No. 1 Florida Gators (8-0, 6-0 SEC) senior quarterback Tim Tebow totaled four touchdowns on the day and broke two Southeastern Conference all-time records as his team went on to rout the Georgia Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3 SEC) 41-17 in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Saturday. Florida has won 17 of the last 20 against Georgia and took their second consecutive game in the series by at least 24 points.
Tying Bulldogs running back Herschel Walker‘s SEC record of 49 rushing touchdowns last week, Tebow broke it Saturday with 1:32 left in the first half on a beautiful 23-yard TD run. He would add a four-yard TD rush in the third quarter to finish the day with an SEC-record 51 rushing scores. Tebow is now two touchdowns behind RB Kevin Faulk formerly of the LSU Tigers who has the most touchdowns rushing and receiving (53). Additionally, Tebow broke former Arkansas Razorbacks QB Matt Jones‘ all-time SEC record of rushing yards for a quarterback.
On top of to Tebow’s two rushing scores, he completed two more through the air to wide receiver Riley Cooper, who finished with a team-leading four receptions and 78 yards. Cooper had a spectacular catch for his second touchdown, a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone. Tebow lead the team in rushing with 18 carries for 85 yards, and no running back received more than seven carries (Emmanuel Moody).
Defensively, the Gators were just as dominant. Redshirt junior linebacker A.J. Jones grabbed a pair of interceptions and has now picked off three balls in two weeks. One was an athletic move where he tipped the ball and then dove to come up with the turnover. Senior LB Brandon Spikes added a pick-six in the fourth quarter, and redshirt junior LB Ryan Stamper also grabbed one with 11:54 to go in the game. Florida’s secondary held Georgia star sophomore wide receiver A.J. Green to three catches for 50 yards, though it did allow two TDs.
The special teams unit was also special Saturday, with sophomore kicker Caleb Sturgis hitting two field goals including a career-long 56-yard shot and punter Chas Henry totaling three kicks for 145 yards – two inside the five and once again no return yards given up by the coverage unit.
On the injury front, Spikes appeared to hurt himself early in the game but returned while RB Chris Rainey left in the second half with what seemed to be a serious left shoulder injury. Redshirt senior safety Dorian Munroe, who missed the 2008 season with a torn ACL and had not yet played in 2009, made his debut on special teams and looked good.
The Gators continue to own the nation’s longest winning streak at 18 games. Florida will return home to Gainesville, FL, and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium next weekend to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-6, 0-5 SEC). The game will air on ESPN/2 at 8:15 p.m.