College Sports

Gators roll, set up clash with 'Bama

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —Tim Tebow's final home game went about like everyone expected.

There were tears, touchdowns and another thumping.

Tebow threw for three TDs, ran for two scores and top-ranked Florida beat rival Florida State 37-10 Saturday for its sixth consecutive victory in the heated rivalry.

The Gators stayed unbeaten heading into next week's Southeastern Conference showdown against No. 2 Alabama, extended the nation's longest winning streak to 22 games and improved to 12-0 for jus t the second time in school.

Tebow may have even secured a third consecutive trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation.

The Seminoles (6-6) lost for the second time in six games, and longtime coach Bobby Bowden's likely finale at Florida Field showed exactly why some FSU faithful are urging him to retire: Florida outplayed its in-state rival at every position.

Tebow was the biggest difference, hardly a surprise since he torched the 'Noles the last two years.

This one could have been even worse than the 45-12 drubbing in 2007 and the 45-15 beatdown last year. But Florida coach Urban Meyer pulled many of his defensive starters late in the third quart er.

The Seminoles trailed 30-0 before Bowden opted for a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 2 on the final play of the third. They added a touchdown with 6:03 to play to make it 37-10.

It was the team's only cause for celebration on a day that belonged to Tebow, linebacker Brandon Spikes and their fellow seniors who have more wins (47) than any other class in SEC history. The y also improved to 12-1 against their four traditional rivals — Tennessee (4-0), Georgia (3-1), Florida State (4-0) and Miami (1-0).

The revelry started with Tebow making his final walk into The Swamp amid 90,000-plus fans screaming his name. Tebow and Meyer embraced at the 30-yard line as tears flowed down Tebow's cheeks. S pikes kissed the ground as he was introduced. Receiver Riley Cooper was wearing eye black — much like many others in attendance.

Fans wanted to pay tribute to Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, by wearing his famed eye black. Meyer's wife and two daughters also donned the little oval patches.

By the time Tebow scored his final touchdown, The Swamp was lit up by camera flashes trying to capture his every move.

Tebow completed 17 of 21 passes for 221 yards. He also ran 15 times for 90 yards against a defense that has been among the worst of any Florida State team under Bowden.

It was Tebow's best performance of the season.

When Tebow finished his lap, fans started chanting his name.