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Countdown to Kickoff: 21 Days

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Halloween horrors for the Gators in 1987.

Three weeks from now you’ll hopefully be settled in somewhere, watching the late games on the opening full Saturday of college football, drunk in the content afterglow of an Auburn victory over a top ten team.

Spirits will be high, drinks lifted and clinked together, tongues flowing with praises of Gus, and Stidham, and Marlon, and the whole crew. I really hope that’s the case.

Either way, that will be a time during which we can all breathe a little easier and rest a little more soundly, for football will be back.

Three weeks from today.

Which means that today’s entry into the Countdown to Kickoff covers 21 yards for 21 days to toe meeting leather. I ask you, what better way to celebrate three weeks to the day than to go back to a game that saw Auburn exorcise some demons on Halloween night, and dominate a top ten opponent?

Auburn had lost three straight games to Florida since the 1983 SEC Championship season, and all three of those losses came against arguably much less-talented Gator teams. So when the Gators came to the Plains on Halloween in 1987, it was time for the Tigers to get a little revenge and begin a streak of their own.

Our 21-yard epitaph for the Gators comes from Lawyer Tillman on a Bullet by Burger, where the-quarterback-who-would-fight-anyone found his guy on a big third down.

Auburn won 29-6 to improve to 7-0-1 on the year, but the lone loss of the season would come a week later against the Seminoles. Still, that had no impact on the SEC standings, and Auburn won the conference championship, earning a spot in the Sugar Bowl.

Side note, this was also Emmitt Smith’s first game against Auburn, and he’d go 0-3 against the Tigers, famously sobbing on the field after the Slack-to-Wasden miracle in 1989. Emmitt would later go on to say that he probably could’ve won the Heisman at Auburn if he’d chosen to play there out of high school, instead of in Gainesville.

What could have been. War Eagle!