Tebow to Face his First Real Test

Jake WaltersContributor ISeptember 13, 2007


Last year, the Gators toppled the Vols in Tennessee with a 21-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes to put the Gators over the top for good, 21-20. It wasn't Tim Tebow throwing the pass though. In fact, during their last showdown, Tebow didn't even have a single passing attempt. This year if the Gators are to have a game-winning touchdown, or any passing offense for that reason, Tim Tebow is going to have to handle it.

On top of the already heavy-load in simply facing the Vols, Tebow's first ranked opponent as a starter, this game is going to be an offensive battle. Both teams have showed weakness on defense this year, and the Gator defense will not be able to hold the Volunteer offense minus-11 yards rushing as they did last year. With a very young defense that allowed 31 points versus Troy last week, Florida will have to depend on Tebow to make plays and keep Florida in the game.

And he's going to have to do it short-handed. The Gators' leading returning reciever, Andre Caldwell, will be a spectator for the game. Caldwell sprained his MCL during last week's game vs. Troy, and could miss at least two weeks. "That's a blow,"  Florida coach Urban Meyer said Monday. "That's a frontal shot right there." he also stated that there is no timetable on Caldwell's return.

As far as performance goes, Tebow is looking like he is ready to face the challenge. In his first two games, Tebow is 31-42 with 536 yards, 6 TD's, and 0 INT's through the air while on the ground he has 131 yards and a score on 25 attempts. For a quarterback whose arm was questioned all summer, being ranked #2 in the nation in passing efficiency has been a welcome statistic for the Gator faithful.

In their last matchup Tebow was able to convert a late 4th and 1, a run that has gone down in Gator lore and led to the 21-yard game-winning touchdown between Chris Leak and Dallas Baker. Now it is Tebow's turn to start defining a legacy with his arm, not his legs.