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Gators' Tebow unconcerned about rush TD streak ending

GAINESVILLE — When the clock ran out against Hawaii Saturday afternoon, a long-running streak ended for Florida QB Tim Tebow. Entering Saturday's game, Tebow had scored a rushing touchdown and passed for a TD in 14 consecutive games.

Against Hawaii, Tebow was 9-of-14 for 137 yards and one passing touchdown, but did not rush for a touchdown.

Yet, Tebow seemed almost insulted when he was asked if he thought the streak ending might hamper his Heisman chances. That was after someone had to tell him exactly which streak was over.

"I don't really care about that," he said. "Don't care. They were meant to be broken."

HERNANDEZ MISSING: It was supposed to be his debut as the Gators' starting tight end, but instead sophomore Aaron Hernandez spent the afternoon on the bench for unknown disciplinary reasons.

"If he's ready to play, he'll play next week," UF coach Urban Meyer said. "He wasn't ready to play this week."

I'VE GOT TO TAKE THIS CALL: So you were wondering why in the world Meyer decided to go for a fake punt on Florida's first possession of the second half, fourth-and-15, leading 21-0?

Actually, he didn't. Sophomore P Chas Henry made that call. Henry apparently saw an opening, felt he could make it, and took off. He gained 17 yards on the play, which set up a 62-yard touchdown run by freshman RB Jeff Demps on the next play to give the Gators a 28-0 lead.

"That was not a called fake punt," Meyer said, then added jokingly, "… That was his last snap at the University of Florida if he didn't get (the first down). He saw a gap and he took it. He won't do that again, I'll tell you that right now."

Henry had 37 punts for 1,453 yards (39.3 average) and never punted into the end zone last season. Saturday, he punted twice in the first half and both resulted in touchbacks.

DON'T FORGET THE CHECK: The Warriors might have had to travel more than 5,000 miles and several time zones to get to Gainesville, but at least Florida's athletic department made it worth their while. At least financially speaking.

Hawaii picked up $600,000 for agreeing to play the Gators at the Swamp.

PAYING THE PRICE: Florida was the second-most penalized team in the SEC last year, and the Gators kicked off 2008 as if they are vying for the No. 1 position.

The Gators were penalized eight times for 50 yards in the first half. That included five offsides violations. Overall, Florida had 13 penalties for 90 yards.

"The discipline in the D-line, you can't have penalties like that," Meyer said. "You think it's going to be second and 10, now it's first and 5. You get a nice play on offense and a guy moves or doesn't line up correctly. So I think it's discipline. I'll have to check, but I think most of that was young players and guys who haven't played a lot yet. So that's the biggest thing we've got to get corrected."

THIS AND THAT: UF is 78-24 in openers and has won 19 consecutive first games, the longest current streak in the SEC. … Janoris Jenkins' start at cornerback marked the second consecutive year a freshman has started at the position. He was one of 23 Gators making their debut.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3389.

Gators' Tebow unconcerned about rush TD streak ending 08/30/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 30, 2008 11:24pm]
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