Top 25 Football: Florida 42, Vanderbilt 14
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 8, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Florida will get its shot at No. 1 Alabama.
The Gators made sure of that with plenty of time to look ahead to the Southeastern Conference championship game on Dec. 6 in Atlanta.
Tim Tebow threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, and the No. 4 Gators routed Vanderbilt 42-14 Saturday night in clinching the SEC Eastern Division title for the second time in three years.
The Gators (8-1, 6-1) answered the question of whether they would have a letdown coming off their emotional 49-10 win over Georgia by scoring on each of their first four possessions, Ahmad Black intercepted a pass and Carlos Dunlap got his hand on two punts in building a 28-0 lead.
And that was just within the first 18 minutes.
These teams played at night for the first time since 1982 largely because Vanderbilt had a chance to force a tie atop the SEC East by beating the Gators. But the Commodores (5-4, 3-3) instead lost their fourth straight in their bid to become bowl eligible for the first time since, yes, 1982. They now have lost 18 straight in this series.
The Commodores had been winning with opportunistic defense and hadn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 24 points in a game this season. That was lost in the opening minutes of the second quarter, and they gave up 330 yards in the first half alone.
A defense that led the SEC in sacks got close to Tebow but couldn’t stop the quarterback who looks very capable of winning a second Heisman Trophy. He finished with 88 yards rushing and threw for 171 yards playing less than six minutes into the third quarter before heading to the bench.
Tebow completed his first five passes for 66 yards with a TD and topped his season-high in rushing in a game with 57 yards on six carries.