week they’ll need to clean up their mistakes if they want to be cheering again. If Florida can slow down Chad Kelly and the Mississippi offense and Will Grier shows some signs of consistency, Florida may be able to pull this off.
Predicted Score for Game: UF 21, Mississippi 20
In 2008, the Gators were highly favored against an inferior Ole Miss team and came out “promising” they would avenge their loss. In 2015, Ole Miss sits atop Florida as a 6.5 favorite. Will history repeat itself or will the Gators finally take down the sinister Rebels?