Saturday January 2, 2010Football Claims Sugar Bowl With 51-24 Win Over Cincinnati
New Orleans, La.
The Gator football team became the first program in FBS college football history to notch 13 wins in consecutive seasons with a 51-24 victory over previously unbeaten Cincinnati at the Louisiana Superdome in the 76th Annual Sugar Bowl on Friday night. UF finished 13-1 for the third time in four seasons, also the first time in FBS college football history that this has happened.
Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.), who collected Most Outstanding Player
honors, set Sugar Bowl and BCS bowl records with 533 yards of total offense to
help lead the Gators to the victory over the Bearcats (12-1). The signal-caller
finished with 482 yards passing and three touchdowns on 31-of-35 passing and
added 51 yards and another touchdown on the ground. The 482 yards passing were
also Sugar Bowl and BCS bowl game records, while the 31 completions established
a new Sugar Bowl record. Tebow's 88.6 completion percentage set a BCS bowl game
record and his four total touchdowns tied a Sugar Bowl mark.
The Gator defense held the high-scoring Bearcats to 24 points, tied for their lowest output this year and below their 39.8 points per game average heading into the contest. Cincinnati entered the game averaging 464.2 yards per game, sixth-best in the nation, but was held to just 246 on the night and only 55 yards in the first half. The Bearcats had given up just 11 sacks during the regular season but Florida's defense notched four sacks on the night.
Florida wasted little time in getting on the board. After forcing Cincinnati to punt on its first drive, Tebow completed all seven of his pass attempts as part of a 13-play, 84-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a seven-yard touchdown pass to junior Aaron Hernandez (Bristol, Conn.). After a 40-yard field goal by sophomore Caleb Sturgis (St. Augustine, Fla.) gave Florida a 9-0 lead, Tebow came back to lead a 64-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore Deonte Thompson (Belle Glade, Fla.) that put the Gators up by a 16-0 margin.
A touchdown run by redshirt junior Emmanuel Moody (Coppell, Texas) gave Florida a 23-0 lead before Jacob Rogers got Cincinnati on the board with a 47-yard field goal. However, Tebow hit senior Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) with an 80-yard touchdown strike on the Gators' very next play and Florida took a 30-3 lead into the break.
Moody added a second touchdown run early in the third quarter before Cincinnati got a touchdown catch from Marcus Waugh to trim the lead to 37-10.
Tebow scored on a four-yard run to cap a 74-yard drive before Tony Pike posted his second touchdown pass for the Bearcats with a three-yard scoring pass to Armon Binns to start the fourth quarter. Redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey (Lakeland, Fla.) pushed the Florida lead to 51-17 with a six-yard touchdown run. Pike closed out the scoring with a six-yard touchdown pass to Kazeem Alli.
Cooper caught seven passes for 181 yards and a touchdown, while Hernandez added 111 yards and another touchdown for the Gators. Moody had 14 yards rushing but notched a pair of touchdowns on the ground for Florida.
As a team, Florida tied a Sugar Bowl record and set a new BCS bowl record with 659 yards of total offense. Tebow completed his first 12 passes, setting a new Sugar Bowl record for consecutive completions.
Pike led Cincinnati with 170 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-45 passing. Mardy Gilyard set a Sugar Bowl record with 207 yards on eight kick-off returns; it was also the second-highest kickoff return mark in BCS bowl history. He added 41 receiving yards to finish with 248 all-purpose yards, which was the third-highest total in Sugar Bowl history and the fifth-best in BCS bowl history.