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Revisiting The Rivalry: The 2003 and 2004 Games

Live in Gainesville...

Hatred is best determined not by the joy you feel when you overcome your rival, but the pain when you don't. That is why my two most memorable Tennessee games as a student were losses. Losses that was typical of the Zook era; too many penalties, inability to close out games, and the perception that both players and coaches did not give their all.

The first of these losses came in 2003. Down 17-3 in the fourth, DeShawn Wynn scored to make it 17-10. Later, down 24-10, Leak threw a pick which shouldn't have sealed the game. There was 7:15 left in the final quarter. UF's defense shut Tennessee down, but Zook sat his five star recruit in favor of Ingle Martin. Yes, Ingle Martin was the starter in this game. Two unsuccessful drives later, UF was done.

In 2004 our second game was in Knoxville as our original second game was postponed due to storms. But even with Channing Crowder not sitting (remember Zook's suspension was for the first two "scheduled" games) Tennessee scored 16 points in the final quarter. With less than three minutes left in the game, UF lead 28-27 when Dallas Baker got a 15 yard penalty for hitting a Tennessee player after the play. And we all know what happened after that. (Even the SEC head of officials couldn't save Baker who needed tremendous performances in his senior year to clean the bad taste left by 2004.)

In typical Zook fashion, he didn't defend his player and he couldn't control his team. In back-to-back seasons, we as Gator fans had to watch a more talented team lose to Tennessee. But Meyer has changed that. Saturday, he goes for three in a row.