- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2009

No. 1 FLORIDA (12-1) vs. No. 2 OKLAHOMA (12-1)

8 p.m., Dolphin Stadium, Miami, Chs. 5, 45, ESPN 980




QB15Tim Tebow

RB33Kestahn Moore

WR1Percy Harvin

WR9Louis Murphy

WR11Riley Cooper

LT75Phil Trautwein

LG63Jim Tartt

C56Maurkice Pouncey

RG55Mike Pouncey

RT77Jason Watkins

TE81Aaron Hernandez


DE8Carlos Dunlap

NT90Lawrence Marsh

DT92Terron Sanders

DE49Jermaine Cunningham

OLB40Brandon Hicks

MLB51Brandon Spikes

OLB41Ryan Stamper

CB29Janoris Jenkins

CB5Joe Haden

SS35Ahmad Black

FS21Major Wright

Special teams

K38Jonathan Phillips

KO19Caleb Sturgis

P17Chas Henry

KR25Brandon James

KR2Jeff Demps

PR25Brandon James




QB14Sam Bradford

RB29Chris Brown

WR84Quentin Chaney

WR9Juan Iglesias

WR85Ryan Broyles

LT79Phil Loadholt

LG72Duke Robinson

C50Jon Cooper

RG73Brandon Walker

RT71Trent Williams

TE81Jermaine Gresham


DE84Frank Alexander

NG86Adrian Taylor

DT93Gerald McCoy

DE44Jeremy Beal

OLB22Keenan Clayton

MLB12Austin Box

OLB28Travis Lewis

CB15Dominique Franks

CB2Brian Jackson

SS5Nic Harris

FS11Lendy Holmes

Special teams

K17Jimmy Stevens

P13Mike Knall

KR9Juaquin Iglesias

KR17Mossis Madu

PR2Ryan Broyles


Date Opponent Result

Aug. 30HawaiiW 56-10

Sept. 6MiamiW 26-3

Sept. 20at TennesseeW 30-6

Sept. 27MississippiL 31-30

Oct. 4at ArkansasW 38-7

Oct. 11No. 4 LSUW 51-21

Oct. 25KentuckyW 63-5

Nov. 1vs. No. 8 Georgia#W 49-10

Nov. 8at VanderbiltW 42-14

Nov. 15No. 24 South CarolinaW 56-6

Nov. 22The CitadelW 70-19

Nov. 29at No. 23 Florida St.W 45-15

Dec. 6vs. No. 1 Alabama$W 31-20

Jan. 8vs. No. 2 Oklahoma%8 p.m.

#Jacksonville, Fla.; $Atlanta; %Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


Aug. 30ChattanoogaW 57-2

Sept. 6CincinnatiW 52-26

Sept. 13at WashingtonW 55-14

Sept. 27No. 24 TCUW 35-10

Oct. 4at BaylorW 49-17

Oct. 11vs. No. 5 Texas#L 45-35

Oct. 18No. 16 Kansas W 45-31

Oct. 25at Kansas StateW 58-35

Nov. 1NebraskaW 62-28

Nov. 8at Texas A&MW 66-28

Nov. 22No. 2 Texas TechW 65-21

Nov. 29at No. 11 Oklahoma StateW 61-41

Dec. 6vs. No. 19 Missouri$W 62-21

Jan. 8vs. No.1 Florida8 p.m.

Cotton Bowl; $Kansas City, Mo.; %Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


Tim Tebow174-2682,51528-2

John Brantley18-282353-1

Chris Rainey836554

Jeff Demps695827

Louis Murphy3661 6

Percy Harvin355957


Sam Bradford302-4424,46448-6

Joey Halzle22-301711-1

Chris Brown1951,11020

DeMarco Murray1791,00214

Juaquin Iglesias691,09210

Jermaine Gresham5888812


Oklahoma receivers/tight ends vs. Florida secondary

Las Vegas established an over-under line of 70 points for what’s expected to be a high-scoring game. The Gators will score on Oklahoma’s suspect defense behind dynamic quarterback Tim Tebow and the fastest set of playmakers in the nation. But Oklahoma’s offense demands that Heisman winner Sam Bradford receives both ample time to throw and open targets.

The Sooners should accomplish the first of those goals thanks to the most experienced and decorated offensive line in college football. But separation could be an issue for the Oklahoma receivers because the Gators might feature the nation’s best secondary.

