Tebow Carries No. 12 Gators To Fourth Straight Over FSU, 45-12
Saturday, November 24th 2007, 9:36 pm
By: News On 6
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - TimTebow did just about everything to state his case for college football's premier award in the season finale against rival Florida State. The sophomore quarterback threw three touchdown passes, ran for two scores and carried the 12th-ranked Gators to a 45-12 victory over the Seminoles on Saturday.
``We could not get him down,'' FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. ``If he doesn't win the Heisman Trophy, it's because of the sophomore thing. But if he doesn't, he should win the next two years.'' Tebow led Florida (9-3) to touchdowns on four of its first five possessions, easing pressure on a young defense that's struggled much of the year.
Percy Harvin did his part, too. After missing the last two games because of migraine headaches, Harvin returned and ran 16 times for a career-high 157 yards. He scored on a 24-yard run with 3 minutes to play. Tebow and Harvin burned the Seminoles (7-5) all over the field, helping extend Florida's dominance in the series.
The Gators have won four in a row, the longest streak since winning their sixth straight in 1986. This one was the most lopsided in the series since Florida's 53-14 victory in 1983. With Tebow and Harvin on board for at least another year, Florida State's outlook for ending the streak doesn't look promising.
``It's not the offense. It's not the style of offense. It's all personnel, and we've got some pretty good personnel right now,'' Florida coach Urban Meyer said. Tebow, who could become the first underclassman to win the Heisman, finished 19-of-28 for 262 yards. He also carried 13 times for 89 yards.
``I think Tim's one of the better players in America, but my opinion really doesn't matter,'' Meyer said. ``If I have the first draft pick, I kind of like who I've got.''
Tebow ran around and over defenders all game, and stirred the crowd into a frenzy after every big play. He had most of the 90,664 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium chanting ``Tebow, Heisman'' with 5:37 to play.
They continued the rest of the way, and as Tebow was taking a knee to run out the clock, teammates started urging him to strike the Heisman pose. ``I wasn't going to do it, but it was funny,'' Tebow said. ``Just trying to be humble and do it the right way.''
Maybe Geno Hayes should have joined in the chants. Florida State's junior linebacker said early in the week that Tebow was ``going down'' Saturday.
Tebow went down the field and down in history. His second rushing touchdown gave him 22 for the season, tying the major college record for a quarterback. Chance Harridge of Air Force also had 22 in 2002.
``He's a great football player,'' Meyer said. ``I can't say enough about him and I think he's one of the finest players in America.''
Tebow has accounted for 51 touchdowns this season. He will get to add to that total in Florida's bowl game. Although the Gators probably missed out on a chance to earn a Bowl Championship Series berth because of wins by Tennessee and Georgia, they certainly secured a spot in a New Year's Day bowl.
Florida also won a rivalry game that has recruiting implications and bragging rights. The Seminoles beat Florida in women's and men's basketball Friday night, getting off to a good start in schools' ``rivalry weekend.''
But the Gators turned things around in a hurry on the football field. Florida scored touchdowns on their first three possessions, added a field goal just before halftime and then extended the lead to 31-12 with an impressive TD drive to start the third quarter.
Harvin ran three times for 46 yards, Kestahn Moore had a 20-yard gain and Tebow picked up 15 yards and a score on two carries. Florida had five consecutive runs that gained at least 10 yards, then capped the drive with Tebow's 5-yard scamper that tied the NCAA mark.
``They just kept pounding us and pounding us,'' said FSU running back Preston Parker, who had 48 yards rushing and 55 yards receiving. ``Tebow and Harvin did their thing and we couldn't stop them. ... They simply had more playmakers than we did.''
The Seminoles moved the ball well early, but had to settle for four field goals in the first half. Gary Cismesia connected from 21, 38 and 28 yards, then drilled a 60-yarder on the final play of the first half. It was the longest field goal in school history and the longest in the nation this season.
The Gators finished with 541 yards, including 279 on the ground. ``Football is two things: blocking and tackling, and we couldn't do either one of them,'' Bowden said.