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Late in September, Tim Tebow made a promise. Standing in front of the TV lights, reporters and banks of cameras, his team upset by Ole Miss, he promised the room that no team was going to play as hard. That nobody was going to push their team as hard.
That nobody was going to play as hard for the rest of the season.
Thursday night, Tebow fulfilled his promise with one of the most dominating performances in recent BCS memory, the best since Vince Young’s rout of USC three years ago.
In what was primarily a defensive affair for the first three quarters, Tebow led the Gators to an upset win over number-one ranked Oklahoma, 24-14. He was a monster all over the field, throwing for over 200 yards and rushing for over 100 more. He directed two late Gator drives to put them in front and the Sooners just couldn’t retaliate.
How fast this game changed.
Early in the fourth, the Sooners had all the momentum. They had held down Florida’s offence, limiting them to just two majors, and had picked off Tebow twice. In just two and half minutes, the Sooners moved 76 yards and tied the game up at 14 on a Sam Bradford pass.
The Sooners QB was playing great so far, and finished the night with over 250 yards passing with two majors – and if not for a Gator interception at their three yard line, it would likely have been three.
The Heisman Trophy winner was cool in the pocket and completing his passes; on the drive that ended with the Gator pick, he completed seven passes in a row as the Sooners moved across the field. Oklahoma was looking good – mostly, anyway.
Because when it seemed to matter most, the Sooners just couldn’t convert. Twice in the second they were inside Florida’s 10 yard line with a first and goal. Twice nothing came of it.
That wasn’t the only time that Florida’s defence shut them down; they blocked a Sooner field goal in the third – their ninth block of the season.
In all, the Gators defence took a Sooner offence that had only scored less then 45 points once this season – 35, against TCU – and limited them to 14. They took a dominating quarterback, one who threw for over 350 yards per game, and held him to just over 250, taking the Sooners biggest weapon and all but muzzling it.
In all, the game was a slugfest, sloppy even, and most definitely not the shootout that all indications thought it would be. It didn’t matter. Florida was soundly the better team in Miami tonight – and Tebow, delivering on his promise, was definitely the better quarterback.