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Tebow takes blame in loss to Mississippi

September 28, 2008|From the Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow stood at the lectern with his arms folded, took several deep breaths and then did something he has never done before, something he has never had to do.

He apologized after a football game. For his poor passes. For his costly fumble. For his failed fourth-down run. He took all the blame for this one -- even though Jevan Snead and Mississippi deserved plenty of credit.

Snead threw two touchdown passes, ran for another score and led the Rebels to a 31-30 upset of No. 4 Florida on Saturday. It gave Coach Houston Nutt a signature win in his fourth game at Ole Miss and put Florida in a hole with several tough Southeastern Conference games left.

The Gators (3-1 overall, 1-1 in the SEC) turned the ball over three times, gave up a long pass play late and had some questionable play-calling throughout. But Tebow put it all on his shoulders.

"I'm sorry. I'm extremely sorry," he said. "We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida's never done here. But I promise you one thing: A lot of good will come out of this."

Tebow fumbled on Florida's second possession of the third quarter. Snead, the former Florida recruit who backed out of his commitment when he learned the Gators were going after Tebow, dumped a screen pass to Cordera Eason on third and 10 that went for an 18-yard touchdown. It tied the score at 17-17.

Trailing 31-30 with about 40 seconds to play and facing fourth down and about two feet at the Ole Miss 32, the Gators called on Tebow to pick up the first down. Just about everyone at the Swamp -- all 90,106 in attendance -- knew Tebow was getting the ball. It was exactly what he wanted too.

But he was hit in the backfield and never even got back to the line of scrimmage, and the Rebels (3-2, 1-1) took over.

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