(Saturday, November 28th)
Final Score: (1) Florida 37, Florida State 10
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow accounted for five touchdowns in his final home game, as No. 1 Florida rolled to a 37-10 drubbing of Florida State to complete a flawless regular season.
The defending national champions are just one win away from another trip to the title game. To do so, the Gators (12-0) must get by second-ranked Alabama next week in a much-anticipated rematch of last year's SEC Championship game.
"We've been looking forward to this day since back in January, when we were grinding it out," Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes said. "We wanted to be here and are blessed to be 12-0. You can still see how hungry the guys are."
Tebow threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-21 efficiency, adding 90 yards and a pair of scores on 15 carries in Florida's sixth straight win over its Sunshine State rival.
"The way they use [Tebow] is by using his physical strength. It's like playing against 12 people. He presents so many problems. Tim Tebow is a great player," said legendary FSU head coach Bobby Bowden, who may have coached his last away game in this series.
Aaron Hernandez caught two TDs and Riley Cooper also scored in the program's 22nd straight win, the longest current streak in the country. The win also marked the first time the Gators have posted a 12-0 regular season record.
FSU freshman EJ Manuel was pressured throughout and finished with 186 yards and two interceptions on 19-of-31 passes for the Seminoles (6-6), whose victory over Maryland last week secured their bowl eligibility for an NCAA- leading 28th straight season. Manuel's lone TD pass went to Jarmon Fortson.
The Gators, debuting new uniforms, used a short field to open the game's scoring midway through the opening frame, as Tebow's shovel pass to Hernandez turned into an 18-yard score with 6:48 left.
Caleb Sturgis' 37-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter made it 10-0, and the next time the Gators got the ball they held it for nearly eight minutes.
Tebow capped the 12-play, 80-yard march by turning an option upfield and going in for an 18-yard score with four minutes to go until the break.
A quick three-and-out from the visitors gave Florida the ball back near midfield, and after gaining a first down, Hernandez took a dump pass over the middle and rumbled 37 yards for a 24-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Florida State failed to move the chains on its first touch of the second half, and Cooper hauled in a 39-yard strike 3:33 in. The extra point was block, though the 30-0 lead was never seriously threatened.
FSU's Dustin Hopkins missed a 41-yard field goal later in the frame but split the uprights from 20 yards out on the final play of the third.
On the first play of the next possession, Jeffery Demps raced down the right sideline 62 yards, and, following a incompletion on his patented jump-pass at the one, Tebow took it himself through the right side of the line to put an exclamation point on his superb career at the Swamp.
Fortson's acrobatic nine-yard TD reception with six minutes left accounted for the final margin.
"I thought that was one of the best performances we've had here, and it's time to get ready for the SEC Championship game, which is our goal every season," Florida head coach Urban Meyer said.
Florida leads the all-time series with FSU, 33-19-2...Florida's 47-6 record the past four years ranks as the most wins for any senior class in SEC history...Demps had 106 yards on seven carries...Hernandez caught five balls for 83 yards, and Cooper had three grabs for 62 yards...Manuel also led FSU in rushing with 27 yards on 11 carries...Fortson had a team-high 58 yards on four receptions...The attendance of 90,907 was a Ben Hill Griffin Stadium record.
11/28 20:36:59 ET