10 memorable SEC rivalry game performances in the last decade
As we prepare to take in Rivalry Week during the final weekend of the regular season in the SEC, let’s take a moment to look back on some of the most memorable performances in these matchups during the last decade.
For simplicity, we’re going to limit this list to games played between teams playing one another in this year’s end-of-season rivalries. The game doesn’t have to have been played on the last week of the season to count for the list, it just has to be between the two teams at some point from 2006 to the present. We’ve covered everyone playing this week at least once, leaving out only Arkansas-Missouri, which starts a final-week rivalry of its own this year.
Even with those parameters, it was still very difficult to narrow the list to 10, which is a testament to how great these rivalry games really are each year.
With that in mind, let’s get to it:
10. LSU STIFLES JOHNNY FOOTBALL (2012)
Score: LSU 24, Texas A&M 19
Why it was so great: There was no stopping Johnny Manziel in his 2012 Heisman Trophy season, except for an October meeting with LSU. The Tigers forced Manziel into his worst game of the season, throwing three interceptions and not reaching the end zone. It was a crowning achievement for the 10-win LSU team, which finished second behind national champion Alabama in the SEC West that season.
9. VANDY OUSTS DOOLEY, BREAKS LOSING STREAK (2012)
Score: Vanderbilt 41, Tennessee 18
Why it was so great: Coming into the game, Vanderbilt had lost 34 of the last 35 meetings against Tennessee, and had not won the rivalry on its own field since 1982. Commodores WR Jordan Matthews and RB Zac Stacy accounted for 333 yards of offense and three touchdowns in a victory that brought tears to the eyes of Vanderbilt fans and ultimately brought on the firing of Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.
8. TODD GURLEY RUNS GEORGIA TO COMEBACK OVERTIME WIN (2013)
Score: Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 34 (2 OT)
Why it was so great: Trying to overcome an early 20-0 deficit, Georgia turned to sophomore sensation Todd Gurley for the boost it needed to beat Georgia Tech. He scored four touchdowns on the day, including the first of the day for the Bulldogs in the second quarter, the last one in regulation in the fourth quarter, and both the game-tying score in the first overtime and game-winning run in double overtime.
7. TIM TEBOW SEALS HEISMAN BID WITH BIG DAY (2007)
Score: Florida 45, Florida State 12
Why it was so great: Capping one of the best individual seasons in the history of the conference, Tebow secured his Heisman Trophy with a blowout of the hated Seminoles in Gainesville. Tebow completed 19-of-28 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, while also gaining 89 yards and scoring twice on the ground.
6. INJURED DAK WILLS MISSISSIPPI STATE TO EGG BOWL WIN IN OT (2013)
Score: Mississippi State 17, Ole Miss 10 (OT)
Why it was so great: Dealing with a nerve injury in his shoulder, a young Dak Prescott was not supposed to be a factor in the Egg Bowl in 2013. But with the Bulldogs needing a win to reach bowl eligibility, Dan Mullen called on the sophomore to try to win a low-scoring Egg Bowl in which Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace had thrown three interceptions. Prescott took the Bulldogs down the field for a game-tying field goal and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime on a fourth-and-1 rush from the 3.
5. WOODSON-TO-JOHNSON CAPS THRILLER FOR CATS (2007)
Score: Kentucky 40, Louisville 34
Why it was so great: Down by one point with less than a minute to play and more than half of the field in front of him, Wildcats QB Andre Woodson capped a four-touchdown day by connecting with WR Stevie Johnson on a 57-yard score with just 28 seconds remaining to shock the No. 9-ranked Cardinals.
4. GAMECOCKS MAKE IT FIVE IN A ROW WITH SIX TAKEAWAYS (2013)
Score: South Carolina 31, Clemson 17
Why it was so great: Capping what will go down as an epic run for Steve Spurrier in the long history of this rivalry, the Gamecocks took down No. 6 Clemson for the fifth time in a row on their way to a second consecutive 11-win season. South Carolina forced six Clemson turnovers, including four in the final quarter, two of which led to game-decided scores in the fourth quarter.
3. McELROY-TO-UPCHURCH KEEPS PERFECT SEASON ALIVE (2009)
Score: Alabama 26, Auburn 21
Why it was so great: An underwhelming Auburn team was doing its best to play spoiler in Alabama’s first bid for a national championship under Nick Saban. But trailing by one with 1:24 remaining at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Crimson Tide QB Greg McElroy found senior RB Roy Upchurch on a 4-yard touchdown pass to take the lead, keeping alive what ended up being a perfect season.
2. CAM NEWTON ENGINEERS EPIC IRON BOWL COMEBACK (2010)
Score: Auburn 28, Alabama 27
Why it was so great: Trailing 24-0 in the second quarter, it looked as though Auburn’s perfect season was going to come to an end in the Iron Bowl. But Cam Newton earned his Heisman Trophy on that day in Tuscaloosa, taking the Tigers on four touchdown driving to score just enough to claim the win, which propelled Auburn to both a conference and national championship. Newton found the late Philip Lutzenkirchen for the final score in the fourth quarter.
1. ‘KICK SIX’ SENDS AUBURN TO CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (2013)
Score: Auburn 34, Alabama 28
Why it was so great: In one of the conference’s most memorable moments, Auburn won the Iron Bowl by returning a missed field goal the length of the field as time expired to break a tie and send the Tigers to the SEC Championship (and eventually the BCS national championship game). DB Chris Davis will live forever in Auburn football lore, and attempting the kick will go down as one of Alabama coach Nick Saban’s most regrettable decisions.