5 to remember Timmy by
Since the day he stepped onto Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 2, 2006, quarterback Tim Tebow has thrilled Gator fans with his hard-nosed, tough play. Tebow's career is filled with highlight-reel plays. Here are five of his most memorable plays at Florida Field:
1. Tebow's debut
DATE/OPPONENT: Sept. 2, 2006, vs. Southern Miss
WHAT MADE IT MEMORABLE: Tebow became only the third true freshman UF quarterback to be responsible for at least one score in a season opener. He made his collegiate debut in the fourth quarter and scored on a 1-yard run, giving fans a glimpse of what was to come.
2. The jump pass
DATE/OPPONENT: Oct. 7, 2006, vs. LSU
WHAT MADE IT MEMORABLE: With 22 seconds left in the first half, the Gators had second and goal on LSU's 1-yard line after Tebow rushed for 3 yards on the previous play. On the next play Tebow faked a run toward the line, jumped in the air and pumped his arm before connecting on a touchdown pass to tight end Tate Casey. UF won 23-10.
3. Fourth and 1
DATE/OPPONENT: Sept. 27, 2008, vs. Mississippi
WHAT MADE IT MEMORABLE: After taking a 17-7 halftime lead, No. 3 Florida committed two of its three fumbles on consecutive possessions — one by Tebow and another by receiver Percy Harvin. The Gators trailed by one with about 40 seconds left. As he had so many times before, Tebow attempted to run on a fourth-and-inches play, but he was hit in the backfield and uncharacteristically stopped short. Ole Miss won 31-30, but the loss led to Tebow's now-famous "The Promise" speech, in which he promised no team or player would play harder the remainder of the season. The Gators have won 21 games since.
4. Dominating a rival, through pain
DATE/OPPONENT: Nov. 24, 2007, vs. Florida State
WHAT MADE IT MEMORABLE: Tebow broken his right hand in the third quarter, yet continued to play. He was responsible for five touchdowns and accounted for 351 yards of total offense. His spin move out of what appeared to be a sure sack led to a seasonlong 23-yard TD run. He had 89 rushing yards and two rushing TDs on his way to becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman.
5. Surpassing the legend
DATE/OPPONENT: Sept. 6, 2008, vs. Miami
WHAT MADE IT MEMORABLE: With 311 total offensive yards, Tebow surpassed the school's first Heisman winner (and former coach), Steve Spurrier (5,290), on UF's all-time offensive yardage list, moving into ninth with 5,493. Tebow was 21-of-35 for 256 yards and two touchdowns and also had 13 carries for 55 yards.
Antonya English, Times staff writer