(Saturday, October 11th)
Final Score: (11) Florida 51, (4) LSU 21
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow threw for 210 yards with two touchdown tosses to Percy Harvin, as the 11th- ranked Florida Gators annihilated the No. 4 LSU Tigers, 51-21, in a highly anticipated SEC battle.
The romp in the Swamp featured the past two National Champions, the first such meeting in college football since Notre Dame (1988 champs) defeated Miami-Florida (1989 champs) in 1990.
The Gators rattled off 21 straight second-half points to pull away for the victory. Tebow added a rushing touchdown for Florida (5-1, 3-1 SEC), which has won two straight since its lone loss to Ole Miss. Freshman Jeffrey Demps rushed for 129 yards and a score on just 10 carries for the Gators, who had lost three of the previous four in this rivalry.
"It was a great win for us," Tebow said. "We knew it was a big game coming in. LSU is a very good team. We wanted to start strong and we did that. They rallied back and made it a game, but we responded with maturity and took over at the end."
Brandon Spikes led the Florida defense with five tackles and two interceptions, returning one 52 yards for a touchdown in the victory.
Jarrett Lee was rattled under center, hitting 23-of-38 passes for 209 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions for LSU (4-1, 2-1), which had a six-game winning streak, dating back to last season, snapped.
"UF played a great game," Lee said. "I made some misreads and their defense took advantage of them. They are an outstanding team on both sides of the ball. I thought we fought back well, but they were just too much in the end."
Charles Scott was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time in five games, netting just 35 yards on 12 carries. Richard Dickson hauled in six balls for 36 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers, who were outgained 475-321.
The defending champion Tigers finally came to life in the closing seconds of the first half, as Lee made consecutive completions of 24, 12 and 8 before a hook-and-lateral to Trindon Holliday put the ball on the Florida six. Two plays later Lee found Chris Mitchell in the right corner of the end zone to make it a 20-7 game at the break.
LSU appeared poised to make a game of it with a 12-play, nearly 6 1/2-minute drive coming out of the locker room. Andrew Hatch was under center and called his own number on an option play, pounding in a three-yard touchdown with 8:41 left in the third, but the Gators rattled off the next three touchdowns.
"We turned the ball over enough on offense," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "We did not control the ball in the first half. In the second half when they needed to score, they came down there. When we closed the game and made it a six point game, they turned it around and got seven."
Tebow hit Louis Murphy on a 37-yard completion to move the ball to the LSU two and went to his patented bootleg on the next play to waltz into the end zone for a 27-14 lead.
LSU quickly punted the ball back to Florida, and Demps took a handoff off the left side, using his deadly speed to motor for a 42-yard score.
The game was all but wrapped up after the first play of the fourth quarter, as Spikes stepped in front of a Lee pass and galloped past an LSU lineman for a 52-yard touchdown, giving Florida an untouchable 41-14 edge.
After a Tebow fumble, LSU got a little closer with a six-yard hookup between Lee and Dickson with 11:10 remaining in the game.
But a 25-yard field goal from Jonathan Phillips and a two-yard, cherry-on-top two-yard jaunt by Kestahn Moore at the two-minute mark put the finishing touches on a memorable Florida victory.
From the third play of scrimmage, the game appeared destined to end in a Gators victory. Tebow terribly underthrew his receiver on 3rd-and-12, but LSU safety Danny McCray tipped the errant throw directly into the arms of Harvin, who hauled in the deflection and burst into the end zone for a 70-yard TD.
After the Tigers went three-and-out, Florida made its way inside LSU's five- yard line but only came away with a 20-yard Phillips field goal at the seven- minute mark.
Again LSU failed to net a first down and Tebow answered with a seven-play, 41- yard drive that Harvin capped with a seven-yard reception on a perfectly run slant pattern.
Spikes put an exclamation point on the dominating opening 15 minutes by picking off Lee at LSU's 49.
"I want to thank the crowd tonight," Florida head coach Urban Meyer said. "That was as fine of a crowd as I have ever seen. I think that our team had the most well-rounded performance of the season. We were able to jump out to an early start against a great team with great football players. They're the reigning national champions."
Florida didn't score on the ensuing drive, but went to the ground game midway through the second. The 11-play drive stalled at the Tigers 17, but Phillips booted one through the uprights for a 20-0 Florida lead with 49 ticks left in the half.
LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois missed the game with a groin injury...The Gators own a 29-23-3 all-time lead against LSU...Hatch finished with 32 yards passing on 2-of-3 throws to go with 14 yards rushing on four carries...Tebow was 14-of-21 through the air and added 22 yards on 12 carries on the ground...The Tigers, who were coming off a bye, head to South Carolina next weekend, while Florida has a week off before hosting Kentucky...Florida is now a perfect 5-0 at home against ranked opponents under Meyer.
10/12 01:22:32 ET