Today I start my countdown of the top 10 "moments" of the last 10 years of Mississippi State sports. By moments I mean those times of great exhilaration you feel during a State game. The game itself may have been a win, it may have been a loss....but for those few minutes you were able to experience what being a fan is all about: pure maroon joy.
#10 on the list is Johnthan Bank's 100 yard interception return for a touchdown against #1 Florida in 2009.
Coming into the game, Florida was 6-0 and ranked #1 in the nation. The Gators were the defending national champions, and weekly top team in the land with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow. MSU was 3-4, including tough losses to LSU, Georgia Tech and Houston. 2009 was Dan Mullen's first year at State as he was previously Florida's offensive coordinator on the 2008 national championship team.
Mississippi State came to play, and stayed with the champs throughout the first half. Going to the 2nd quarter the game was tied at 3-3, but mid-way through the 2nd Florida had a 13-3 lead. The Dawgs held tough when Florida made their way into State territory forcing three field goal attempts in four previous trips. After Chris Rainey blocked a punt inside the MSU 10 yard line, it looked like the Gators were about to break it open before the half.
After stuffing Demps on 1st down and a sack by Pernell McPhee on 2nd down, Florida had a 3rd & Goal at the 8 yard line with :46 left. Coming out of a timeout, Tim Tebow was hurried and freshman Johnthan Banks caught a tipped pass and ran it back the other way for a 100 yard touchdown.
An incredible moment. Against the #1 team in the country, against a guy who was being debated as the greatest college football player ever, facing the prospects of being down 20-3, a freshman in Banks intercepts a senior in Tebow and takes it to the house.
Jonathon Banks 102 yard pick six of Tim Tebow (via sfslickdawg)
That made the score 13-10 going into the half. Early in the 3rd State kicked a field goal to tie it and there was a chance. Going to the 4th quarter Florida clung to a 16-13 lead...and we were all kissing the picture of Dan Mullen in our programs. Unfortunately, the Gators got a pick-6 of their own mid-way through the 4th quarter and their lead was extended, 29-13. But before it was over, Banks intercepted Tebow again and took it back for another touchdown....final score: #1 Florida 29, MSU 19.