ACC Football: Florida 26, Miami 3
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 6, 2008
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ó Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was good early and even better late, enough to help No. 5 Florida snap a six-game losing streak against rival Miami.
Tebow threw two touchdown passes, speedster Percy Harvin ran for a score and the Gators used a swarming defensive effort to beat the Hurricanes 26-3 Saturday night at The Swamp.
It was Florida’s first victory since 1985 in the on-again, off-again series that used to be one of the best and most heated in the nation.
The rebuilding Hurricanes (1-1), three-touchdown underdogs, hung close for three quarters with the Gators (2-0), who had averaged more than 40 points at Florida Field with Tebow as the starting quarterback.
Florida struggled against Miami’s defense most of the night. The Hurricanes pressured Tebow after every snap, forcing him to scramble and make early, sometimes off-balance throws.
Still, he finished 21-of-35 passing for 256 yards and two TD passes. He also ran 13 times for 55 yards. Harvin, who missed last week’s opener while recovering from offseason heel surgery, ran five times for 27 yards.
Robert Marve, making his first career start for Miami, was 10-of-18 passing for 69 yards.
Florida, whose two scores in the first half came off Miami miscues on special teams, led 9-3 to start the fourth quarter. But Tebow, Harvin & Co. finally found their rhythm, putting together consecutive drives of 86 and 95 yards to put the game away.
The Gators took advantage of two favorable calls to score the first of the two late touchdowns. Tebow hooked up with Carl Moore for a 28-yard gain on third-and-9, putting the Gators at the 5-yard line.
Three plays later, on another third down, Harvin took a pitch from Tebow on third down and outran several defenders for the score.
Florida’s next drive was the most impressive of the night, a five-play, 95-yarder that sealed the victory. Tebow found Murphy ó yes, the guy who spouted off about Florida being better suited than Miami to be referred to as “The U” ó in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard strike.