(Saturday, October 10th)
Final Score: (1) Florida 13, (4) LSU 3
Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow shook off the concussion he suffered two weeks ago and threw the game's only touchdown to Riley Cooper, as top-ranked Florida and its swarming defense swallowed up No. 4 LSU, 13-3, in a hard-hitting SEC matchup in front of a record crowd.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was a game-time decision after being hospitalized following a big hit he took in a September 26 contest against Kentucky. Last week's bye gave him enough time to rest for Saturday's tilt, which featured college football's last three national champions.
After getting medically cleared to play, the All-American finished with 134 yards and an interception on 11-of-16 throws, adding 38 yards on the ground on 17 carries for Florida (5-0, 3-0 SEC), which became the first team in 33 games to win a Saturday night contest at Tiger Stadium.
"It was tough. I could see the stress it put on my family, friends, teammates, and different people who were worried about me not as far as football but just as a person," Tebow said after the game. "It's a big win. This place is one of my favorite stadiums to play in. It's incredible."
Jeffery Demps logged 86 yards on 16 carries for the defending-champion Gators, who held the Tigers to 162 total yards in their 15th straight victory.
Jordan Jefferson finished with a mere 96 yards with an interception on 11-of-17 throws for the Tigers (5-1, 3-1), who were coming off back-to-back tough road victories over Mississippi State and Georgia.
Charles Scott was held to 53 yards on 13 carries in defeat.
The attendance of 93,129 set a record at Tiger Stadium, breaking the previous high of 93,039 in 2008 against Alabama.
Florida primarily ran the ball on its first drive, easing Tebow backed into the flow of the game. A 28-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal capped the 13-play, 82-yard march with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter.
LSU failed to keep the chains moving on its first two touches, but its defense came up huge by stuffing Brandon James on an end around on 4th-and-2 from the Tigers' 21-yard line early in the second frame.
The hosts responded with their first -- and only -- productive drive after the turnover on downs. Jefferson hit Brandon LaFell for 26 yards and rushed for a first down on 4th-and-1 from the Florida 34. After a pair of personal foul penalties gave LSU 1st-and-goal from the 10, Scott was denied on third down from the two. Josh Jasper booted an 18-yard chip shot to tie it.
The score came with 5:16 remaining in the half, and the Gators took the reins off Tebow on the ensuing drive. The QB rushed three times for 13 yards, connected with James for a 20-yard hookup and found Cooper in the end zone from 24 yards out with 50 seconds left to put Florida on top 10-3 heading into the locker room.
"Obviously Tim (Tebow) came out and played his heart out," Gators head coach Urban Meyer said. "The offensive line did a good job of protecting him for the most part. We were somewhat conservative for the most part -- somewhat. The management of the game is dependent upon how the defense is played and the special teams and I thought those two phases were tremendous."
Coming out of the break, Tebow again used his legs to move the Gators down the field, but Sturgis missed a 20-yard kick wide left with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third.
The break didn't spark the Tigers' offense, though, which immediately went three-and-out and failed to cross midfield the entire second half.
Florida used a time-consuming drive in the fourth to all but seal it. With Demps and Tebow carrying the load, the Gators held the ball for six minutes, and Sturgis' 32-yard kick midway through the final stanza made it a two- possession game.
The Gators' defense solidified its otherworldly effort by stopping Jefferson on fourth down on the next drive, sealing yet another victory.
"We can do some special things, but we have to improve. It's just that simple. We can't come into the second half of a game and not move the football on offense," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "I thought our defense played like heck and played hard. We held a team that was scoring a lot of points and moving the ball routinely and held them down."
Next weekend, Florida hosts Arkansas, while LSU welcomes Auburn..LSU is 2-9-1 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll...Florida's defense has allowed just two touchdowns this year...The Gators hold a 30-23-3 lead in the series...The Gators, which entered the contest averaging 307.5 yards rushing, mustered a total of 327 yards...Florida came in first in the country in total defense at 212.8 yards per game allowed.
10/11 02:04:41 ET