By the quarters
Published: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 1:35 a.m.
It is a perfect night for football, 75 degrees and clear skies in a Dolphin Stadium that appears to be a sea of orange and blue. Miami Gardens is 323 miles south of Gainesville, about a five-hour drive, and Gator fans have traveled in force.
Brandon Spikes, Ryan Stamper, Cornelius Ingram, Louis Murphy and Phil Trautwein represent the visiting team and call heads, but the toss by Florida graduate and Orange Bowl committee member Danny Ponce comes up tails. Oklahoma will receive the opening kickoff.
On its first play, Oklahoma runs up the middle with tailback Chris Brown, who is met immediately by UF middle linebacker Brandon Spikes. OU comes right back in the no-huddle offense with a first down pass from Sam Bradford. Under no pass rush, Bradford goes for a long pass down the UF sideline and just as the ball comes down, Sooner receiver Manny Johnson is leveled by safety Major Wright.
On third-and-7, Bradford sits comfortably in the pocket and finds Joaquin Iglesias for another first down to the UF 38-yard line. On second-an-10, linebacker Brandon Hicks sacks Bradford for a big loss to the OU 48-yard line. On third-and-24,
Bradford is flushed out of the pocket by Justin Trattou and passes short of the first down. OU's punt goes into the end zone and Florida will start on it's own 20.
On first down, Tim Tebow locks in on tailback Jeff Demps, fires and the ball goes through the true freshman's hands incomplete. Tebow runs up the middle for a short gain on second down after faking to Percy Harvin. On third-and-8, Tebow passes to Harvin on a short drag route over the middle, and Harvin runs well for the first down.
From the UF 41-yard line, Tebow passes to Brandon James, who slashes into OU territory but one foot short of the first down. Tebow blasts up the middle for the first down. On second-and-12 Tebow throws an out route that is intercepted by Nick Harris and returned to the OU 45.
Oklahoma quickly gets into UF territory and gets a first down thanks to two runs by Brown sandwiched around a short pass to Johnson. OU goes back into its half of the field after a person foul, and Brown rushes for a short gain on first down. Florida blitzes on second down and Bradford easily completes to tight end Jermaine Gresham for a first down.
On second-and-10 from the UF 46, Bradford finds Johnson for a 5-yard gain. After a holding penalty gives OU a third-and-15 from its own 49-yard line, Bradford finds Ryan Broyles, who is promptly tackled by freshman cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Oklahoma is forced to punt and James calls for a fair catch at the 13-yard line.
After two short rushes, Tebow finds tight end Aaron Hernandez for a first down. Harvin takes a short pass and weaves his way to the Oklahoma 41 for another first down. Tebow scrambles for 10 yards and another first down. After an incompletion, Tebow pitches up the middle to Hernandez on an option, and Hernandez carries to the OU 42. Tebow comes right back to Hernandez on a pass over the middle for a 21-yard gain.
First quarter: Florida 0, Oklahoma 0
Facing a third-and-9, Tebow rolls out of the pocket and improvises on a pass to senior receiver Louis Murphy who dives and reaches the football for the goal line. He fumbles as the ball hits the ground in the end zone and the linesman signals a touchdown.
Oklahoma gets its ground game going with three big runs by Brown, the last of which goes to the UF 20. Bradford quickly passes from the no-huddle for another first down to the UF 7. Backup running back Mossis Madu runs up the middle for 1 yard. Bradford then finds Gresham in the end zone for a touchdown, and the Sooners have a quick answer on the scoreboard.
After James is tackled on the UF 15 for a short kickoff return, Demps is tackled behind the line of scrimmage at the 11. Tebow threads a pass to Murphy for a first down to the 35-yard line. Murphy is penalized for excessive celebration and the Gators are on the 20. Two Harvin carries give UF another first down.
