The Gators found themselves in a typical, physical SEC battle against a well-prepared Tennessee team. Meyer said all week he thought the game would be a “fourth-quarter dogfight.”
Florida fans wanted blood. They got sweat. And nearly tears.
If the Vols (1-2, 0-1 SEC) had a serviceable quarterback, they might have defeated the most-hyped team in recent memory.
For Tebow and the Gators, it was a struggle all day, with the yards hard to come by.
“We played the No. 1 team in the country, by far the best offense … a team where every time they touch the ball you hold your breath. And I thought our plan was great, and thought it was executed great. But, at the end of the day, Superman’s back there with the ball,” Kiffin said. “You’ve got to find a way to tackle him, and I don’t know how you invent that.”
“I kept saying (over the headset), ‘He’s bound to get tired, he’s bound to get tired, he’s bound to get tired,’ but he never did,” Kiffin said. “I donâ€™t think heâ€™s human.”
Florida All-American linebacker Brandon Spikes missed most of the second half of Saturday’s game against Tennessee because of tendinitis in his Achilles tendon. Receiver Deonte Thompson (hamstring) missed the game, running back Jeff Demps played with a 101-degree fever, and tight end Aaron Hernandez and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham had to be isolated this week because of flu-like symptoms.
Through intense crowd noise, Crompton [threw] into double coverage and [was] intercepted by safety Ahmad Black.
“It wasn’t how we envisioned or hoped,” said Tebow, whose streak of games with a TD pass ended at 30.
Florida’s postgame celebration was about as conservative as its game plan. There was no trash talk and no one trying to rub it in. The Gators were clearly disappointed with their performance, even though they had reason to celebrate.
“We needed the victory, and we got it. Our boys are to be commended for getting the job done. Gator Nation thanks you, fellas.”
Tim Tebow joined former Gator quarterback Danny Wuerffel and Alabama’s Jay Barker as the only quarterbacks to go undefeated against Tennessee in a four-game span.
Update: “INT and goal-line fumble aside (the former took a great play by the best defensive player in college football; the latter was just plain stupid), Tim Tebow played well.” — Dan Shanoff