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TOO MUCH TEBOW

Florida QB runs for five TDs, throws for 304 yards, two TDs No. 18 Florida 51, USC 31

Published on 11/11/07
BY TRAVIS HANEY
The Post and Courier

COLUMBIA — You have to feel for Oregon's Dennis Dixon and Missouri's Chase Daniel.

The talented quarterbacks from other parts of the country won't get a chance to boost their Heisman candidacies with South Carolina's help. After all, it's the en vogue thing in the Southeastern Conference these days.

Florida's Tim Tebow was the beneficiary Saturday evening, rushing for five touchdowns and throwing two more in a 51-31 throttling of the Gamecocks before 81,215 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium.

"Hey, they're just a better team than us right now," USC coach Steve Spurrier said. "If we played them 10 times, they'd beat us 10 times. Simple as that."

The Gamecocks have now given up 99 points and 1,187 yards in the past two weeks.

"We make a lot of teams look awfully good," Spurrier said, adding that the Gators "toyed" with his team.

They made an already great Tebow look invincible. So much for needing versatile Percy Harvin, who stayed in Gainesville because of a sinus infection.

The sophomore quarterback finished with 120 yards on 26 carries. As a team, South Carolina had 68 rushing yards. Tebow also threw for 304 yards, with passing scores in the first and fourth quarters.

With seven total TDs, Tebow outscored the Gamecocks 42-31. Tebow, who needed a shot before the game in his sore right shoulder, accounted for 424 total yards to the Gamecocks' 384.

"That's one of the finest performances I've seen a young man have," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "He's tough as nails."

The loss was South Carolina's fourth in a row, matching the longest in Spurrier's career. The last time it happened was 1987, Spurrier's first year at Duke.

The defeat also puts the Gamecocks (6-5, 3-5 SEC) in grave danger regarding their bowl situation. With now 10 bowl-eligible teams in the conference, South Carolina could desperately use a win against Clemson on Nov. 24.

Saturday's loss drops the Gamecocks to 3-5 in the SEC for the second straight year. But, unlike 2006, they started 3-1 this fall.

Like last week at Arkansas, USC's defense simply couldn't stop the opposition's best player.

Pumping life into his Heisman hype, the Razorbacks' Darren McFadden bulldozed the Gamecocks for 321 rushing yards to tie the SEC single-game record.

Saturday, for the Gators (7-3, 5-3), it was Tebow's turn to make his mark on the conference history books.

The quintet of rushing scores gave Tebow 19 on the year, tying him with a few highly considered running backs for the SEC's single-season record for rushing touchdowns.

"Gosh, I thought we talked about letting him run it in," Spurrier said, and then asked reporters how many rushing scores Tebow had.

Five, he was told.

"He ran five in?" Spurrier said, stunned. "I lost count. ... I wasn't keeping up with all of them."

Only Tulane's Matt Forte had five rushing touchdowns in a game this year in college football.

Tebow's 42 combined touchdowns, rushing and passing, passed Florida's Danny Wuerffel for the most in SEC history in a season.

Under Spurrier, Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman. Perhaps Tebow will follow suit.

Florida's first punt didn't come until the 7:06 mark of the fourth quarter, with the Gators up 20 points.

South Carolina talked all week about getting off to a better start than it had in losses to Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas. Didn't happen.

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