Gators tame Bulldogs despite Tebow’s miscues

By Adam Silverstein
October 25, 2009

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, yet the Florida Gators (7-0, 5-0 SEC) held on to defeat the Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-5, 1-3 SEC) 29-19 on the road Saturday night in Starkville, MS. In an environment where Florida has not earned a victory in their last four visits, the Gators played dominating defense and held the Bulldogs’ offense to six points on two early field goals.

Florida’s defense held Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon to a season-low 53 yards. The Bulldogs’ defense did their job, too, stymieing the Gators in the red zone all night long. Florida was kept out of the end zone on their first four trips in the area. Tebow scored a 26-yard rushing touchdown early to tie Georgia Bulldogs RB Herschel Walker‘s SEC rushing touchdown record (49), and RB Chris Rainey scored an eight-yard touchdown after the Bulldogs muffed a fake punt. Rainey would also block a punt in the game. Linebacker Dustin Doe intercepted the ball and returned it for a touchdown, though he seemed to fumble near the goal line when showboating. The touchdown was upheld by the officials.

Mississippi State’s two interception returns for touchdowns were from cornerback Jonathan Banks, who brought back one for 100 yards and caught another when Tebow’s arm was hit mid-throw in the Gators’ end zone. Tebow had just one pick-six in his collegiate career prior to Saturday night’s game. Florida linebacker A.J. Jones caught his first career interception in the game, safety Major Wright added one of his own, and kicker Caleb Sturgis missed both a 37-yard field goal and an extra point.

In the second quarter, Florida RB Jeff Demps injured his neck and has undergone X-rays to determine the extent of his injury; cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis was also injured, aggravating his hamstring. Head coach Urban Meyer said during his post-game press conference that he is not sure of the health status of the two players. Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes was dressed for the contest but did not play while nursing a sore groin.

The Gators continue to own the nation’s longest winning streak at 17 games and, with their latest win, have extended their SEC road game winning streak to nine straight games. Florida will travel to Jacksonville, FL, next weekend for their annual meeting against Georgia (4-3, 3-2 SEC) in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The game will air live on CBS at 3:30 p.m.

6 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    6 red zone trips, 8 points: (missed FG, FG, FG, FG, interception returned for a TD (-7 points), FG, TD (missed extra point).

    last week, 6 red zone trips, 13 points: (missed FG, fumble, fumble, FG, TD, FG).

    Last year the red zone offense scored 91% of the time and scored TD’s 75% of the time, which is 4 TD’s and 1 FG per 6 trips, or 31 points. Score 31 instead of 8 today and 31 instead of 13 last week and the games aren’t close. They aren’t even close to being close. The offense outside the red zone isn’t clicking at 100% either, but really if we fix the red zone offense, everything is fine.

  2. Red zone is certainly where the majority of the issues are. For the record, red zone playcalling is done by wide receivers coach Billy Gonzalez and not offensive coordinator Steve Addazio – though I am sure both Addazio and Urban Meyer have their share of input. Fact of the matter is – the play makers on this team seem to be absent. In the past, you could hand or throw it to Percy and it would be in the end zone. I will have something on this Monday.

  3. Urban Meyer said that the red zone performance is an immediate concern and will be addressed “on the plane ride home.” I would expect Meyer to begin calling plays down there from this point forward.

  4. ZURBO says:

    All I have to say is that steve addazio needs to coach the offensive line and leave the coordinating to a coordinator. Oh yeah, make sure that dustin doe never touches the field again.

  5. Mr2Bits says:

    Our play calling is awful and predictable. Did anyone else see Urban chewing into Steve’s ass after the failed Tebow dive play on the MSU 1 two times? I mean you have to be freaking joking. The plays being called are so pop-warner it disgusts me. It is getting harder and harder to watch this team every week. First thing I would like to see done is put Adazzio’s ass in a sky box. I have always been a believer that you cannot call a good game if you can’t see the whole field and what the defense is doing.

  6. Dude says:

    Yea, not being able to see the defense is a big concern when you’re calling the offensive plays. We need to get him in the booth and have someone else coach up the O-Line during the game.

Top