On third-and-5 from the 36, Tebow dumps a pass over the middle right into the hands of OU defensive lineman Gerald McCoy, who takes it to the UF 27. Brown comes right back and gashes the Gator run defense again to the 10-yard line. Brown runs to his right to the 4 on second down and to the 1 on third down. The Gator defense comes up big and stuffs Brown on third and fourth down to get the ball back.
On first-and-10 from the UF 3-yard line, Harvin bursts up the middle and follows blockers in front of the OU sideline for a 45-yard gallop. A false start penalty puts the ball on the UF 43, and tailback Chris Rainey runs off right tackle for a 3-yard loss. Rainey catches a Tebow pass on the next play, jukes OU cornerback Dominique Franks and takes the ball to the Oklahoma 49. Rainey appears to be injured on the play. Tebow is forced to scramble on third-and-8 but comes up short.
Oklahoma takes over on its own 20, and Madu takes an option pitch 10 yards for a first down. Bradford finds Iglesias over the middle for an 18-yard gain to the 48-yard line. Bradford finds Broyles for a 6-yard gain to set up second-and-4. Bradford hits Johnson for a first down to the UF 40. With 1:22 left in the half, Bradford finds Iglesias, who gains 2 yards. Iglesias catches another quick pass for a first down to the 29. Broyles catches another quick pass over the middle for a first down to the 17.
Florida blitzes on two straight plays and forces incompletions. Bradford then finds Gresham for a first down to the UF 6-yard line with 10 seconds remaining. Bradford looks for Johnson but the ball bounces around between Ahmad Black, Ryan Stamper and finally into the hands of Wright for an interception. The Gators kneel to end the first half.
Second quarter: Florida 7, Oklahoma 7
Florida takes the second-half kickoff to its 29 and picks up a couple of yards on two runs. With a defender in his face, Tebow just misses a wide-open Harvin, and the Gators are forced to punt.
Oklahoma test the Gator run defense with Brown on its first two plays, and then Brown comes through with a short first-down run to the 22-yard line. Bradford tries a deep pass to Iglesias that falls incomplete. Bradford finds Gresham, but he is hit immediately by cornerback Joe Haden and cannot hold on to the ball. Florida stops Gresham short of the first-down marker to force another punt.
Florida roughs the punter going for the block, and the Oklahoma offense gets a fresh set of downs. The Gator D stuffs two runs for no gain to set up a third-and-10 from the OU 38. Bradford passes incomplete, forcing a punt that is returned to the UF 25 by James.
Tebow rolls left and hits Riley Cooper for a first down to the 35. Tebow keeps the ball and carries up the middle for 13 yards to the 48. He urges the crowd to make some noise, and it responds with vigor. Demps tries to run up the middle and is stymied again. On second-and-8 Tebow keeps the ball again and gains 4 yards to the OU 46. On third-and-4, Tebow runs a draw and carries to the Sooner 31.
Tebow tries to connect with Murphy in the end zone but the ball glances off an outstretched hand and falls incomplete. On second-and-10, Tebow passes to Harvin, who cannot make the catch in double coverage. Tebow powers for the first down, gaining 11 yards on third-and-10. Tebow runs an option keeper and picks up another 6 yards. Tebow pitches on an option right to Demps, who is hauled down by the facemask for a penalty on Oklahoma.
From the 1, Tebow is stuffed for no gain. On second-and-goal Tebow passes to Hernandez, who cannot hold on to the ball in the end zone. Harvin then takes a direct snap and runs off right tackle and into the end zone for the touchdown.
After the kickoff return, the Sooners take over at their own 29 and Bradford is sacked for a 4-yard loss. Bradford hooks up with Quinton Chaney for a first down to the OU 49. The Sooners get another quick first down on an Iglesias catch and run to the UF 37. Brown carries 5 yards to the 32. On third-and-1, Stamper blows up Oklahoma's running play and tackles Brown for a 4-yard loss. Oklahoma attempts a 49-yard field goal that is blocked by Carlos Dunlap.
