Leak, Tebow lead Florida over Ohio State
Published 1:45 am Tuesday, January 9, 2007
By By BEN WALKER, AP National Writer
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Not even close.
Florida — yes Florida — owned the field it wasn’t supposed to be on, embarrassing Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and No. 1 Ohio State 41-14 on Monday night to run away with the national championship.
Chris Leak and Tim Tebow showed off coach Urban Meyer’s twin quarterback system to perfection as the No. 2 Gators became the first Division I school to hold football and basketball titles at the same time.
Now, only one question remains: What about Boise State?
Playing on the very same field where the undefeated Broncos stunned Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day, Florida (13-1) routed the previously unbeaten Buckeyes (13-1).
Former Gators star Emmitt Smith did the chomp on the sidelines, punctuating the amazingly easy victory. That left Florida, Wisconsin and Louisville each with one loss, and surely will renew calls for a playoff system.
Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, then it quickly fell apart for the Buckeyes. He hobbled off minutes later with an injury and by the time he returned for the second half on crutches, Florida led 34-14.
Leak, maligned for never winning the big one, completed 25 of 36 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. The Rambo-like Tebow threw for one TD and powered into the end zone for another.
Smith, meanwhile, joined a long list of Heisman Trophy quarterbacks — Jason White, Eric Crouch and Gino Torretta, among them — to fall apart in bowl games. He was just 4-for-14 with one interception and never showed off his elusive running.
Instead, defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Jarvis Moss made it a miserable night for Smith. Linebacker Earl Everett got into the act, too, running down Smith despite missing his helmet.
Florida won its second national title, adding to the one Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel brought home in 1996 under coach Steve Spurrier with a 52-20 over Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.