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The 25 times Florida’s NCAA-record scoring streak was in the most peril

The Gators’ achievement has been on thin ice for several years now.

Florida State v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Florida Gators have the longest shutout-free streak in college football history, setting the record by scoring at least once in every game from Oct. 29, 1988 through Oct. 7, 2017 and beyond.

This is one part appropriate — Steve Spurrier’s Gators led the country in scoring twice and were top 10 four other times, with Urban Meyer adding another few top-10 offenses — and one part hilarious, because ... well, you’ve seen the last decade, in which the only good UF quarterbacks are the ones who’ve transferred out.

Either way, it’s undeniably impressive, even if several recent weeks involved scoring only in the most technical sense. What follows are the 24 times the streak nearly ended (based on times UF scored 10 or fewer points), ranked by some vague combination of peril and inexcusability.

25. 2011 vs. Auburn, 17-6 loss

An atrocious performance, but that’s still two mostly honest scores before halftime in a close road game.

24. 2010 vs. Mississippi State, 10-7 loss

The Gators moved the ball moderately well against a decent defense, but kept blowing drives in or near MSU territory.

23. 2010 vs. Alabama, 31-6 loss

If not for turnovers, the Gators likely would’ve scored before garbage time ... but then again, the first of these scores ended a mere 14-yard drive. But then again, UF scored twice!

22. 2013 vs. LSU, 17-6 loss

How do you have a 14-play drive that still only gets within range of a 44-yard field goal?

21. 1992 vs. Mississippi State, 30-6 loss

Shane Matthews’ legendary five-interception game came when the Gators also couldn’t run the ball, but they were in this thing until the fourth quarter, at least.

20. 1989 vs. Georgia, 17-10 loss
19. 1989 vs. Auburn, 10-7 loss

Ugly scrappers against two programs also prone to playing in ugly scrappers.

18. 1999 vs. Alabama, 34-7 loss

Thanks in part to a nice kick return, the Gators got on the board first in the SEC Championship. No one can take that away from them.

17. 2000 vs. Florida State, 30-7 loss

With penalty flags flying all over both sides, Jesse Palmer carved up the Noles for an early TD.

16. 2002 vs. LSU, 36-7 loss

Thanks to nice field position and a 15-yard LSU penalty, rookie head coach Ron Zook scraped together a 53-yard drive.

15. 2015 vs. Vanderbilt, 9-7 win

Bonus points for:

  • Neither scoring drive going more than 41 yards
  • Missing the lone PAT
  • Turning it over four times
  • All this happening against a 4-8 Vandy

14. 2016 vs. Arkansas, 31-10 loss

Florida’s only touchdown was via an interception return, and its only offensive score was a garbage-time field goal.

13. 2012 vs. Georgia, 17-9 loss

One of the most disgusting games in the history of a disgusting rivalry saw the Gators lose four of six fumbles and throw two picks, but squirrel away three field goals — one of them on a six-yard drive — thanks in part to three UGA turnovers.

12. 2014 vs. Tennessee, 10-9 win

Will Muschamp’s boys were scoreless until 13:40 remained, having barely crossed the 50 all day. Then a UT fumble set up a 30-yard TD drive. The dam broke with a long field goal for the baffling W.

Interlude: 2014 vs. Idaho, 0-0

The Gators didn’t score in this canceled, one-play game, but they did move the ball well.

11. 2015 vs. Michigan, 41-7 loss

By far UF’s longest drive of the Citrus Bowl was aided by two straight Michigan penalties that converted a third-and-8 across midfield.

10. 2005 vs. Alabama, 31-3 loss

Meyer’s first Gators team would’ve scored more than just three in Tuscaloosa if they hadn’t been way behind on the scoreboard — they had a couple of fourth quarter turnovers on downs in Bama territory — but still, nearly scoring six or nine points isn’t good.

9. 2011 vs. Alabama, 38-10 loss

Absolute, un-replicable chicanery. The Gators’ TD came via a 65-yard lob, by far the longest throw allowed by the Tide all year. Because of that single heave by the No. 71 passer-rating offense, this was the “worst” day all year by Bama’s pass defense. AND IT HAPPENED ON THE FIRST SNAP.

This was also the second time WR Andre Debose just about saved the streak all by himself, though this one also had a later field goal.

8. 2010 vs. Florida State, 31-7 loss

If not for a 62-yard kickoff return by Debose against an otherwise decent FSU coverage unit, the streak likely would’ve died here.

7. 2017 vs. Georgia, 42-7 loss

The Dawgs came 2:42 away from ending the streak. The best part about this one: the Gators had just set the scoring record thingy TWO WEEKS PRIOR, which was pretty much the first time anyone outside of Gainesville had ever heard of this record. That meant lots of ironic celebration with a catchphrase from our podcast:

That was a thing throughout that season:

But this one can’t rank all that highly, since UF already had the record in the bag.

6. 1988 vs. Georgia, 26-3 loss

A moment from the first game of Florida’s NCAA-record scoring streak (the Gators had been shutout by Auburn the week prior):

The Gators didn’t score until 18 minutes remained, but this one also can’t rank too highly, since the streak would’ve just started the next week and broken the record a week later in 2017.

5. 1989 vs. Washington, 34-7 loss

The last game of national yards-from-scrimmage champ Emmitt Smith’s college career was also his worst as a starter. The Gators only scored on a 67-yard touchdown run ... by backup QB Donald Douglas, who otherwise averaged three yards per carry on the year. (Starting QB Kyle Morris was among the Gators suspended for betting on football.)

4. 1990 vs. Tennessee, 45-3 loss

Spurrier’s first return to his home state as the coach of his alma mater featured a busy night by punter Arden Czyzewski. Fortunately, all that legwork prepared Czyzewski to also hit a field goal.

3. 2013 vs. Florida State, 37-7 loss

The Noles came 13:39 away from ending the streak, with the No. 110 yards-per-play offense aided on the scoring drive by recovering their own fumble, getting a 15-yard FSU penalty, and somehow converting a fourth-and-8 against the eventual national champs.

2. 2011 vs. Florida State, 21-7 loss

The Noles came 4:16 away this time, until a fumble-and-penalty combo gave the No. 100 offense the ball SIX YARDS AWAY from the end zone. Luckily, the Gators were good for about six yards per drive that year.

1. 2015 vs. Florida State, 27-2 loss

If not for some INCREDIBLY stupid bounces in the fourth quarter ...

... well, you see it.