Tebow scrambles out of a quickly-collapsing pocket for 3-yard gain. Murphy is assisted off the field with apparent leg cramps. Harvin carries on a sweep left for another 3 yards to set up a third-and-4. Tebow tries to scramble out of the pocket but is tackled for no gain by Jeremy Beal to force a punt. Broyles returns a booming punt to the 23-yard line.
Third quarter: Florida 14, Oklahoma 7
Tebow tries to scramble out of the pocket but is tackled for no gain by Jeremy Beal to force a punt. Broyles returns a booming punt to the 23-yard line.
Brown runs for 9 yards to the OU 32. He gets the first down and then runs for another 3 yards on first down. Florida DT Torrey Davis is slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. From the UF 47-yard line, Bradford dumps off a pass to Brown, who streaks down the sideline for 25 yards. From the UF 22, Brown carries for 2 yards before being pushed out of bounds by Spikes. Under heavy pressure from Hicks, Bradford fires incomplete to Gresham.
On third-and-8 from the 20 and facing an all-out blitz, Bradford connects with Gresham, who falls forward for the first down. Bradford then finds Gresham wide open, and the big tight end trots into the end zone despite losing one of his shoes.
Florida opens at its 20, and Harvin takes a handoff and blasts down to the Oklahoma 26 on a counter play for a 52-yard gain. Harvin takes another handoff 11 yards for another first down to the OU 15, but he stays down clutching his leg. Harvin walks off the field. Demps carries for 4 yards and then Tebow throws the ball away on second down. On third-and-6, Tebow throws the ball out of bounds again after thinking he heard a referee's whistle. Place-kicker Jonathan Phillips kicks a 28-yard field goal to put the Gators back on top.
From his 34-yard line, Bradford lofts a incomplete pass out of bounds. On second down, he finds Brown for a first-down reception to the 48. Facing heavy pressure, Bradford passes deep over the middle to Iglesias, but Black takes the ball right out of his hands for an interception. The Gators take over at their 24.
Running the option, Tebow shovel passes ahead to Hernandez, who rambles for 13 yards to the 37. After a short gain by Demps, Tebow keeps the ball for 1 yard on another option play. A false start penalty gives UF a third-and-12 from its own 35, and Tebow rolls to his left and finds Cooper for the first down to the Sooner 49-yard line. On second-and-11 Tebow fakes the run, steps back and fires a bullet to David Nelson for a 30-yard gain to the OU 20.
Harvin blasts through the line for a 5-yard gain and catches a pass on second down for 4 more yards. On third-and-1 from the 11, Florida left tackle Phil Trautwein commits another false start penalty. But Hernandez takes a shovel pass and blasts through OU tacklers for a first down. Tebow keeps the ball and runs forward for a short gain. Tebow runs toward the line and throws a jump-pass to Nelson for a touchdown.
From the Sooner 30-yard line, Bradford's pass is knocked down by Trattou. A third-down incompletion sets up a fourth-and-4. Haden deflects Bradford's pass as the pro-Gator crowd erupts in cheers. With 2:26 to go, the Gators only need to salt away the clock to claim the national title. Tebow runs for a first down as the crowd gets excited in anticipation of the final result.
Tebow runs for 5 yards on second-and-7 and picks up the first down with 48 seconds left. On the sidelines, Florida coach Urban Meyer is doused with orange Gatorade. Tebow takes a victory kneel and the Gators are national champions!
Fourth quarter: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14
OU: Gresham 11-yard catch (Stevens kick), 12:03. Drive: 9 plays, 62 yards and 2:47 T.O.P. Key Play: Gresham 9-yard reception on third-and-8 to UF 11.
UF: Phillips 28-yard field goal, 10:45. Drive: 6 plays, 67 yards and 1:18 T.O.P. Key Play: Harvin 52-yard run to OU 26.
UF: David Nelson 4-yard catch (Phillips kick), 3:07. Drive: 11 plays, 76 yards and 6:52 T.O.P. Key Play: Aaron Hernandez 9-yard reception on third-and-6 to the OU 7.
Comments are currently unavailable on this article