(Saturday, September 26th)
Final Score: (1) Florida 41, Kentucky 7
Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score before taking a big hit that forced him from the game, as No. 1 Florida won easily on the road, 41-7, over fellow SEC foe Kentucky.
Tebow guided a dynamic offense early that built a 31-point lead but took a nasty hit from defensive end Taylor Wyndham late in the third quarter that ended his game early.
The injury came as the result of a sack on 3rd-and-8 from the Kentucky 11- yard-line when Wyndham came quickly around the right end and lowered his head into the chest of Tebow, who never saw him coming. Tebow's head then struck the leg of teammate Marcus Gilbert.
Tebow remained on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field. He appeared woozy but uninjured on the sideline.
"What happened was that the tackle blocked down and I was unblocked and came from the corner and hit him. It was just a normal hit. I didn't really think that much about it. He is a big guy," said Wyndham after the game.
"I was a little (surprised) because he is a left-handed quarterback but I think that he was looking downfield when it happened."
Tebow was later seen being taken off the field on a cart in the fourth quarter, appearing to be sick, and was taken away in an ambulance before the end of the game. He had already been suffering from a respiratory illness prior to the contest.
"We believe it's a concussion. He got hit pretty good. He'll be fine," said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. "He was dinged a little bit. He didn't lose any feeling. They checked memory and all that. I don't know if Tim is going to stay overnight in Lexington. I don't know if he lost consciousness, I don't know all that."
Prior to leaving, the former Heisman Trophy winner ran for 123 yards on 16 carries and was 5-of-10 passing for 103 yards, including a 44-yard TD pass to Aaron Hernandez.
Tebow moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time SEC list for rushing touchdowns with 48, one behind Georgia's Herschel Walker. He also topped 7,000 passing yards for his career.
Not be outdone, the defense held Kentucky to just 179 yards of total offense and picked off two passes. The Gators have recorded at least one interception in 16 straight games, the longest such current streak in the FBS.
Sophomore John Brantley took over for the Gators' injured star and tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper, but the majority of Florida's damage was done on the ground where it racked up 362 yards.
Jeffery Demps gained 97 yards on 12 attempts for the defending national champion Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC), who opened up conference play with a 23-13 triumph over Tennessee in Gainesville last week.
Florida has now won 14 straight games, the longest active win streak in the country and in the school's history. That includes an impressive six-game SEC road winning streak.
The Gators also have a 23-game winning streak in the series, the second- longest active streak between two FBS schools in an uninterrupted series. The last time Kentucky beat Florida was in 1986, a 10-3 final in Lexington.
Mike Hartline completed 13-of-28 passes for 85 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC), which opened league play with its first loss of the season. UK had posted solid wins over Miami-Ohio and Louisville to open the 2009 schedule.
Speedster Derrick Locke was bottled up by the Gator defense and rushed for 36 yards on 13 carries.
"Very tough loss and they are a good football team. They are the No. 1 team in the nation and there are a lot of reasons for that," Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks said of the Gators. "Offensively they do a lot of good things, but no one gives their defense enough credit. Their defense is extremely difficult to move the ball against - they are big, they are athletic, they just don't give you much."
Florida took complete control in the first half and led 31-0 after just 15 minutes.
The Gators took the game's opening possession 67 yards in nine plays but had to settle for a Caleb Sturgis field goal from the four. Kentucky's first turn with the ball saw them lose 15 yards and Florida quickly responded with its first touchdown as Tebow ran it in from three yards out.
Three ensuing plays by the Wildcats had them going backwards again and a punt from the 23 was blocked and recovered by Chris Rainey in the end zone for a 17-0 Gators lead.
It was 24-0 Florida a short time later as an efficient six-play, 58-yard romp yielded Tebow's second rushing TD of the game from two yards out.
By the time the first quarter came to a close the Gators were ahead 31-0 on Tebow's 44-yard TD pass down the seam to Hernandez, who broke two tackles before coasting into the end zone.
The Wildcats had negative 16 yards of offense in the opening quarter and went three-and-out on each of their possessions.
"We have so much respect for Kentucky, but we practiced real hard this week. I thought the defense was pretty good. They haven't played the way we've wanted them to," said Meyer. "It was about as good a first quarter as it gets from any Florida team I've coached."
UK's defense pulled itself together in the second quarter and prevented Florida from inflicting further damage, while the offense got out of the red and managed a 58-yard scoring drive in 14 plays. Hartline found tight end Ross Bogue for a two-yard touchdown and the score remained 31-7 at the half.
The third quarter scoring consisted solely of Sturgis' 32-yard field goal as the Wildcats just couldn't muster any type of serious offensive attack.
With Tebow sidelined for the fourth, Brantley managed the final 15 minutes and took advantage of Hartline's second pick of the game by tossing an eight-yard score to Riley that closed out the scoring.
Locke came into Saturday's game leading the SEC in all-purpose yards and kickoff return yardage...Kentucky is 3-9 all-time against top-ranked teams...The last time UK defeated a top-ranked team was in 2007, a 43-37 triple overtime thriller against LSU...Florida leads the all-time series 43-17...Florida had several players dealing with a respiratory illness that caused Tebow and other stricken members of the team to take a separate flight to Lexington...Wildcats kicker Lones Seiber's extra point tied Joey Worley for the school's all-time scoring record (246 points)...Things don't get an easier for Kentucky next week with a home date against Alabama...Florida has a bye next week.
09/27 08:07:00 ET