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Florida swamps Bulldogs
Florida running back Jeffery Demps looks for running room past Georgia’s Prince Miller in the first quarter Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. - photo by By Stephen Morton

Jackson County prepares for season

By: Jonathan Zopf

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Black pants, black helmets and another team-wide celebration.
No matter what Georgia does to change its luck against Florida, the result usually stays the same. The Gators own this series.
Tim Tebow accounted for four touchdowns, A.J. Jones had two huge interceptions and top-ranked Florida beat the Bulldogs 41-17 Saturday for its 17th win in the last 20 meetings between the Southeastern Conference rivals.

The Gators (8-0, 6-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games and clinched at least a share of the SEC East title. Florida can secure a spot in the conference title game if Tennessee beats South Carolina later Saturday.

The Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3) lost for the third time in four games.

This one hurt more than the others. Georgia spent the last 12 months stewing about last year's 49-10 loss, a game in which Florida coach Urban Meyer called two timeouts in the final 44 seconds to prolong their misery.

The Dawgs placed pictures of Meyer signaling timeout all around their facility for motivation. Players seemed to get a little extra oomph early Saturday when they came out of the locker room in black pants and black helmets, a different look for a team that usually wears white jerseys, silver pants and red helmets on the road. The Bulldogs had never worn black helmets.

The extra juice didn't last long.

Florida scored touchdowns on its first two possessions, led 24-10 at halftime and essentially put the game out of reach on the opening possession of the second half.

The thing the Bulldogs might remember most was Tebow breaking Herschel Walker's SEC record for rushing touchdowns.

Tebow slipped up the middle and ran mostly untouched for a 23-yard score with 1:32 remaining in the first half. He dropped the ball briefly, and the field judge picked it up. But Tebow ran back, grabbed it out of his hand and carried it to the sideline.
Tebow broke the mark in his hometown, and maybe more fittingly, against Walker's Bulldogs.

It got worse for Georgia, too.

The Bulldogs turned the ball on its opening possession of the second half, the third time in four years they have done that in this series.

Jones was the culprit this time. He deflected Joe Cox's pass at the line of scrimmage, then made a diving catch for an interception and put Florida in the red zone for the first time Saturday.

The Gators have struggled inside the 20-yard line in conference play, and Meyer vowed his team would make changes and improve. The result? Tebow lined up under center for three consecutive downs, scoring on an option play from 5 yards out on the last one.

Tebow finished with 18 carries for 85 yards and two scores. He completed 15 of 21 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns, both to Riley Cooper. Cooper hauled in a 22-yard score to open the game and made an impressive one-handed catch for a 29-yarder on the next drive.

For Tebow, it was his first game in a while when he played like a Heisman Trophy contender.

Cox was 11 of 20 for 165 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Logan Gray replaced him late in the game, but Brandon Spikes intercepted Gray's pass and returned it 5 yards for a score and the exclamation mark.

Meyer could have called two timeouts to rub it in, but refrained from making it any worse.

The game already had plenty of chippy behavior, with pushing, shoving, several personal fouls and more smack-talking than any in-state rivalry.

The Bulldogs even had another full-team celebration, much like the one in 2007 that helped propel them to a rare victory in the series. This one happened on the sideline just after Cox's 26-yard TD pass to Aron White made it 14-10 in the second quarter.
Florida responded with one of its own after Jones' second interception.
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