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Kirby Smart’s Diving Interceptions Spoiled Florida’s 1997 Season
Screenshot from Twitter

Before Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart was handing out Ls to Dan Mullen, he was ruining Steve Spurrier’s season.

Smart is a ‘Dawg through and through. He grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia and chose to play defensive back in Athens. The ballhawking DB played alongside the great Champ Bailey and found a way to become a first-team All-SEC player in 1998.

While wearing the red and black, he once ruined the Florida Gators’ season in 1997 by picking off not one but two passes in a 37-17 rout.

Kirby Smart’s Interceptions Versus Florida

RELATED: Kirby Smart?s ?How About Them F***in? Dawgs?? Press Conference is Georgia Gold

The Gators owned Georgia in the 1990s. Steve Spurrier won the school its first national championship that decade. UGA only beat the school from Gainesville once during that 10-year span.

UF came into the 1997 rival matchup with one loss still holding out hope for a second straight national championship. Under head coach Jim Donnan, Georgia left Jacksonville victorious.

The reason? Kirby Smart.

Smart led the way on the defensive side of the ball. He made two diving interceptions, including an incredible one that came off a deflection. Those turnovers helped a Georgia offense led by Hines Ward, Mike Bobo and Robert Edwards easily beat the Gators, 37-17.

Kirby Smart’s two-pick game wasn’t some fluke event. He finished his Georgia career with 13 interceptions and led the team with six in 1997 and five in 1998. Clearly, he had a knack for finding the ball.

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Smart tried to take his secondary skills to the next level, too. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts after going undrafted in the 1999 NFL Draft but didn’t last long. Good luck finding that collector’s card.

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Now, Smart makes big bucks to win the SEC East and whoops Florida ever year at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Beating up on the Gators is clearly nothing new for him.

MORE: Kirby & Mary Beth Smart Are Georgia?s Ultimate Power Couple

Patrick covered the Florida Gators during the forgettable Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain eras before spending two seasons writing for Major League Baseball. He's a baseball junkie who spends his days defending Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. He lives in South Florida but his heart belongs in Gainesville, Florida.
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