Tim Tebow, Gators Blazing a Trail That Ends in Miami
At the beginning of the season, the Florida Gators had several goals that they wanted to accomplish by season's end. All the goals would be met if they could reach their ultimate goal...finish the season undefeated. By completing this goal, winning the SEC East Division, Going to Atlanta, and winning the SEC championship, and winning a national championship would all be inevitably checked off.
The first bump in the road happened when Ole Miss came into The Swamp and stole a game from the Gators. Sloppy play on offense led to three turnovers that gave the Rebels the ball in UF territory. Then a blocked extra point cost the Gators their undefeated season.
After the game, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow gave an emotional speech in which he promised that there will not be a more hard-working player in the country than himself, or a more motivated team than his.
But the next game against lowly Arkansas had the looks of another possible upset for the Gators.
That's when it happened.
The Razorbacks brought the game within 10 points, and, after a late third-quarter Tebow interception, fans were thinking, "uh oh, here we go again." But after a quick defensive stop, the Gator offense came onto the field with the look of determination that had been missing up to this point.
A seven-play, 83-yard drive, capped by a picture-perfect Tebow-to-Percy Harvin touchdown pass is what resulted, making the score 24-7. The Gators added two more scores to win, 38-7.
You could say that from the fourth quarter of the Arkansas game, this has been the team that Tebow promised after the Ole Miss loss, and the team the Gator Nation had expected to see from the beginning of the season. UF has outscored its opponents by a 226-50 margin since. It's even more impressive if you consider two things:
- Thirty of the 50 points were scored when the Gators' first-teamers were on the bench already
- The teams they did it against were:
- LSU: The Gators administered a beatdown to the tune of 51-21 to the defending national champs.
- Georgia: The preseason No. 1 Dawgs looked like puppies after a 49-10 thrashing, avenging last year's stomp party.
- Kentucky: Coming into the game, the Wildcats had the top-scoring defense in the SEC. That is, until they gave up 63 to the Gators.
- Vanderbilt: The Commodores had not given up more than 24 points this season until Florida scored 42 with ease; in fact, the backups came in with a 42-0 lead halfway through the third quarter.
Assuming Florida continues to play focused, it will roll over South Carolina, The Citadel, Florida State, and Alabama in the SEC championship. The 2008 season will almost assuredly end with the Gators and the (Red Raiders, Longhorns, or Sooners) battling it out for the national championship.
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