Gators Trey Burton and Andre Caldwell Still Stirred by Florida-Georgia Game

JACKSONVILLE — Trey Burton prepared for Friday’s induction into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame by watching YouTube. He wanted to review some of the games he played against the Bulldogs to refresh his memory.

The trip into the past brought one of college football’s great rivalries back to life for Burton.

“The thing that stuck out to me was how physical it was,” Burton said. “It was super physical, super competitive. And there was so much trash talk. That was one of the fun things going back to watch it. So many big names made plays at different times on both sides.

“It was a lot of fun to be a part of.”

Never more fun than his first.

In Florida’s 34-31 overtime win over the Bulldogs in 2010, Burton was a freshman who played quarterback, running back and receiver. After scoring on a 1-yard run earlier in the game, Burton took a direct snap late in the fourth quarter and raced for a 51-yard touchdown, putting the Gators ahead 31-24. He finished with a team-high 110 yards rushing and caught five passes for 35 yards.

He played in three more Florida-Georgia games, all one-score contests that the Bulldogs won. Still, Burton’s loud introduction to the rivalry earned him a place in the game’s lore.

Burton holds the school record for most touchdowns in a single game, with six (five rushing, one receiving), becoming only the fourth player in SEC history to score 36 or more points in a single game.

He played eight seasons in the NFL and played a part in one of the most famous plays in Super Bowl history when he tossed a touchdown pass to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles on what is known as the Philly Special. Philadelphia beat New England 41-33 in February 2018 to cement Burton’s place in Super Bowl history.

Burton has never strayed far from his UF roots, serving a stint on the Gator Boosters Board of Directors and showing up at practice occasionally. The idea of being remembered for his contributions to the Florida-Georgia game is one Burton cherishes.

“I’m so honored. This is such a special game for many reasons,” he said. “Biggest game of the year, most likely. Me personally, I have some family in Alpharetta, Georgia, Bulldog Country. It’s kind of like a family divided, but it’s special for all of us.”

Meanwhile, former Gators standout receiver Andre Caldwell joined Burton as the other UF inductee. Georgia’s Champ Bailey and John Little represented the Bulldogs.

Caldwell also won a Super Bowl ring after college, helping the Broncos defeat Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Caldwell, who spent five seasons at UF, won three of the four games he played against the Bulldogs.

He was never better than in 2006 when he rushed for a touchdown and caught eight passes for 88 yards — including a 40-yard touchdown — in Florida’s 21-14 win over Georgia. The Gators went on to win their second national championship that season.

Caldwell said that as he reflected on the Florida-Georgia rivalry, he realized it meant as much as any game he played.

“This game was on top,” he said. “You win this game, you got a good chance to win the SEC and the national title. It’s such a great rivalry. It was a battle every year playing these guys.”

Caldwell was a four-year letterwinner who finished his career with a school-record 185 receptions and 2,349 yards, the third-highest total in Florida history.

A Tampa native, Caldwell made his debut in the Florida-Georgia game 19 years ago. He has accomplished a lot in the game since then, but returning to the site of so many memories on Friday has him ready to experience the game from a new perspective on Saturday when the Gators face the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs at TIAA Bank Field.

“These games were spectacular,” Caldwell said. “The competition, the athletes that played in this game, to be recognized in this light, is a blessing. I won a Super Bowl. I won a national championship. There is no experience like it.”