[to top of second column]
Tebow took it from there. A 13-yard pass to Nelson. Then a 6-yarder to Nelson again to convert another third down by a yard. And finally, a quick pitch to Demps, who streaked around the left side and hurdled over two fallen players at the goal line for a 24-20 lead.
"Going 12-0 is a hard thing to do," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Every time they needed to make a play, Tim Tebow made the plays that made the difference in the game."
This was the 41st meeting between the top two teams in The Associated Press poll. No. 1 still holds a 23-16-2 edge.
The Gators had to play without Harvin, who didn't even suit up after spraining his right ankle the previous week in a win over Florida State. He walked on the field stiff-legged -- clearly, it wasn't even a close call whether or not he would play -- and watched the game from the sideline wearing his No. 1 jersey.
During the regular season, Harvin was the team's top receiver with 35 catches for 595 yards and seven touchdowns. He also was second on the team in rushing with 543 yards, scoring nine TDs on the ground.
But Florida still had Tebow. That was the difference.
"He's a great competitor. He takes his teammates on his shoulders a lot," Saban said. "They have a lot of confidence he's going to make plays, and they play that way. They scored two touchdowns where we had them covered about as well as we could cover them."
The Alabama-Florida matchup was a mainstay of the SEC championship in its early years. The teams met in the first three title games and four of the first five, beginning with the historic 1992 game in which the Crimson Tide won on a late interception return by Antonio Langham.
Alabama went on to rout Miami in the Sugar Bowl, winning its sixth national title. They'll have to wait another year for No. 7.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor