Florida Gators 62 – FIU Golden Panthers 3


A day late, a dollar short…

It was hard to envision Florida covering a spread of 45 against anyone.  Not that they hadn’t won by that much earlier this same season, but the most recent recipe for success seemed to be defense and conservative play calling.  Not the case against an FIU team that was clearly as overmatched as the odds makers thought.  Behind the arm and legs of senior quarterback Tim Tebow (and that guy that plays the role of his backup having quite the good day as well), the Gators rumbled to their second 62-3 victory of the 2009 season.  Although the competition wasn’t up to par with what the Gators face week after week in the SEC, Florida still put together a great all-around game to dominate every aspect of the contest.  Basically, the game wasn’t a letdown in any way.

Tebow accounted for 317 total yards and three touchdowns.  On his 55-yard scoring jaunt in the first quarter he looked like he might have a little more speed than we all have thought.  We all know about the power in his running, but it was a pleasant surprise to see that burst to the outside.  And to the FIU defender that tried to nudge #15 out of bounds, putting a little more behind it next time.  You’re not going to end a Tebow run with a slight shove.

In limited time this season, John Brantley is giving Florida fans something to look forward to.  Outsides think the program is done without Tebow taking snaps next season, but don’t count out the Gators just yet.  While I fully believe it will be a rebuilding year and don’t necessarily expect to be undefeated after 11 games like this 2009 version, Brantley is extremely talented and will make that once questioned receiving corps look great in 2010.  Attached to that slight frame is a rocket arm and pinpoint accuracy.  Florida will take some time to adjust as the offense is tweaked, but don’t turn your back on the new starter next season.

What more can I say about Omarius Hines?  No, this wasn’t LSU.  No, it wasn’t FSU at the end of the season.  No, it wasn’t Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game.  It was FIU.  A game in which a number of players were getting much more time on the field than usual.  But Hines is the star of the next set of receivers.  At this point, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be getting more looks at the fourth receiver spot.  Only two pass catchers – Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez – are averaging more than two catches per game.  This late in the season, the odds of Hines getting worked too much in to the offense are about one in a million, but at least we know the Gators have another weapon ready for 2010.

The defense was its usually solid self allowing only three points and 189 total yards.  Linebacker Brandon Spikes went on a nice gallop to the end zone to start the Gator scoring when he returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter.  Watching Spikes return the pick and knock down a pass later in the game, it’s hard to imagine him not succeeding at the next level.  He has the talent and game sense to be able to play a number of positions in the defense.  From middle linebacker to pass rush outside linebacker in a 3-4 to even defensive end.

On to the Battle for the Governor’s Cup.