Defense was Strong in the Face of Adversity

It was a combined effort with the offense and defense to win in the Georgia Dome Saturday and come away with the Florida Gators 9th SEC Championship. The Gators got behind late in the third quarter. They needed the offense to assume the lead and they did. Then the offense needed the defense to post a couple of stops, mission accomplished. Terron Sanders was a big part and was never in doubt.

The Gators were getting gashed up front all night. The Alabama running game was in full force and after averaging more than 2,000 yards a game all season, it looked like it was going to be more of the same. The Tide went ahead 20-17 late in the third quarter after two long drives that netted them 10 points in the quarter.

It was a position Florida was not used to being in for almost the entire season. Outside of their lone blemish against Ole Miss in week four, the Gators usually started the games strong and got out to huge leads and never looked back. This was different and as Terron Sanders remembered after the game, defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong and Defensive Line Coach Dan McCarney walked over to the defense and calmly explained that things would be fine if they just started playing their game.

It was up to sophomore Terron Sanders and company to end the bleeding right then, and they did just that.

"After they went up, Coach Strong and Coach McCarney came over and made sure that we kept up our heads and made sure we realized we were still in the game," Sanders said. "That was the first time we had to deal with adversity since the Ole Miss game and they made sure we knew how to handle it."

Sanders had his hands full along with the rest of the defensive line, going against the best offensive line they have faced all season and likely the best in the country. He just went out there and played as hard as he could.

"I just kept my head up and went out there and showed by my performance on the field that the game wasn't over," Sanders said. "I hope I did a good job of that, It looked like everyone tried to make sure that the team didn't get down. We came out victorious so it looks like we were successful."

After Alabama got the lead, it was also important for the Florida offense to stay focused on their task. Sanders had zero doubt that Tim Tebow and company would make sure the Gators would come home as SEC Champions.

"After we got behind, we still had a lot of confidence," Sanders said of the offense. "We don't ever go into a game doubting our offense,. They're a well put together group and have been together for over a year. They have faced some adversity, so we knew they would pull it out."

And now they stand as SEC Champions and on their way to the biggest game of the year.

"It feels like I'm in a dream," Sanders said. "The last time we were here (in Atlanta) I didn't make the trip up and I redshirted. After the '06 team won, all the freshmen and underclassmen looked at ourselves and said we have to go get ourselves one."

Just 60 more minutes of keeping their heads up and playing their game stands in front of them and a National Championship.

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