(Saturday, August 30th)
Final Score: (5) Florida 56, Hawaii 10
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Reigning Heisman Trophy-winner Tim Tebow completed 9-of-14 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown to lead the fifth- ranked Florida Gators over the Hawaii Warriors, 56-10, in the season opener for both teams at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Brandon James scored a pair of touchdowns for the Gators (1-0), who opened their season on the earliest date in their 102-year history. Jeffrey Demps ran for 76 yards and a score as the Gators stayed unbeaten in August. Florida has outscored its opponents 286-57 in six all-time games played in the month.
Greg Alexander was 11-for-21 with two interceptions and only 57 yards for the Warriors (0-1), who began the era under new head coach Greg McMackin on a sour note.
The game was close in the beginning as the Warriors only had five less offensive yards than the Gators in a scoreless first quarter. However, the Gators outscored Hawaii 28-0 in the second quarter and they never looked back.
James scored the game's first touchdown on a one-yard run with 11:39 left in the second quarter. The 10-play, 80-yard drive which started late in the first quarter was highlighted by a 32-yard pass by Tebow to Tate Casey into Hawaii territory.
The Warriors got the ball back, but on their second play, Major Wright intercepted an Alexander pass and ran it back for a 32-yard score to put the Gators ahead, 14-0.
After the offense and defense accounted for the first two scores, the Florida special teams joined the party as it tallied the team's third touchdown. James, who already scored on offense, ran back a punt 74 yards with 5:35 left in the half to push the advantage to 21-0.
The Gators took advantage of an Aaron Bain fumble for the final score of the first half. Ryan Stamper picked up the loose ball and returned it five yards to the Hawaii 42-yard line which set up a 33-yard touchdown run by Chris Rainey two plays later.
The third quarter was more domination by the Gators when they also outscored the Warriors, 28-0, to take a commanding 56-0 lead.
Demps ran for a 62-yard score with 12:16 left in the third to make it a 35-0 affair and then on their next possession the Gators went ahead, 42-0, courtesy of another big strike. Tebow found Louis Murphy for a 48-yard score through the air in a drive that only took 38 seconds.
With just 2:52 left in the third, Cameron Newton scored on a one-yard run to complete a 12-play, 70-yard drive. Tebow used his legs to get the Gators down the field with two rushes for 21 yards on the drive.
On the ensuing possession, Ahmad Black returned a Brent Rausch interception for an 80-yard score with less than a minute left in the third.
The Warriors finally got on the board with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter via a 30-yard kick by Dan Kelly.
Then with only 1:37 left in the contest, the Warriors capped off the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Inoke Funaki to Greg Salas.
The Gators took care of the football, winning the turnover battle, 6-0.
It was the first all-time meeting between these two teams on the football field.
Florida coach Urban Meyer has never lost a season opener as a head coach (8-0)...Florida's last loss in a season opener was in 1989 when it suffered a 24-19 defeat to Ole Miss...The Gators are 32-8 overall under Meyer in his fourth season...The Gators outgained the Warriors, 406-241, in total net yards.
08/30 17:19:18 ET