Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

UF Gators: Junior QB Tebow delivers on promise

JACKSONVILLE — Forgive Tim Tebow if his victory lap took a little bit longer Saturday.

He had a lot of people to thank.

By the time the clock hit zeros, most of the Georgia fans clad in red and black had departed and Florida's fans had spread out among the stadium to slap the reigning Heisman Trophy winner's hand.

"I just want to … enjoy it with them, too," he said. "They're out there and you see red and black every now and then, every 20 yards, and then you look and see orange and blue covering the stadium. I think it's the best. I just wanted to have fun and experience it with them."

It was yet another chance for Tebow to deliver on the promise he made to fans after Florida lost to unranked Ole Miss on Sept. 27. The junior vowed to play harder and push his teammates more than had been seen before.

While he threw only 13 passes Saturday, he completed 10 of them for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He added 45 yards and three scores on the ground. And he did some of it with a sprained left ankle suffered during the third quarter, although, as always, he says he's fine.

Meanwhile, Tebow passed Emmitt Smith as Florida's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, totaling 39 after Saturday.

"That is pretty cool to look at because Emmitt Smith was my favorite player in the pros growing up," he said. "Just to be in the same sentence as Emmitt Smith is a huge honor."

For Tebow, the Florida-Georgia neutral-site rivalry has always had a little more importance. He grew up in the area and led local Nease High to its first state football championship as a senior in 2005.

But last year's homecoming of sorts didn't go so well for Tebow, who was in his first year as a starter. While he completed 14 of 22 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown and added 25 yards and two scores on the ground, the then-sophomore was limited by an injured right (nonthrowing) shoulder and the Gators fell 42-30.

He said Saturday that rarely a day went by without his mind drifting to that disappointing loss.

"For me coming home, playing in Jacksonville, playing in a game that was one of my favorite growing up … it was just a bad feeling," he said.

Offensive lineman Jason Watkins smiled when asked about Tebow's reaction to this year's redeeming victory.

"You could tell in his eyes," Watkins said, "that he wanted to do anything just to win."

UF Gators: Junior QB Tebow delivers on promise 11/01/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 1, 2008 11:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. For starters: Rays at Yankees, in a pretty big series

    Blogs

    The Rays open a challenging road trip tonight in New York, the first of four games against the wild-card leading Yankees.

    Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.
  3. Bucs' O.J. Howard says in NFL, 'it's an SEC game every day'

    Blogs

    Bucs rookie O.J. Howard hasn't played in an NFL game yet, but he already appreciates the grind of an NFL season -- every week can be a loss, perhaps more so than in college football, where Alabama went 12-0 in nonconference, non-bowl games in his three years there.

    Bucs rookie O.J. Howard, shown playing for Alabama in the national championship game in Tampa in January, says every game in the NFL is an SEC game, with no letdowns.
  4. Bucs' Mike Evans wants his 'A' game in 4th NFL season

    Blogs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has been in the NFL for three seasons, and in two of them, he's had 12 touchdown catches, setting and then matching his own team record. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, but if you ask him to grade those three years, he doesn't see an "A" product just yet.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown during an OTA workout last month, said he wouldn't give himself an "A" for any of his first three NFL seasons, despite going to the Pro Bowl and twice catching 12 touchdown passes in a season.
  5. Where Tampa's national championship ranks among the greatest games ever

    Blogs

    If you needed any more convincing that Tampa's national championship at Raymond James Stadium was one of the best games in college football history, let me direct you to