The defending SEC champion Gators ran into a buzzsaw in Starkville, Miss.
UF quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Shane Matthews, returning to his native Pascagoula, threw five interceptions and was sacked three times in an ugly 30-6 loss at Mississippi State in the only ESPN Thursday night game ever played by the Gators. His Heisman candidacy ended that night, with the sold-out, cowboy-clanging reminding him of as much.
HEIS-MAN! HEIS-MAN! HEIS-MAN!
The defeat dropped Florida to 1-2 in Southeastern Conference and gave Coach Steve Spurrier his first two-game losing streak as UF coach, piggy-backing on a lopsided 31-14 setback 12 days before in Knoxville.
The Gators, though, ralled to win their next seven games and clinch the first SEC East Division title, only to fall to eventual national-champion Alabama in the inugural conference championship game.