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Published: Sunday, 11/2/2008

Gators get full dose of revenge against Georgia

ASSOCIATED PRESS

JACKSONVILLE - Tim Tebow walked out of the locker room wearing a gray, protective boot on his left foot.

The Florida quarterback said he sprained his ankle on a four-yard run in the third quarter. He just as easily could have told everyone he hurt it kicking around Georgia.

After all, this was a Gator Stomp.

Tebow accounted for five touchdowns including three running scores, Percy Harvin tallied twice and the fifth-ranked, revenge-minded Gators thumped the Bulldogs 49-10 yesterday in one of the rivalry's most anticipated matchups.

"It doesn't get any sweeter than this," Tebow said. "We didn't have to talk about it. We just had to go out there and show that we're a different team and prove that we worked extremely hard. We didn't want that to happen again to us."

The Gators (7-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) shut down Knowshon Moreno, took advantage of numerous mistakes by Georgia (7-2, 4-2) and avenged last year's 42-30 loss in which the brazen Bulldogs used a full-team, end-zone celebration to energize them.

Florida's response?

How about the worst loss in Georgia coach Mark Richt's career. Florida coach Urban Meyer even called two timeouts in the final 44 seconds - surely to prolong Georgia's misery.

Meyer said he did it because running back Emmanuel Moody deserved a couple extra carries, but no one inside Jacksonville Municipal Stadium believed that.

"Enjoy the moment, enjoy the game," Tebow said. "We didn't do anything wrong. We were just playing the game."

The Bulldogs began the season No. 1 in the country. They're now staring at being No. 2 in the SEC East for the second straight season.

The seemingly cold and quick handshake between Meyer and Richt might have told a different story, but the coaches denied any animosity.

"To me, the rules say you've got three timeouts per half," Richt said. "They can use as many as they want. It's in the rules. They used their timeouts, and they have a right to do that."

The Gators won for the 16th time in the last 19 meetings, and this one was one of the most lopsided of all. Florida's largest margin of victory in the series was a 47-7 win in 1996.

"It's a weight off our shoulders," safety Ahmad Black said. "All we heard about was Georgia, Georgia, Georgia."

Indeed.

During each of Florida's conditioning workouts during the offseason, players had to complete 42 reps at each station in the weight room - one for every point the Bulldogs scored against them last season - and 188 push-ups, sit-ups and crunches - one for every yard Moreno gained.

"All because of this game right here," Black said.

Plus, strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti put a picture in each player's locker of Georgia's massive celebration. The photo next year might be of Brandon Spikes' bone-crushing hit on Moreno early; it certainly set the tone. Or one of all those empty seats left behind by Georgia fans early in the fourth quarter.

"We did a lot of shooting ourselves in the foot and did not take advantage of the opportunities we that we needed to," Richt said.



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