Saturday December 5, 2009No. 1 Florida Defeated, 32-13, by No. 2 Alabama in 2009 SEC Championship Game
In front of a Georgia Dome crowd of 75,514, No. 1 Florida (12-1, 8-1 SEC) was defeated, 32-13, by No. 2 Alabama (13-0, 9-0) Saturday in the second consecutive SEC Championship meeting between the two universities. Florida head coach Urban Meyer moved to 2-2 against Alabama with wins against the Crimson Tide in 2006 and 2008, and losses in 2005 and 2009.
In the seventh SEC Game match-up between the Gators and Crimson Tide, senior quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.) connected on 20-of-35 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown, but Alabama’s 490 yards total offense carried the Crimson Tide as it halted UF’s school-record and NCAA-leading win streak at 22. Florida lost outside of Gainesville for the first time since Jan. 1, 2008, when Michigan topped the Orange and Blue, 41-35, in the Capital One Bowl.
Florida junior tight end Aaron Hernandez (Bristol, Conn.) led the UF receiving corps with eight catches for 85 yards.
The Crimson Tide won the coin toss, electing to receive the ball to kick off the the Championship match-up. Following a 47-yard, 9 play drive, Alabama senior kicker Leigh Tiffin connected on a 48-yard field goal attempt to put the Crimson Tide on the board first, 3-0, at the 10:37 mark of the first quarter.
After forcing Florida to a three-and-out punt situation on its first drive, Alabama’s Mark Ingram found the end zone on the Crimson Tide’s second drive after a seven-yard touchdown run that put the Tide up, 9-0, with 5:33 left in the first quarter after Tiffin’s extra point deflected off the goal post.
The Gators found their rhythm on the next UF drive after Tebow connected with senior athlete Brandon James (St. Augustine, Fla.) and senior wide receiver Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) for nine and 12-yard third down conversions, respectively, to give sophomore kicker Caleb Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.) the go-ahead on a 48-yard field goal. Sturgis’ kick gave Florida its first points of the game and narrowed the margin, 9-3.
After exchanging punts, a sack for a loss 10 yards by junior Ahmad Black (Lakeland, Fla.), the first of his career, forced yet another Tiffin field-goal, this time a 34-yarder following the 68-yard 12-play Crimson Tide scoring drive that gave Alabama a 12-3 lead.
Florida responded to the Crimson Tide field goal with its first touchdown of the game after Tebow accounted for 38 yards rushing on the 70-yard scoring drive that only took 1:36 off the clock. Tebow connected with redshirt senior wide receiver David Nelson (Wichita Falls, Texas) on a 23-yard pass to the end zone, resulting in 12-10 narrowed margin.
Alabama once again extended its lead, 19-10, on its next possession after Ingram scored his second touchdown of the evening, a three-yard rush to the end zone. However, a 32-yard Sturgis field goal brought the Gators back within six points, 19-13, with 1:18 left in the first half of play, resulting in the halftime score.
While Florida received the ball to start the second half of the game, a Gator punt gave Alabama the go-ahead on a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Greg McElroy to senior tight end Colin Peek, bringing the score, 26-13, after the 74-yard Crimson Tide scoring drive. Alabama and Ingram punched in their third touchdown of the day with 13:49 left in the fourth quarter on a one-yard Ingram rush. Alabama’s two-point conversion was no good, bringing the score to, 32-13, in favor of the Crimson Tide.
A hopeful Florida drive ended with 11:51 in the game as Tebow was intercepted in the end zone by Alabama’s senior cornerback Javier Arenas. Following an Alabama punt, the Gators gave it another go, but turned the ball over on downs with 7:28 in the game. The Crimson Tide offense ran the ball and clock down to take home a 32-13 SEC Championship victory.
For more information on UF’s bowl game, please visit www.GatorZone.com in the coming days.