for this game

Tebow torches Florida State for second straight year

Nov 30, 2008 - 3:42 AM TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Ticker) -- Florida State's fans made a huge mistake in angering Tim Tebow. So the Florida quarterback waved his arms and danced in jubilation after making another late-season Heisman Trophy bid against Florida State.

Tebow threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score Saturday, leading the third-ranked Gators to a 45-15 thrashing of No. 24 Florida State.

The reigning Heisman winner, Tebow led the Gators (11-1) to their fifth consecutive victory over the Seminoles (8-4), whose fans cheered loudly when Florida star wide receiver Percy Harvin limped off the field in the second quarter with an ankle injury.

The gesture clearly annoyed Tebow, who repaid the fans at Doak Campbell Stadium with another Heisman-esque performance.

"What their fans did when Percy got hurt is one of the first times I've ever seen almost a whole stadium cheer," Tebow said. "I think that shows not very good sportsmanship. That kind of irritated me."

The injury to the sensational Harvin did not deter the Gators, who have won their last eight games in blowout fashion and already had secured a berth in next weekend's SEC championship game by virtue of winning the conference's East Division title.

With a win next Saturday over top-ranked Alabama, the Gators - currently ranked fourth in the BCS standings - likely would earn a spot in the BCS championship game.

"That game surprised me because I didn't think they would beat us like that here," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "The last time we had a beating like that was last year against them. I don't think anybody else has beaten us like that."

Tebow certainly enjoyed the rout - and he more than displayed his excitement. With his white jersey stained several different colors due to sloppy field conditions, Tebow celebrated the victory by dancing across the field as the final seconds ticked off.

"I've always loved playing in the rain ever since I was a kid," Tebow said. "There's more of a toughness factor."

"He is a great quarterback that he can run over you physically, too," Bowden said. "I'm sure his kids rally around that. His teammates rally around that."

Tebow put the finishing touches on his 2007 Heisman Trophy campaign in last year's 45-12 win against the Seminoles, throwing three TD passes and running for two more scores.

After getting off to a slow statistical start this season, Tebow has thrust himself back into Heisman consideration by putting up eye-popping numbers against a tough SEC schedule.

Tebow once again was outstanding, completing 12-of-21 passes for 185 yards and running for 80 yards on 17 carries.

Tebow, attempting to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winner, has passed for 2,299 yards and 25 TDs against just two interceptions this season. The junior also has rushed for 507 yards and 12 TDs.

"(Tebow) deserves to get back in it," Bowden said. "He deserves to be mentioned again for the Heisman. I don't know if I've ever seen a better leader."

Jeffrey Demps rushed for 89 yards and a TD while tight end Aaron Hernandez hauled in two scoring catches for the Gators, who have won their last games by an average margin of nearly 40 points per contest.

"(This is) as proud as I've ever been of this football team," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "What I saw, the effort tonight, the focus and the effort tonight was phenomenal."

Harvin, who opened the scoring with a 9-yard run four minutes into the contest, sprained his right ankle midway through the second quarter and did not return.

Harvin sustained the injury during a running play, as his ankle buckled when he was tackled by a pair of Seminoles.

After limping off the field and having his ankle examined on the sideline, Harvin was taken to the locker room late in the second quarter.

But the absence of Harvin did not slow down the Gators, who finished with 317 yards on the ground and 502 total yards from scrimmage.

Tebow made it 14-3 late in the first quarter with his first TD pass of the game, a 7-yarder to Hernandez.

Florida State narrowed its deficit to 14-6 on the second of three field goals from Graham Gano.

But Florida built a 28-9 halftime lead courtesy of Tebow, who ran for a 4-yard TD before hooking up with a wide-open Hernandez for a 24-yard score with a minute left in the second quarter.

Tebow's third TD pass of the game, a 23-yarder to Louis Murphy, gave Florida a 35-9 cushion just over a minute into the second half.

It was the 105th career TD accounted for by Tebow, the second-highest total in school history.

Florida State finally found the end zone midway through the third quarter on Jermaine Thomas' 4-yard TD run.