Coach Urban Meyer once called it "one of the best teams in college football history." Bob Stoops had no answer for it. Yes, the "it" here is the Florida Gators' 2008 national champion team.
Led by Gator great quarterback Tim Tebow, UF's roster overflowed with next-level talent that season. Tebow had Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez and Riley Cooper at his disposal, among others. The Pouncey brothers blocked for him. Joe Haden, Major Wright, Brandon Spikes and Carlos Dunlap were just a handful of defenders that helped stifle Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and Oklahoma's top scoring offense.
Ten years ago, on January 8, Florida beat Oklahoma 24-14 in the BCS National Championship Game to capture its third national championship and second in a three-year span. In a game featuring multiple Heisman winners and future NFL Pro Bowl selections -- including Demarco Murray, Gerald McCoy, Jermaine Gresham and Trent Williams from Oklahoma's side -- it's no surprise it featured some pretty unforgettable moments.
Here are the best of them:
1. A Major Hit
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Sooners wideout Manny Johnson had a few steps on UF corner Joe Haden. Bradford's pass looked perfect. All Johnson had to do was haul it in. UF safety Major Wright had other plans. Like a bat out of hell, Wright knocked Johnson into another dimension right in front of Florida's bench. If that doesn't set the tone, I don't know what does. The hit even spurred future recruits to become Gators.
Wright admitted the hit gained him notoriety. The hard-hitting defensive back became the Chicago Bears third-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and continued his spine-snapping ways for seven years in the NFL.
2. "30 Minutes for the Rest of Our Lives!"
Tebow was known for wearing his heart on his sleeve, and man did he ever do that here. With the score tied 7-7 at halftime, Tebow gave a pump-up speech that could incite Steve Urkel to run through a brick wall. It worked. The SEC champions outscored the Sooners 17-7 thanks to some gritty running by No. 15.
3. Chomp, Chomp
With the game pretty much in hand late in the fourth quarter, Tebow took offense to something Oklahoma's Nic Harris said. So, naturally, he Gator chomped right in Harris' face. It was a fitting end to a game Tebow was named MVP of.
4. The Jump Pass
Tebow made the jump pass famous with receiver Tate Casey in 2006 against LSU. Dan Mullen reintroduced it again using Feleipe Franks in 2018. It was his signature move. Defenses couldn't stop Tebow even when they knew he was running the ball. But if he faked a run and leapt up to pass? That's just unfair. And it was hard enough covering David Nelson to begin with.
5. DBU Plays Hot Potato
There were two main defensive stops in this game. The first was a goal-line stand that resulted in a turnover on downs and zero Oklahoma points. The second came on this Major Wright interception in the red zone. But first, Haden, Ahmad Black and Ryan Stamper all had to get in on the fun. Can you blame them?
This article was originally published January 8, 2019.
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