Tebow reruns

Tebow reruns

QB has led Gators to 22 wins in a row

December 1st, 2009 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Florida's Tim Tebow hasn't provided any apologies this football season, nor any guarantees.

Just win after win.

The senior quarterback has led the No. 1 Gators to 22 consecutive victories, including 21 by double digits, entering Saturday's Southeastern Conference championship game against No. 2 Alabama at the Georgia Dome. With two more wins, the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder from Jacksonville would end his renowned career with three SEC championships, three national titles and the first perfect season in Florida history.

"This obviously being the next chapter and a new season and a new opportunity has been a little bit different," Tebow said Monday. "There have been a lot of expectations and a lot of pressure, not only by outside forces but also by ourselves. Our expectations as a team are pretty high, and we have not hit all of them, but what I am extremely proud about is that in all the tough situations and all the opportunities in which it looked like we could have folded and lost, we rallied together and made great things happen.

TIM THE TERRIFIC

Numbers to remember in the career of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow:

1 -- In 2007, Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.

20 -- That same season, Tebow made NCAA history by becoming the first player to accumulate 20 passing touchdowns (32) and 20 rushing touchdowns (23).

56 -- Tebow enters the SEC title game with a league-record 56 career rushing touchdowns. He broke the mark of 49 that Georgia tailback Herschel Walker set in three seasons on Oct. 31 against the Bulldogs.

84 -- Career touchdown passes by Tebow, which ranks fourth in SEC history behind Danny Wuerffel (114), Peyton Manning (89) and Chris Leak (88). Tebow has just 15 interceptions.

"People are expecting us to score more or be more flashy or have more big plays, but sometimes that's not who we are."

Florida has been inconsistent at times in the red zone and in its deep passing game following the departures of receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy to the NFL. Yet even a struggling Gators offense has recorded some significantly stout numbers.

The Gators rank third nationally in pass efficiency, sixth in rushing (236.7 yards a game), 12th in total offense (451.3) and 10th in scoring average (36.5 points). TCU is the only other Bowl Subdivision program to rank among the top dozen teams in those four categories.

"We're 12-0, and that's all that matters," Tebow said.

Tebow ranks fifth nationally in pass efficiency, completing 162 of 244 passes (66.4 percent) for 2,166 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. He is sixth among quarterbacks in rushing with 66.33 yards per game, averaging 4.12 yards per carry and scoring 13 touchdowns.

That all leads to what Alabama coach Nick Saban considers a very difficult week of preparation.

"I think he contributes largely to that because of the style of player he is and the great physical attributes that he has as a runner and as a passer," Saban said. "He's a very instinctive guy, so he doesn't make a lot of bad choices, and that's why they have such good efficiency and balance in their offense."

Entering last season's SEC title game against Alabama, which the Gators won 31-20, Tebow repeatedly was asked about the pledge he made following a loss to Ole Miss that no player and no team would work harder. It's been nothing but victories since, with the closest being a 23-20 escape of Arkansas in the Swamp on Oct. 17.

Some of the questions now involve his career imprint, which those around the league admit is impressive.

"What Tim has done there in and out of the conference will go down in the history books," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "As you follow football, it's the team that can make a bunch of third downs and scores touchdowns instead of field goals, and that's one of the reasons Florida has won so many games. I was just amazed watching last year's SEC championship game and the national championship game and all the third downs that Florida converted. That's how they won both games, in my opinion."

Florida coach Urban Meyer broke down last week when asked about Tebow before his final home game against Florida State. Meyer believes Tebow's greatest attribute the past four years has been "his ability to stay Tim Tebow."

Even Florida's biggest rivals are quick to pay tribute.

"I admire him for his ability to play and his ability to stand up and be who he is and not be ashamed of his faith or belief system," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "He handled it in a class matter. Nationally and internationally, Tim has made an impact, and I'm proud of him."


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