Florida finished second in the nation in pass efficiency defense, allowing opponents to a complete 52.1 percent of their passes. The Gators countered 10 allowed touchdown passes with 24 interceptions. Only Boston College had more picks (26) this season than the Gators. And no team did as much with those interceptions as Florida, which returned five for touchdowns.

All four starting members of Florida’s secondary had at least three interceptions, and sophomore strong safety Ahmad Black ranked among the national leaders with six, taking two back for scores. Throw in All-American linebacker Brandon Spikes, who also scored twice off interceptions, and it’s possible Florida’s combination of speed and opportunism in the secondary could turn the game into a nightmare for Bradford and top targets Juaquin Iglesias and Jermaine Gresham.



- Because the Gators didn’t finish the season with a 1,000-yard rusher, Florida isn’t considered a dominating running team. But the Gators finished 11th in the nation in rushing (229.8 yards a game) and third in the nation in yards a carry (5.96). Tim Tebow’s ability to tuck the ball and bull for tough yards gives the Gators’ offense its fourth dimension, but Florida buried teams on the edge all season with speed. After Tebow, the team’s four leading rushers (Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, Percy Harvin and Emmanuel Moody) averaged a 8.2 yards a carry.

- While Tebow didn’t match Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford’s passing statistics, the junior had 28 touchdown passes and only two interceptions; that 14-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio ranked second only to N.C. State’s Russell Wilson (17 touchdowns, one interception).

- If an award were given out to the squad with the nation’s best special teams, Florida might have won it this season. Kicker Jonathan Phillips made 11 of his 12 field goal attempts and Brandon James finished 13th in the nation in punt returns, averaging 14.1 yards a return with two touchdowns. The Gators blocked five punts and three field goals and finished ninth in net punting, allowing only 63 total return yards on 42 punts.


- The Sooners featured the second-most potent offense in college football history this season, scoring an average of 54.0 points a game - second only to the 1944 Army team (56.0 points). Heisman winner Sam Bradford, who this season threw for 4,464 yards and 48 touchdowns, established an NCAA single-season record for passing efficiency (186.3).

- Anchored by All-Americans Duke Robinson (6-foot-5, 335) and Phil Loadholt (6-8, 337), Oklahoma features one of the best offensive lines in college football history. The Sooners’ offensive lines boasts size (averaging 6-5, 311), allowed the fewest sacks a passing attempt in the nation this season (11 in 442 attempts) and features a six-man rotation (five seniors) with an combined total of 187 career starts.

- The Sooners led the nation in turnover margin this season (1.77), finishing just ahead of the Gators (No. 2 at 1.69). Oklahoma rarely fumbles (lost two all season), and Florida’s Tim Tebow threw two interceptions in 268 attempts this season.

- The Sooners will play the Gators without three key starters. Running back DeMarco Murray (hamstring) and defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger (back) required season-ending surgery after Oklahoma’s Big 12 title game victory over Missouri. The Sooners had already dealt with a season-ending knee injury to top linebacker Ryan Reynolds and have two other key starters dinged up in quarterback Sam Bradford (surgery on his nonthrowing hand) and junior defensive end Auston English (sprained knee). Florida has no injury issues with the expected return of fragile game-breaker Percy Harvin.


Urban Meyer, fourth season, 43-9 (82-17 overall)

The game’s most lauded purveyor of the modern spread offense, Meyer’s star has ascended with the rise of the college game’s hottest offense. The 44-year-old mentor enjoyed success at Bowling Green (17-6 in two seasons) and Utah (22-2 in two seasons) before leading the Gators to the national title in his second year in Gainesville (2006). Meyer ranks second to USC’s Pete Carroll among active coaches with a career winning percentage of .828.


Bob Stoops, 10th season, 109-23

The 48-year-old Stoops made his first mark as a defensive guru while an assistant under Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. After helping Steve Spurrier and Florida to the program’s first national title in 1996, Stoops took over in Oklahoma and resurrected the program. In 10 seasons at Oklahoma, Stoops has guided the Sooners to six Big 12 titles and a national title, sending five assistants to head-coaching slots and mentoring two Heisman-winning quarterbacks. Stoops’ winning percentage (.826) ranks third among active coaches, though he’s trying to reverse a four-game skid in BCS bowls.

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