for this game

Tebow's career day powers Florida past South Carolina

Nov 11, 2007 - 7:12 AM COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Tim Tebow put on a dynamic display at quarterback that former Florida coach Steve Spurrier has yet to bring to South Carolina.

Tebow ran for 120 yards and a career-high five touchdowns while passing for a career-high 304 yards and two more scores as No. 17 Florida blew past South Carolina, 51-31, in a Southeastern Conference rout Saturday.

Without star wide receiver Percy Harvin in the lineup due to an illness, Tebow scored three of his rushing touchdowns in the first half en route to his second 100-yard rushing game of his career.

"Tim Tebow did a great job," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "I didn't know about the statistics on him, but this was a Heisman performance and I don't say that to often."

The sophomore also completed 22-of-32 passes with one interception to record the highest passing total of his young career.

"Any time you're put in a category it's an honor," Tebow said. "It reflects on the team and the great job the team did. It's an honor for our team."

"(Tim) played great. He did everything you would expect a quarterback to do," wide receiver Andre Caldwell said. "It's a great feeling to win a game like this. It's unexpected to go in someone else's house and win like this, and it feels great."

While at Florida, Spurrier guided the Gators to a national championship in 1996 with Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel at quarterback.

Along with Wuerffel, Spurrier also oversaw Shane Matthews and Rex Grossman, who all rank in the top four of the major quarterback categories in school history.

After Spurrier coached the Gamecocks to their first victory over Florida since 1939 in 2005, the Gators defeated South Carolina, 17-16, last season.

This time around, Florida (7-3, 5-3 SEC East) had a much easier time against the man that coached the school for 12 seasons and guided them to six SEC titles, thanks to Tebow and some early turnovers.

"We knew Tebow was an excellent runner, passer. He did what we thought," Spurrier said. "It's fun when you can stand back there and throw the ball and no one's near you. We've won a bunch of games struggling. We just got shoved around. I don't know how else to say it."

The Gators took advantage of two big plays in the first quarter to jump out to a 13-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

Gamecocks quarterback Blake Mitchell fumbled the snap on the first play of the game, and Tebow ran in a five-yard score five plays later.

"We called a run play. Web Brown told me the ball slipped out of his hands," Spurrier said. "What difference would it have made? Until we can stop people from moving, until we can force people to punt, what difference does it make?

Florida blocked a punt on the Gamecocks' next possession, and Tebow hit Jarred Fayson for a 22-yard touchdown with 11 minutes left in the opening quarter.

South Carolina responded with 14 straight points of its own when Mitchell threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook.

Following a Florida fumble, Cory Boyd scored on a two-yard plunge to give the Gamecocks a one-point lead with 2:21 left in the first.

Tebow put the Gators ahead for good with back-to-back touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards, respectively, to give Florida a 27-14 lead with over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Tebow added his fourth touchdown run of the game on a two-yard score on Florida's first possession of the second half to give the Gators a 20-point bulge. The southpaw restored the 20-point cushion at the beginning of the final period on a five-yard run with 13:26 left to play.

Tebow's final touchdown came with 1:37 to play when he hit Andre Caldwell in the left corner of the end zone for a 21-yard score.

Mitchell finished 26-of-41 for 316 yards with one touchdown and one interception for the Gamecocks (6-5, 3-5 East), who have lost four straight games after being ranked as high as sixth on October 20.