(Saturday, October 31st)
Final Score: (1) Florida 41, Georgia 17
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow accounted for four touchdowns -- two on the ground and two on passes to Riley Cooper -- as No. 1 Florida rolled to a 41-17 drubbing of Georgia in the annual matchup at Municipal Stadium.
The win coupled with Tennessee's upset of South Carolina secures Florida the SEC East and a spot in the conference title game.
Tebow sustained a concussion in a game against Kentucky on September 26 and struggled to put the ball in the end zone in three close SEC wins prior to regaining his 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning form on Saturday.
The senior QB connected on 15-of-21 passes for 164 yards to lead Florida (8-0, 6-0 SEC) to its 18th straight win. Tebow also carried the ball 18 times for 85 yards and set a conference record for rushing TDs in the process, breaking the mark set by Georgia legend Herschel Walker, who ran for 49 scores between 1980-82.
"This is a special record for him, it means the world to him and it means the world to his team. We gave him the game ball and we're all in awe," Gators head coach Urban Meyer said of his star signal-caller.
Cooper ended with 78 yards on four catches for the Gators, who are off their best start since they won 10 in a row to open the 1996 season.
A.J. Jones had two of Florida's four interceptions, while Brandon Spikes returned another for a touchdown.
Georgia (4-4, 3-3), which was coming off a bye, has now dropped 10 of the last 12 meetings against the Gators. Joe Cox threw for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-20 throws but was intercepted three times in the Bulldogs' third loss in four games.
Florida, which was also the top-ranked team in the Bowl Championship Series poll this week, needed just six plays to march 80 yards on the game's opening possession, which culminated in Cooper's 22-yard TD reception.
The next Gators drive mirrored that of the first, with Tebow connecting on 5- of-6 passes for 62 yards, the last a 29-yard toss to the right corner of the end zone, where Cooper made a spectacular one-handed grab.
Georgia got on the board early in the second quarter when Blair Walsh booted a 49-yard field goal.
Cox missed an open receiver prior to the Bulldogs sending out the kicking unit, but the quarterback atoned for the mistake a little later by firing a strike down the middle of the field to Aron White, who came down with the 26- yard touchdown grab 4:20 into the second stanza, making it a 14-10 game.
On the ensuing possession, with the Gators facing a 3rd-and-16, Aaron Hernandez had a gritty 17-yard catch-and-run that gained just enough to move the chains for Florida, setting up Caleb Sturgis' career-long 56-yard field goal that snuck inside the right upright.
After Georgia went three-and-out, a 20-yard Cooper reception and defensive pass interference set the Gators up in Bulldogs territory. On 3rd-and-3 from the 23, Tebow faked a trap to the right and took it himself up the middle for the historic touchdown run and a 24-10 lead at the break.
"I cut behind [the offensive line] and the end zone was wide open," recalled Tebow. "I didn't immediately think about the record, until the guys were reminding me. Then I said, 'Oh, yeah. Can I get the ball?' The most important thing has been the guys I've shared it all with."
On the first snap of the second half, Jones came off the left end, tipped Cox's pass in the air and made a diving interception at the Georgia 19-yard line. Three plays later, Tebow called his own number on an option to the right and powered into the end zone from five yards out.
The Bulldogs answered by marching 79 yards in 14 plays. On 3rd-and-goal from the four, Cox hit Michael Moore in the back of the end zone with 6:17 remaining in the third.
Georgia's defense forced consecutive punts from Florida, but a pair of Cox interceptions doomed the comeback attempt. The last came at the Bulldogs' 28 on a diving catch by Ryan Stamper, and Sturgis' 44-yarder with 7:42 left padded the lead.
"I thought there was some good fight, but you can't turn it over like we did in the second half and mount a comeback," Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt said.
Logan Gray relieved Cox behind center, and his first pass was intercepted by Spikes and returned five yards for a touchdown to seal the lopsided outcome.
Georgia is 1-3 all-time when facing the nation's top-ranked team...A.J Green led Georgia with three catches for 50 yards, while Washaun Ealey paced the ground game with 70 yards on 17 carries...Florida running back Chris Rainey left the game in the second half with a left shoulder injury...Sturgis' first field goal was the second longest in Florida history. Chris Perkins hit a 60- yarder against Tulane in 1984...Florida outgained Georgia, 374-286.
10/31 23:25:55 ET