(Saturday, November 1st)
Final Score: (5) Florida 49, (8) Georgia 10
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow ran for three touchdowns and threw a pair of scoring passes, as fifth-ranked Florida rolled to a 49-10 rout of No. 8 Georgia and took control of the SEC East while also remaining alive in the national championship picture.
Tebow completed 10-of-13 passes for 154 yards and ran for 39 yards for the Gators (7-1, 5-1 SEC), who avenged last year's 42-30 setback at the Cocktail Party in demonstrative fashion.
There were no mass celebrations for Georgia this year. The Bulldogs sent their whole team to celebrate the first touchdown in last year's contest, but the Gators took control of this one early and dominated throughout.
"It's a rivalry game," said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. "I can't go on about how big this was. Was this motivation for the summer? Yeah, it was. It was the only rivalry game we lost a year ago, and losing doesn't sit well with our players."
Georgia (7-2, 4-2) didn't reach the end zone until late in the contest and lost for the 16th time in the last 19 meetings. The Bulldogs haven't won consecutive games in the series since capturing three in a row from 1987-89.
Florida has won four in a row by an average of 39.5 points since a 31-30 setback against Ole Miss and can earn a berth in the SEC Championship Game with a victory next week at Vanderbilt.
"We have to be ready for next week," Meyer added. "We want a trip to Atlanta."
Georgia, which was coming off a 52-38 rout at LSU last week and had won three in a row following a deflating 41-30 home loss to Alabama, would need to win its last two conference games and have Florida lose twice to reach the SEC title game.
Knowshon Moreno was held in check, as the Bulldog back managed just 65 yards on 17 carries. Matthew Stafford threw for 265 yards on 18-of-33 passing, but was picked off three times and failed to throw a touchdown pass.
"The bottom line is we played and got whipped," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. "We are 7-2 right now and we've got to prepare to win the next one. We can't let this loss hurt us the next time we play football."
The Bulldogs had the first chance to reach the scoreboard midway through the first quarter, driving to the Florida 10, but Stafford was sacked on consecutive plays and Blair Walsh missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Florida followed with an 80-yard drive for a touchdown, as Percy Harvin scored on a 13-yard run.
Walsh drilled a 35-yard field goal on Georgia's next possession and the Bulldogs followed with a surprise onside kick. Florida recovered and took full advantage of the short field to extend its lead.
Tebow needed just seven plays to direct his team 41 yards for the touchdown, as an 18-yard pass to Aaron Hernandez set up the Heisman winner's two-yard scoring run for a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
Walsh then clanged a 27-yard field goal attempt off the left upright with 1:44 left in the half and the Bulldogs went into the break trailing by 11.
"We had some red-zone opportunities early on, and we didn't score touchdowns and we missed field goals, so that wasn't good," noted Richt. "We moved the ball pretty darn well and ended up with turnovers, and you can't have that and expect to win a ballgame."
It only got worse after the intermission.
Stafford was picked off by Joe Haden on Georgia's first series of the second half. Haden returned the interception 88 yards to the one-yard line and Tebow found the end zone on the next play to extend the margin to 21-3.
After Georgia went three-and-out, Tebow threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy.
Moreno then fumbled on the next Bulldog possession and Terron Sanders returned it 20 yards to the Georgia 10. Two plays later, Tebow scored on an eight-yard run to give the Gators a comfortable 35-3 cushion.
Another Stafford interception followed, although Florida was unable to convert the turnover into points. Ahmad Black then came up with Florida's third interception on Georgia's next series and his 64-yard return set up a 25-yard scoring pass from Tebow to Harvin on the next play.
That marked the end of Tebow's day, but the Gators continued to pile it on.
John Brantley engineered the next Florida scoring drive, finishing the 66-yard march with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Deonte Thompson for a 49-3 lead with 7:21 remaining in the contest.
Georgia finally found the end zone with backup quarterback Joe Cox, who threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Aron White to account for the final margin.
"Our turnovers, execution and some other things didn't go our way," said Moreno. "They just played better than us today."
Tebow has rushed for a touchdown and thrown a scoring pass in the same game 20 times. He also became the Gators' all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 38, surpassing Emmitt Smith's record of 36...Florida's largest margin of victory in the series is 40 points, 47-7 in 1996...Georgia will travel to Kentucky next Saturday.
11/01 22:31:28 ET