Tebow Shines As Gators Crush W. Kentucky

By MARK LONG
The Associated Press
Saturday, September 1, 2007; 6:18 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow and Florida had an even easier day than expected against Western Kentucky. The Gators didn't even have to play 60 minutes.

Tebow threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score, and the sixth-ranked Gators opened defense of their national championship with a 49-3 victory over Western Kentucky on Saturday that was called with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter because of lightning.

The weather was about the only thing that stopped the Gators.

Tebow, making his first career start, led Florida (1-0) to touchdowns in its first four possessions. He completed his first six passes for 156 yards and two TDs, proving he can be as dynamic with his arm as he can his legs.

With his first throw, Tebow hit Andre Caldwell in stride down the sideline for a 48-yard gain. Later in the first, he faked a step toward the line of scrimmage, then dropped back and connected with Riley Cooper for a 59-yard score.

He added a perfect strike for Percy Harvin to make it 21-0 in the second quarter.

The left-handed sophomore wasn't done, either.

He had two equally impressive throws on consecutive plays in the third. He hooked up with Caldwell for a 43-yard gain, then found Cooper for a 42-yard score.

Tebow and coach Urban Meyer fielded countless questions about the quarterback's throwing ability leading up to the season. Can he be accurate? Can he throw deep? Will he run too much or too often?

So far, so good. Then again, the real test comes in two weeks when Florida hosts No. 15 Tennessee.

The Hilltoppers (0-1) didn't provide much of a challenge in the first game of their two-year transition from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A).

The Gators were bigger and stronger on both lines and faster and more skilled everywhere else.


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