EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third story in a series counting down the top five players in University of Georgia football history. A companion series for Tennessee is planned for May 18-22; an Alabama series was published on May 4-8.
No opposing football coach had a more dominant stretch against Georgia than Steve Spurrier, whose Florida Gators defeated the Bulldogs 11 times in 12 meetings from 1990 to 2001.
Former Georgia defensive tackle Bill Stanfill was partially responsible for that.
When Spurrier quarterbacked the Gators during the 1960s, he was helping rewrite history at what had been the worst Southeastern Conference program through the first quarter century since the league's inception in 1933. Florida's 1966 team arrived in Jacksonville with a 7-0 record and a No. 7 ranking, but a 10-3 halftime lead against the rival Bulldogs gave way to Georgia's second-half onslaught that resulted in a 27-10 red-and-black runaway.
"We kicked Spurrier's ass," Stanfill told the Athens Banner-Herald in 2004. "I still think I'm one of the reasons why he hates us so much. I was pounding his butt whether he had the ball or not all day long. They were undefeated.
"We beat them, and (Georgia) Tech came to Athens undefeated, and we beat them, too. Florida and Tech played in the Orange Bowl, which I referred to as the Lemon Bowl, because we beat both of them."
Georgia spoiled Florida's bid for a first SEC championship, which the Bulldogs earned instead and thumped SMU 24-9 in the Cotton Bowl to complete a 10-1 record under third-year coach Vince Dooley. Spurrier had entered Jacksonville having kicked a 40-yard field goal the previous week to top Auburn 30-27, and the senior would still go on to capture that season's Heisman Trophy.
Against the Bulldogs, however, Spurrier threw three interceptions and was sacked by Stanfill three times. While Georgia was running the ball on 46 of its 47 snaps after intermission, Florida's second-half totals consisted of one first down, 5 rushing yards and 29 passing yards.
Stanfill was just a sophomore in 1966, and his performance against the Gators was a launching point for what would be three consecutive appearances on the All-SEC team and the capturing of the 1968 Outland Trophy.
Born and raised in Cairo, Georgia, Stanfill played on Bulldogs teams that went 25-6-2 and won SEC titles in 1966 and 1968. Georgia went 8-0-2 in his senior season, tying Tennessee in Knoxville and Houston in Athens, before losing the Sugar Bowl to Arkansas 16-2.
Living in the southern extreme of the Peach State resulted in Stanfill claiming he hated Florida more than Auburn and Georgia Tech combined, so the most regrettable defeat of his career was a 17-16 loss against the Gators during his junior season in 1967. Stanfill and the Bulldogs certainly exacted revenge in the 1968 meeting, humiliating Florida 51-0 in the most lopsided outcome between those two as SEC rivals.
Georgia's defense in both 1966 and 1968 allowed an average of fewer than 100 rushing yards per game.
Stanfill was the 11th overall pick in the 1969 NFL draft, getting selected by the Miami Dolphins. He produced an All-Pro career with the Dolphins and was a productive starter on the Super Bowl championship teams during the 1972 and '73 seasons, with the 1972 Dolphins going 17-0.
Concussions while playing took a toll on Stanfill during his final years, when he suffered from dementia and Parkinson's disease. He had trouble staying balanced and wound up dying in 2016 at the age of 69 due to complications from a fall that resulted in a broken leg.
"Bill was probably the greatest athlete as a lineman I ever coached," Dooley said. "He could have been a great tight end as well. Against the triple option, he was the only player that could take the quarterback, the dive back and the pitch man. Bill was a great person, a great warrior and a great Bulldog."
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