Florida's Meyer likes Gators 'angry' on the field

Updated: January 9, 2009, 12:12 AM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Tim Tebow stepped off the bus when he arrived at Dolphin Stadium, made a beeline for a group of Florida fans nearby, pulled off his tie and started riling up the crowd.

He couldn't even wait to get on the field.

Tebow was hyped for Florida's most important game of the season the second he stepped foot in the parking lot Thursday. He made an even bigger splash on the field, overcoming a shaky start and leading the top-ranked Gators to their second national championship in three years.

Tebow finished 18-of-30 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns against No. 2 Oklahoma. He had the first two-interception game of his career, but made up for it by running 22 times for 109 yards and showing more energy than anyone else in Florida's 24-14 victory in the Bowl Championship Series national title game.

Percy Harvin provided plenty of help, running for 122 yards and a touchdown, with another 49 receiving yards.

But once Tebow got going, he left the field with grass stains all over his white jersey and hoisted the Most Outstanding Player trophy a few minutes later.

The performance may have changed Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks' mind about Tebow being the nation's fourth-best quarterback. Franks had said Tebow wasn't better than any of the top three quarterbacks in the Big 12 this season.

However, it remains whether he can change the perception of NFL personnel who believe last year's Heisman Trophy winner might not be as effective at the next level.

Tebow was still contemplating returning for his senior season. He has a week to decide.

Early on against the Sooners, it looked like last year's Heisman winner could use another year in the college ranks.

Tebow threw interceptions on two of Florida's first three possessions, the first two-pick game of his career.

Although Tebow directed an 86-yard TD drive in between picks -- he was 5-of-7 passing for 72 yards, including a 20-yard completion to Louis Murphy that made it 7-0 early in the second -- he struggled with his accuracy much of the night.

He made up for it with his legs -- and maybe his energy.

Tebow ran five times for 48 yards, sparking a 75-yard that put Florida ahead 14-7 early in the fourth. Harvin scored the go-ahead touchdown, but Tebow got the Gators in position for the 2-yard run.

He also may have given his teammates a boost. He certainly riled the crowd up. After a 12-yard run early in the drive, Tebow ran toward the sideline, punched the air and started screaming and waving his hands above his helmet. The Florida faithful responded with a boisterous response.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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