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Did MSU football cause the invention of Gatorade?

The answer is no, but the Bulldogs were involved directly in the timing of the drink's first use by Florida.

Was MSU a reason for Gatorade's invention in the mid-1960's?
Was MSU a reason for Gatorade's invention in the mid-1960's?
Ned Dishman

Everybody knows about Gatorade -- if you've ever played little league baseball, high school sports, or just ever broken a sweat in general, there's a chance that you've consumed Bobby Bouche's least favorite drink.

But what do we know about the invention of Gatorade?

If you've seen any Gatorade commercial ever, you undoubtedly know that Gatorade -- as you could've guessed from the name -- was invented by University of Florida scientists. But what you may not know is who was the last team to beat the University of Florida before the drink was first put into use.

That's right, it was Mississippi State. You see, back in 1965, Florida football coach Dwayne Douglas approached J. Robert Cade, a scientist working on UF's campus, about an issue he had noticed with regards to Florida players. Well, here's the exact exert, as described in Cade's obituary from 2007 in the New York Times:

...Dwayne Douglas, a football coach at the University of Florida, asked: Why didn’t his players urinate after a game?

Part of the answer came quickly: football players lost so much fluid in sweat in swamplike Florida that they had none left to form urine. It took longer to explain how the loss of fluid and electrolytes affected blood pressure, body temperature and the volume of blood.

In a subbasement, Dr. Cade and his researchers then concocted a drink to rehydrate athletes, and to replenish carbohydrates, in the form of the sugars sucrose and glucose, and electrolytes (sodium and potassium salts). There was one problem.

"It didn't taste like Gatorade," Dr. Cade said in an interview with Florida Trend in 1988. In fact, a football player who tried it and spat it out more than hinted that it tasted like bodily waste.

Being a student of kidneys and their bodily neighborhood, Dr. Cade did a taste test, comparing his still-unnamed concoction with that golden fluid. His new product was only marginally better. Dr. Cade's wife, Mary, suggested adding lemon juice, which helped a lot. Jim Free, a research fellow, came up with the name Gatorade.

And the rest after that is history.

So where does Mississippi State play into this, you ask? Dr. Cade's new concoction wasn't put into use by the Florida football team until an early October game in 1965 against LSU -- a game the Gators won 14-7 in 102 degree heat as LSU faded late in the game. BUT, the game before that, in late September 1965, the Gators played Mississippi State at home, and subsequently lost 18-13, ruining any chances of a SEC title for the Gators that season.

So, in summary, no, MSU was not the primary cause of the invention of Gatorade. State was simply the last team to play the Gators (and beat them) before it was put into use by the team, and then by the rest of the world.

As context as to why this came up -- gratefuldawg on sixpack today pointed out that in the below video, it shows footage of Florida playing in a game in 1965 against a team that resembles MSU. Upon further review of the history books, turns out that it is, in fact, State in the video. You can catch a glimpse of an MSU player sacking the QB for Florida in the early portion of the video. Also, here's a small tidbit for you. Know who the QB at Florida was that year? Some fella named Steve Spurrier.

Lightning Bolt (via whatsg)

h/t Sixpackspeak