JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Georgia and Florida face off Saturday, and ahead of the big game we are taking a walk down memory lane. First Coast News caught up with two former players who share their favorite memories.
"When you walk in that stadium there's a different level of intensity and excitement. It's like a bowl type experience during the season because you have 40,000 Dawg fans in red and black and 40,000 orange and blue Gator fans," said Kerwin Bell.
Bell was a Gator quarterback in the 80's and said his favorite memory was in 1984. He was a redshirt freshman and Georgia had beat Florida several years in a row.
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"We win the game 27 to nothing, and I think the last touchdown was a 96 yard bomb to Ricky Nattiel to sort of put the game away, and to watch the Gator fans run on to the field after the game and pass the goal posts up the stands and take them back to Gainsville is a memory I'll always remember."
Allan Leavitt still has his Georgia helmet on display at his Jacksonville home. The former Georgia kicker played for the Bulldogs in the 1970s and remembers vividly the Georgia-Florida matchups he was a part of.
His describes his favorite memory: "Florida had a two touchdown lead in 1976, and we came back after half-time after Coach Dooley got us ready to play, and we scored four touchdowns in a row and were able to beat them and win the SEC. I think that is still the greatest team moment we've ever had," said Leavitt.
The Georgia-Florida match up in Jacksonville dates back to 1933, and David Lamm with 1010XL Sports Radio said it is one of only three neutral site games played every year in college football.
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"Other than Christmas week, this is the biggest party week of the year in Jacksonville. The town is buzzing. You see everybody with their flags out. Parties are all over the the place. I just think it's a great time," said Lamm.
As for who is likely to win, it depends on who you ask.
Kerwin Bell, "It's going to be a great game but anytime you get a team playing as well as Florida is in the second half, they'll take over in the second half and find a way to win the football game."
Allan Leavitt, "I've got to root for Georgia, and I think they are going to pull a couple of good things."
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David Lamm, "I've been to 35, and what's really unique about this rivalry is rivalries are usually pretty well balanced, but Georgia won 10 of the first 13 I covered. The Gators have won 18 of the last 22, and so it seems like one team has always had the power and right now it belongs to the Gators."
Kickoff is set for 3:30pm Saturday at EverBank Field in downtown Jacksonville.
First Coast News