As a person who still thinks 2004 was about four years ago, it's quite jarring when I do the math and slowly comprehend that Ole Miss beat Florida in Gainesville seven years ago. SEVEN YEARS AGO. That's a number one spot higher than Ole Miss' back-to-back six-point wins over Alabama.
I assume that for many of you, like me, life was much different in 2008. I was living in a different city, was seven years dumber than I am now, and mistakenly believed that Houston Nutt knew what he was doing (seven years dumber is lots of dumb).
Things were also very different for both football teams back then. Most notably, Florida was very good, while Ole Miss was attempting to climb out of the rubble of the Ed Orgeron era.
Now in 2015, after a seven-year change in fortune, as detailed right here on this site, Ole Miss is seemingly the more powerful team, and Florida is engaged in its own climb out of the rubble. While it has certainly been a nice change for Ole Miss fans (but not without gallons of AGONY), the purpose of our time here today is not to dwell on Ole Miss' recent success and Florida's descent to where the common folk live.
We're here to go back in time and revisit that 2008 game, and remember all of the wonderful gifts that it gave us (not counting the win, but that was pretty awesome). As we go on this journey, please keep in mind that technology in 2008 was apparently horrifying, especially when placed in the hands of Raycom Sports.
One of the early gifts in this game was that of foreshadowing. On Florida's first possession, the Gators faced a 4th and 1 inside their own territory.
To gain the necessary yards, they turned to a familiar play in Tim Tebow crashing ahead. As you can see, he picked up the first down, but not by much.
Surely Florida would get that cleaned up and wouldn't have an issue in short yardage later in the game, right? I mean, it's Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer, and Florida!
A second gift this game provided came on Ole Miss' second possession. Rather than follow Florida's lead and go for it on a 4th and 1 in its own territory, Ole Miss chose to punt. OR SO FLORIDA THOUGHT. Ole Miss faked the punt and picked up 15 yards for the first down.
Now, the gift here was not a fake punt, though those are always enjoyable. No, friends, the gift here was a glimpse into the reality that our coaching staff might be slightly incompetent.
Take a look at where Ole Miss' special teams coach was standing on the fake punt.
Hands on knees, ready for action, RIGHT AT THE FIRST DOWN MARKER. As we would come to learn, the word "subtle" would never be used in a sentence with this staff.
We were also treated to a second glimpse into the future when Enrique Davis was given a carry a few plays after the fake punt. How did that go, you ask? Well, there were many outcomes, but the way it eve-
Then there was probably the most Houston Nutt offensive possession of Houston Nutt offensive possessions. For some background, Ole Miss had the ball with just over a minute to play in the first half. And this sequence happened:
BONUS GIFT: Houston Nutt fixing that thing where the jersey gets pulled up over the shoulder pads.
DOUBLE BONUS GIFT: A Raycom camera trying to get inside Houston Nutt's face.
Moving away from Nutt's nostrils, one of the real treats was seeing a live experiment of what happens when 300-plus-pound defensive tackle is trapped in the open field with college Percy Harvin. I thought you had him, Jerrell Powe.
That's always my defensive strategy too. Stay put, sort of wobble on your feet, fall over, and hope other people show up.
Alright, the pace of this thing is moving slower than a Houston Nutt offense getting out of a huddle after a timeout, so we're gonna go with a lightning gift round. BEGIN:
1) All of us screaming at Shay Hodge to run on the go-ahead touchdown because even though he was running, IT SURE DIDN'T LOOK LIKE IT.
2) 2008 surrender cobra
3) Kentrell Lockett
And that brings us to nearly the end of this (AMEN). If you recall, about 45 minutes ago, we opened with the gift of foreshadowing. Florida converted a 4th and 1, but did so with a struggle.
Now, with 50 seconds left, and the game on the line, a similar situation appeared.
Instead of watching Florida convert here and probably kick a game-winning field goal a few plays later, we were given the gift of however the hell this happened.
While those were all great gifts that I will treasure forever, none of them compare to the finest, most valuable gift this game gave us. Thanks to the 2008 Ole Miss-Florida game, we know, with complete certainty, what Houston Nutt looks like with a bucket on his head.