Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators rout Florida State Seminoles 37-10 to cap perfect regular season

GAINESVILLE — Ten months ago, immediately after they had won their second national championship in three years, this was the way the Gators envisioned it.

Last summer, during the grueling offseason workouts, this was the way they envisioned it.

And throughout this season, when the offense wasn't quite clicking, the Heisman Trophy winner didn't seem quite himself and the noise from the critics and unhappy fans nearly drove them insane, this was the way the Gators envisioned Saturday night.

Walking off Florida Field after defeating archrival Florida State with their record unblemished and both of their goals there for the taking: an SEC championship and another national championship.

The most successful senior class in SEC history took the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium one last time Saturday and led the Gators to a 37-10 victory. Then they took extra time to revel in their accomplishments with the 90,907 fans and celebrate only the second time the Gators have had a 12-0 record.

"Absolutely, this is the way (we envisioned it)," senior receiver Riley Cooper said. "From the first game, that was our goal, to win every game that we play, make it to the SEC championship and win it.

"It doesn't matter how many points you win by. We kind of struggled at the beginning of the season, not putting up points and having real close games but always finding a way to win. And that's what we're going to keep doing."

There was no offensive struggles Saturday. Florida scored on four of its five possessions in the first half, including three touchdowns, to take a 24-0 lead and cruised.

Quarterback Tim Tebow, who has become an icon among Gator fans, was 17-of-21 for 221 yards and three touchdowns, two to junior tight end Aaron Hernandez (18 and 37 yards) and one to Cooper (39 yards). Tebow rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns and broke former Florida quarterback Chris Leak's SEC record for total yards. He now has 11,389.

"This was one of his best performances," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "He threw the ball extremely well."

When the Gators found themselves facing third and goal on the 1 early in the fourth quarter, fans started chanting Tebow's name.

He responded with a vintage Tebow run to give the Gators a 37-3 lead with 10:18 remaining.

Flashes from digital cameras and camera phones could be seen flickering all over Ben Hill Griffin Stadium early in the final quarter as the reality that the end of an era was upon them began to hit fans.

"It reminded me of watching the Super Bowl on TV," senior linebacker Ryan Stamper said. "But I figured something like that would happen with all the accomplishments this senior class has had."

Florida had 545 yards of offense, and sophomore Jeff Demps had 108 yards on seven carries. The Gators held FSU to 2-of-11 on third downs and 83 rushing yards.

When it was all said and done, Tebow took a few extra minutes on his victory lap around the stadium, as fans screamed, and even cried as he left.

"It was special," he said.

"These are memories I'll always have."

Antonya English can be reached at or (813) 226-3389.

Florida Gators rout Florida State Seminoles 37-10 to cap perfect regular season 11/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 28, 2009 11:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gerald McCoy feels under appreciated, says line was crossed


    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is mad as hell and he's not taking it any more.

    Ever since the Bucs made Gerald McCoy the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, he has struggled to overcome the shadow cast by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
  2. HomeTeam 100: Players 41-50


    Bulldog QB Charles Harrison III, (12) during the fourth quarter of the Zephyrhills at Nature Coast High School football game on Friday, 11/11/16.
  3. Lake Tarpon bass tournament still going strong after nearly 40 years (w/video)


    Matt Smith, left, and Gary Muchler, work to bring a large mouth bass into Smith's bass boat with only minutes to spare while fishing off Dolly Bay in Lake Tarpon during the Lake Tarpon Tuesday Night Bass Fishing Tournament on Tuesday (7/18/17). The fish sealed second place for the duo.
  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Orioles?


    After the Rangers swept them over the weekend, the Rays won't have much time to rest, with 14 games scheduled for the next 14 days. The second half of their homestand begins tonight against the Orioles. Here's the information you need to know about Baltimore before the action kicks off.

    Starter Wade Miley has melted down after a hot start.
  5. Sergio Romo celebrates striking out Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers to win Game Four of the Major League Baseball World Series at Comerica Park in 2012.