Steve Spurrier’s illustrious coaching career included a national title, several SEC championships and countless wins over rivals. But there’s one loss in his career the Head Ball Coach still hasn’t gotten over.
While Spurrier was still at Florida in 2001, his Gators were ranked No. 2 in the country heading into a matchup with Tennessee. Florida was a 17-point favorite over the Volunteers, but they were upset 34-32 after running back Travis Stephens rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
Tennessee went on to win the SEC East, and it was also the last home game of Spurrier’s career at Florida before he left to coach the Washington Redskins.
Spurrier told Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel why that loss was so tough for him.
“We had such a super, super team that year,” Spurrier said. “That’s why the loss was so hard to take. Tennessee ran it right down our throats.
“We finished third in the nation that year and didn’t win anything. That Tennessee loss was so crucial, because I really thought we had a team that could go all the way. Losing that game hurt a lot. I don’t know if you ever completely get over a loss like that.”
The loss also likely ended Rex Grossman’s Heisman campaign. Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch went on to win the Heisman that season.
Spurrier finished 8-4 versus Tennessee during his tenure in Gainesville, but is still sounds as if he hasn’t gotten over that loss in 2001.
(h/t Saturday Down South)