The Countdown to Kickoff continues with another negative entry (a loss), but some of these numbers are tough to find plays for! Today we go back to 1999 for 65 days until Auburn vs Washington and Larry Casher’s 65-yard interception return against Florida.
Tommy Tuberville’s first season was an interesting one for sure. It began with three straight wins, including a drubbing of LSU in Baton Rouge (the last time we’ve won there), but it also saw two wins over Appalachian State and Idaho by a combined two touchdowns. If you remember, Auburn was still on the wrong side of the press narrative because of the fact that the school bought out the scheduled game against Florida State that was supposed to open the season. Honestly, with the way that things went down in 1998 with Terry Bowden, I’m not sure Bobby would’ve taken it easy at all on us in Tuberville’s first game, so it was probably a positive overall.
Anyway, the 3-0 start gave way to five straight losses as the offense struggled at home against Ole Miss and on the road against Tennessee. The Tigers lost a close home game to Mississippi State, and then the Gators came to town ranked in the top ten as usual.
For the struggles that Auburn faced in 1998, defense wasn’t one of them, and that trend continued pretty well in 1999. To begin the game, the Gators went three-and-out, Auburn answered with a similar drive, and Florida got the ball back for their second drive. This time they moved the ball, making their way right down to the Auburn 10-yard line.
On first-and-goal from the 10, Doug Johnson zipped a pass into the end zone, Larry Casher stepped in front and took off at a sprint, making his way 65 yards before Darrell Jackson chased him down at the Florida 35. Auburn had all the early momentum with the turnover, but still couldn’t do anything offensively, and punted from the Florida 38 in true Tuberville style.
After two drives, the Tigers had moved backward for a total of -9 yards, and the Gators capitalized with a field goal on their third possession. Jeff Chandler hit four field goals in the first half, and a Darrell Jackson touchdown catch gave Florida a 19-0 lead at the half before Auburn finally mustered a pair of Ronney Daniels touchdowns late to make it closer.
Florida held Auburn to a single rushing yard on the day, and just 246 yards overall as they gave the Tigers their fourth straight loss of the year. Ugh. But we’ll always have that Larry Casher interception.
It gets better tomorrow, I promise!!