Top Five Hits in Gator Football History
Top Five Hits in Gator Football History in desceding order:
No. 5: Monty Grow against West Virginia in Sugar Bowl—Jan. 1994
I was at this game, and I remember two things from that night: Monty Grow's hit on Darren Studstill, and a poor Mountaineer fan puking on himself at Pat O'Brien's after the game. Monty's hit was WAY better! The images of Studstill trying to play with his chin strap vertical through his facemask are classic!
Monty's consecutive plays also introduced us to a spectacular play by Lawrence Wright (see No. 3 below) as a freshman!
No. 4: Brandon Spikes against Georgia—Oct. 2008
Not the most devastating hit in history, but definitely a major statement that set the tone for Georgia's offense the entire game.
After a year of stewing on the 2007 loss to Georgia and being reminded daily by the Gator coaching staff how Knowshon Moreno ran all over the Gator defense in that loss, Brandon Spikes took out 365 days of aggression on Moreno in the Bulldogs' second play from scrimmage. The energy that hit gave the Florida defense enabled them to dominate the entire game. I wish I could hear their "conversation" after the hit!
No. 3: Lawrence Wright against Tennessee—Sept. 1995
One of the most vicious hits I've seen in person, this famous hit on Joey Kent separated him from a Peyton Manning pass—and set the aggressive defensive tone in Florida's 62-37 destruction of Tennessee.
Lawrence Wright eventually won the Jim Thorpe award in 1996 as the best defensive back in the nation, but it was this hit that put him in the national spotlight as one of the premier safeties in the country.
No. 2: Jarvis Williams on Miami's Melvin Bratton—Sept. 1986
Okay, so this game is outside the 20-year window I imposed above, but this hit is one of the best hits ever in Florida football history. Jarvis Williams sat on a square-out being run by RB Melvin Bratton, and after Heisman-winner Vinny Testaverde's pass fell into Bratton's arms, Williams delivered a punishing hit that left Bratton wrything in pain on the field. The Gators went on to lose this game, but the brutality of the hit still makes me cringe today when I see it. I was in ninth grade, watching the game with my dad in our living room when this bone crusher occurred, to which my dad said "Wow! He's going to feel that one tomorrow!".
No. 1: Major Wright against Oklahoma—Jan. 2009
What's with Gator safeties named "Wright" and massive hits? I'm rating this one as No. 1 mainly because of the stage upon which it was made (BCS Championship Game) and because I believe it gave the defense confidence that it could continue to aggressively cover the potent, record-breaking Oklahoma passing attack (most points scored in a season by an offense in NCAA history).
The Gators' ability to continue to execute an aggressive, defensive gameplan was a major (pun intended) reason why Florida was able to hold Oklahoma to a meager 14 points of offense. Manuel Johnson was pretty much a non-factor for most of the game after getting blown up by Wright in Oklahoma's first series, and the Gators went on to win their third national championship by the score of 24-14.
Chuck Herrington is a Contributor to the Bleacher Report. Visit http://bleacherreport.com/articles/115699-20-years-of-gator-football-top-5-plays-and-hits/page/2 to read the original article.