Year in Review: #1

We've finally reached our top news story of the year, and there's not much question as to what that story is. The Florida Gators football team didn't just defy the critics, they blew ‘em out of the water, crushing the heavily favored Ohio State Buckeyes in the BCS National Championship Game.

Let's review our countdown so far:

  • #10 Matt LaPorta sets career home run mark
  • #9 The '04s Declare for the NBA Draft
  • #8 Chris Leak sets all-time passing mark
  • #7 Gator Baseball Posts sub-.500 Season
  • #6 Jarvis Moss' Blocked FG Saves Gator Season, Beats Spurrier
  • #5 Gymnastics Wins SEC and Finishes Third Nationally
  • #4 Football's SEC Championship Drought Ends
  • #3 Is he Stayin' or Goin'?
  • #2 Gator Boys go Back-to-Back

    #1 Florida captures its Second National Title

    The Gators were eight point underdogs in a game that most people didn't even think they should be playing in. UCLA's defeat of USC on the same day that the Gators defeated Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game left Florida and Michigan vying for the spot opposite Ohio State in the BCS National Championship.

    Urban Meyer did his share of lobbying for his team, and it seemed to work. But for the most part, people felt that Michigan already had their chance to beat Ohio State and failed to do so in the classic rivalry played in mid-November. When the announcement went public on the day after Florida captured its first SEC title in six years, Gator fans had to listen for the next five weeks how their team didn't deserve to be on the same field with the mighty Buckeyes.

    Oh, how the critics were wrong!

    Florida didn't just beat Ohio State, they pounded the Buckeyes. After Ted Ginn Jr. took the game's opening kick 93 yards for a touchdown to give Ohio State a quick 7-0 lead, a stoic Chris Leak and the Florida offense went to work.

    Leak and the Gators picked apart the Buckeye defense, not using a vertical passing game, but by throwing underneath and working their way down the field. The Gators put together scoring drives of seven or more plays three times in the first half alone, jumping out to a 34-14 lead by the break.

    In the second quarter, it wasn't just the offense having all the fun. A faster and more athletic Gator defense punished the Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and the Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes were held to 65 total yards of offense in the first half. They sacked Smith three times, forced a fumble and picked off a pass all before halftime, and then held the Buckeyes to only one first down in the entire second half.

    Percy Harvin made a national name for himself touching the ball 14 times for 82 all-purpose yards. Tim Tebow threw for a touchdown and rushed for another, but it was the senior Leak's moment to shine. In his final game as a Gator, Leak completed nearly 70 percent of his passes (25-of-36), throwing a touchdown. Leak's performance earned him Most Valuable Player honors after the game.

    The win marked the Gators second national title and capped off a great story. A team that faced so much adversity over the course of the season found a way to peak at just the right time.

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