Tebow Cruises to First SEC Win

Even after the team had already sung the fight song and alma mater and most of the Tennessee fan section was already on the road back to Knoxville, Tim Tebow still had unfinished business. He made an effort to circle the entire field to thank the fans. You could tell he'd been looking forward to this moment and wanted to savor every bit of it.

"The Gator Nation and all the fans were great, coming out there and supporting us all game in the heat and everything," Tim Tebow said. "The least you can do is give an extra lap and shake some hands."

The fans had a lot to be thankful for, too, coming off the Gators' 59-20 rout and third-straight victory over the rival Volunteers. While many expected a high-scoring game, nobody could have predicted the performance that Tebow and company put on.

Tebow was virtually flawless in the first half, completing 6-of-7 pass attempts for 104 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for another 46 yards and a touchdown. Overall, he accounted for more than 360 yards of offense and four scores.

"It was a complete team effort out there today," Tebow said. "Our receivers found a way to get open down the field and our offensive line did a good job of forcing good running lanes. Anytime you can run the ball and throw the ball well, you will be successful."

While some would point to an interception that was returned for a touchdown, coach Urban Meyer was quick to dismiss Tebow's blame on the play, saying that it was due rather to an incorrect route ran by intended receiver Riley Cooper.

Though the offense struggled on its first three drives, Tebow established a level of physicality that showed the defense he was not going to shy away from contact.

"I love getting to run the ball in games," Tebow said. "The contact feels good. When our receivers spread the defense, it leaves good running room."

All in all, the game proved to be a huge success for a team that is still very inexperienced and missing several key offensive veterans. There were certainly some mistakes, but it's a credit to the team's coaches and team leaders for making sure they were prepared.

"We are a young team, offensively and defensively," Tebow said. "But we have some leaders on the team that have been in some games so they did a great job of talking to the younger guys and getting them ready to play in these big games."

With Tebow at the reins, the offense came through on numerous occasions and none were more significant than a 49-yard pass to Percy Harvin when they were backed up into their end zone. The play proved to be a crucial change in momentum as Tennessee was threatening to narrow the Gators' lead even more.

"We knew we had to move the ball on offense, give our defense rest and hopefully put up some points.," Tebow said. "We had to go out there and do it. Backed up on our own one, if we don't get a first down it's a scary game if we have to punt out of there. We knew we were going to be aggressive and took that shot. Luckily it paid off for us."

It also displayed the level of confidence that the UF coaching staff has in it's young signal caller, despite this being his first star against an SEC-caliber opponent. That confidence isn't lost on Tebow.

"It means a lot," Tebow said. "They gave me an opportunity and responsibility to go out there and run it. They have a lot of trust so I'm thankful for that. I'm trying to earn more trust out there every play. It's great having a coaching staff like we have. The game plan they put together for this game was unbelievable. The way that the coaches were calling plays it seemed like they were running the perfect defenses right into our plays."

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