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November 29, 2008TALLAHASSEE, FL ? The number two ranked Florida Gators entered Saturday's contest as heavy favorites.
In a driving Tallahassee rain, the Gators proved to be worthy of that designation.
The Gators amassed an impressive 502 yards of total offense, 317 of which were on the ground en route to their 45-15 win over arch-rival Florida State.
"They score so many points so fast that everybody gets out of their game plan," head coach Bobby Bowden said. "You're trying to catch up, you start doing things you shouldn't be doing."
Chris Rainey, Jeffrey Demps, and Tim Tebow each had over 90 yards rushing and combined for two touchdowns on the day.
"(The) Offensive line i think ran for 317 yards rushing against that defense and that's one of the top 10 defenses and obviously well coached," said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. "But our offensive line is as good as they play and right now we're playing at a high level." Florida State struggled to get anything going offensively putting together a meager 242 yards of total offense. The Seminoles were unable to hold on to the ball turning it over four times on the night.
Senior Antone Smith rushed for 57 yards on 12 carries to lead all Seminole runners. Jermaine Thomas contributed 37 yards on the ground and Florida State's only touchdown of the game.
In the second half, Drew Weatherford came in at quarterback to replace Christian Ponder. No reason was given as to why the move was made, but Ponder was suffering from a back injury he sustained the previous week against Maryland.
"I got hit in the Maryland game on the first series when I fumbled the ball; I got a helmet [in the back] and it was fine on Sunday and Monday and as I kept going on it kept tightening up," Ponder said. "It got pretty bad, I had to stop practice on Wednesday and missed Thursday so it was hurting pretty bad." The Gators dominated time of possession controlling the football for 33:56 to Florida State's 26:04.
While the Gators will continue on to the SEC championship, Florida State will remain at home next week as Boston College captured the division championship with their win over Maryland this afternoon.
Florida finishes the season at 11-1 while Florida State drops to 8-4.