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Tim Tebow starts for Florida, but the defense steals the show.

After two weeks of speculation over if he would play, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow entered Saturday's game against No. 4 LSU 2:59 in to a roar of cheers and flashing camera lights from fans of both teams.

After all, the Tigers said all week they wanted to win with Tebow, who sustained a concussion Sept. 26 against Kentucky, in the game so the No. 1 Gators would have no excuses.

It wasn't his most stellar performance, but Tebow held his own and the defense rose to the occasion to help beat LSU 13-3 in front of 93,129, the largest attendance in the history of LSU's Tiger Stadium.

The Gator defense, which has been criticized of late for not playing up to its potential, was dominant, holding the Tigers to 66 rushing yards on 30 attempts and 96 passing yards.

With Tebow starting but the first-half game plan clearly adjusted to keep him from rushing over defenders as he normally would, the Gators managed to take a 10-3 lead.

Tebow connected on a 24-yard touchdown with Riley Cooper with 50 seconds left.

After the score, the defense helped secure the halftime lead. With 44 seconds remaining, cornerback Joe Haden intercepted Jordan Jefferson at the Florida 34.

But Florida couldn't carry that momentum into the second half. Its opening drive went 11 plays but ended with a missed 25-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis. That came after Florida failed to score after having it first and goal at the 5.

It was clear early that Tebow is still recovering. The Gators opened with consecutive rushing plays, none by Tebow. He threw his first pass, an 8-yard completion to tight end Aaron Hernandez, on the Gators' fifth play. On the 11th, he rushed for no gain.

Florida managed to get down to the LSU 11 before settling for a 28-yard field goal by Sturgis with 3:50 left in the first quarter.

Leading by three early in the second quarter, the Gators gambled and fell short.

Facing fourth and 2 on the LSU 21, the Gators sent Sturgis onto the field but subsequently called timeout and went for it.

But Brandon James' run fell short by 1 yard.

On the ensuing possession, LSU put together a 12 play, 77-yard drive that culminated with an 18-yard field goal by Josh Jasper. The drive was aided by consecutive personal fouls against the Gators that gave LSU a first and goal at the Florida 10.