Florida Gators: The Top 10 Moments on the Way to the BCS Championship Game

Brian WalkerContributor IDecember 14, 2008

When Florida lost at home to Mississippi on September 27th, any chance for a national championship seemed lost. But, along the way, the Gators embraced every opportunity to back up Tim Tebow's promise, and make the most of the magic moments that led them to the BCS Championship Game:

1. The Drive Against Alabama 

     Alabama dominates the third quarter, holding the ball for 10 minutes, and scoring 10 points. The Gators begin the fourth quarter trailing 20-17, but embark on an 11-play, 47-yard drive, consuming nine minutes and regaining the momentum and the lead for good. 


2.  The Loss to Ole Miss

The painful upset galvanized the Gators in a way that a sloppy victory might not have. Tim Tebow has made good on his now-famous pledge to play hard and push the team. Since then, the Gators have outscored their opponents 445-110.


3.  Brandon Spikes Hits Knowshon Moreno

The Georgia running back takes a handoff on the second play from scrimmage, but Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes levels Moreno, who usually pops right up after being tackled. But not this time. Spikes lingers on top of him for several seconds to deliver a message:  Not today. After gashing the Gators for 188 yards last year, Moreno is held to 65 yards.


4.  The Fourth Quarter of the Arkansas game

Florida looked out of synch at Arkansas until, leading 17-7 heading into the fourth quarter, things started clicking. A 21-yard touchdown pass from Tebow to Harvin caps an 83-yard drive. Then, Chris Rainey and Jeffrey Demps break off scoring runs of 75 and 48 yards, respectively. The Gators win 38-7 and establish Rainey and Demps as trusted weapons.

5.  Joe Haden’s Interception Against Georgia

With eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Gators leading 14-3, and Georgia driving to the Florida 30, Joe Haden steps in front of a Stafford pass and returns it 86 yards to the Georgia one yard line. Tebow chases Haden on the sidelines, and tells him, “That’s how you change a game!” Tebow scores on a one-yard run on the next play. Game over.


6.  The Scoring Flurry Against South Carolina

After a shaky opening that saw the Gators sputter and fumble, they scored three touchdowns in less than three minutes, starting with a Brandon Spikes pick six, taking a quick 21-0 lead on the way to a 56-6 drubbing of the Gamecocks.

7.  Runback against Tennessee

Florida sends a message:  Beware of our special teams. Brandon James returns the opening kickoff 52 yards to set up the Gators’ first score, but a few minutes later he returns a punt 78 yards for a touchdown. This performance causes Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist John Adams to write,” What does Florida's Brandon James have to do for UT to stop kicking him the ball? Score twice on one play?”


8.  The First Touchdown Pass Against LSU

On Florida’s opening possession, with the Gators facing a 3rd-and-12 from their own 30, Tebow’s pass, intended for Percy Harvin, is underthrown. LSU safety Danny McCray tips the ball into the hands of the waiting Harvin who then sprints into the endzone with the 70-yard completion. A bad pass becomes the game’s first touchdown, and, from that point forward, the Gators were off to the races.

9.  Consecutive Blocked Punts Against Kentucky

In the seventh game of the year, Florida continues to terrify opponents with their special teams play. In a span of less than five minutes in the first quarter, the Gators block back-to-back Kentucky punts resulting in touchdown drives of four yards and one yard.

10. Tebow’s Touchdown in Tallahassee

In the pouring rain, with 7:32 remaining in the first half and Florida leading 14-6, Percy Harvin is injured on a five-yard carry. Florida State fans cheer. Tebow is furious, and asks for the ball. Two plays later, he completes a four-yard touchdown run, carrying a pile of about ten players into the endzone with him.  Message to opponents:  Don’t make Tebow angry.