Gators Solid Against Top Defense

The Florida Gators faced the nation's No. 1 pass defense on Saturday, and they did it without their top wide receiver Percy Harvin. It's safe to say that Tim Tebow wasn't rattled as he reeled off one the best single-game performances of the season.

"It was as good a performance as I've ever seen a quarterback play," Urban Meyer said during his Monday press conference.

Tebow completed 22-of-32 passes, and many of his 10 incompletions were drops. He also rushed for 120 yards and was responsible for seven touchdowns on the day. But Meyer wanted to make sure everyone knew it was a total team effort.

"The offensive line did not allow a sack for the second week in a row and protected him very well," Meyer said. "The receivers made plays, although we had four or five balls that could have been caught, Tim played very well."

Tebow joined senior Andre Caldwell as the co-offensive players of the game. Caldwell stepped up in Harvin's absence by collecting career highs with 11 receptions for 148 yards. It was Caldwell's first big showing since returning from a knee sprain early in the season.

"First of all, he is healthy," Meyer said. "Second, his approach to the game I don't want to say has changed completely, but when he first got here it isn't near what it is now. When he had that injury against Troy, that set him back. He played great Saturday and has done a great job for us."

Kestahn Moore, David Nelson, Jim Tartt and Jason Watkins also graded out as champions, but two major contributors from Saturday failed to make the list. Brandon James and Jarred Fayson both had fumbles in the first half, which most likely kept them from grading out.

"Jarred was close to grading out a champion," Meyer said. "At times he played fantastic, obviously with the first touchdown of the game. He did a nice job also of carrying the ball for us."

As for the status of Harvin, he's still sick, but Meyer expects him back in practice either Monday or Tuesday.

Good protection

The Gator offensive line hasn't just been good, but they've been close to great. The Gators rank third in the SEC in both rushing yards and fewest sacks allowed, and they've been doing it through adversity. On Saturday, Maurkice Pouncey was forced to leave the game because of a high ankle sprain and Drew Miller was banged up for a few minutes.

"I'm getting some good news on Pouncey," Meyer said. "There's a chance he'll play this week. He's a tough guy. It's Maurice Hurt right now, and the other guy would be Marcus Gilbert who would see some playing time. We'd move Medder inside, then Marcus and Carl Johnson, so those are the people that we're trying to get mixed in there."

The huge numbers the Gator offense has posted in recent weeks is directly related to the line.

"We're good any time you protect your quarterback," Meyer said. "I'm pleased with it and I still think we could have played better in this game. I'm being overly critical. We protected the quarterback very well because at times they did a lot of movement up front."

Defense wasn't bad either

The Gator defense held South Carolina to 384 yards and forced three turnovers.

"Joe Haden and Tony Joiner played very well with an interception and a fumble recovery," Meyer said. "Major Wright knocked the socks off a guy. The secondary is getting a lot better and you'd expect them to, however, they are still giving up far to many passing yards. They just need to keep getting better."

Brandon Spikes was named defensive player of the game after recording 11 tackles, recovering a fumble and breaking up a pass.

"I'll tell you he's turning into a fine player for us," Meyer said.

Derrick Harvey, Justin Trattou, Major Wright and A.J. Jones were also named champions.

Tebow honored by SEC

For the third time this season, Tebow was named as the SEC's Offensive Player of the week.

Tebow also earned the honor after leading the Gators to wins against Ole Miss and Troy.

UF/FSU Gametime set

CBS has announced the kickoff time for the Gators' rivalry matchup with Florida State on November 24. The game will start at 5 p.m.

Florida will look to return to its winning ways against their rivals when they face the Seminoles. Their loss to Georgia a few weeks ago ended an eight game winning streak against FSU, Georgia and Tennessee combined.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


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