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Tebow guides Florida to college crown

TIM Tebow inspired Florida to its second national title inside three years with a 24-14 victory over Oklahoma in the BCS national championship game on Thursday.

Running quarterback Tebow, who could enter the NFL draft this year despite being only in his junior year, roused his team to a strong second-half display after an opening half dominated by the two defenses.

"We knew we would have to fight for four quarters," said Tebow. "In the first half, we didn't execute offensively, I didn't execute, but what I am so proud of is the way we fought for four quarters."

Tebow rushed for 109 yards and threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns.

Florida had edged ahead in a tight contest, with a fourth quarter Jonathan Phillips field goal making it 17-14 before the Gators wrapped up the contest when Tebow threw to David Nelson for a four yard touchdown.

The match, the 'Superbowl' of the college game, was played in front of a Dolphin Stadium record football crowd of 78,468, including former US President Bill Clinton.

After a scoreless first quarter, Florida went ahead when Tebow threw a pass to Louis Murphy, who athletically reached over his back to plant the ball in the end zone.

The Sooners fought back swiftly though with their quarterback, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, finding Jermaine Gresham for a six-yard touchdown.

The livewire Percy Harvin sprinted diagonally over for a two yard touchdown to put the Gators ahead in the third, only for Oklahoma to bounce back with a repeat combination at the start of the fourth as Bradford again found Gresham.

But Tebow, the 2007 Heisman winner who had earlier thrown two interceptions for the first time in his career, inspired his team to rally to a deserved victory, which was lapped up by the largely Floridian crowd.

Oklahoma had their chances in the first half, twice failing to make the end-zone from inside the five-yard line and coach Bob Stoops said those stands from Florida had been decisive.

"Those are opportunities for production, for points, that we didn't get. To me that's part of the end," Stoops said.


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