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On This Date in Sports January 8, 2009: Florida BCS Chomps

The University of Florida wins the BCS National Championship for the second time in three years, beating Oklahoma 24-14 in Miami. The game features a battle of the last two Heisman Trophy winners, with Tim Tebow getting the best of Sam Bradford to lead the Gators to victory as the Gators' defense helped the record-breaking Sooners' offense to a season-low 14 points.

Both teams began the year with high expectations, as the Gators led by Urban Meyer, with Tim Tebow coming off winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007, looking to add a second National Championship. Florida’s lone setback came at the end of September when they were stunned at home by Ole Miss 31-30. The Gators rebounded and won their next eight games, beating some of the best teams in the country along the way, including defending champion #4 LSU 51-21 and #8 Georgia 49-10. In the SEC Championship, the Gators took a chomp out of #1 Alabama 31-20 to take over the top spot heading into bowl season.

Oklahoma, coached by Bob Stoops, posted the biggest offensive season in NCAA history, scoring a record 702 points. Like the Gators, the Sooners suffered a loss early in the season as they were beaten by #5 Texas 45-35 in the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma’s offense began shattering records as the season ended, becoming the first team to score 60 points in five straight games, including a 62-21 win over Missouri in the Big XII Championship. Sam Bradford was powering the Sooners' attack, who passed for 4,721 yards with 50 touchdowns.

Dolphin Stadium in Miami gave Florida a decided home crowd edge, as the first quarter saw neither team able to score. In the second quarter, the Gators found the end zone as Tim Tebow connected with Louis Murphy on a 20-yard pass, completing a 12-play 86-yard drive. Oklahoma answered as Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham connected on a six-yard touchdown pass. With the score tied 7-7 at the half, it was clear that Florida was in control as the Sooners high-powered offense was kept in check. In the third quarter, the Gators again took the lead on a two-yard run by Percy Harvin as the Gators completed another long touchdown drive. 

The Sooners would tie the game on a second touchdown catch by Gresham, this one going for 11 yards. The Gators again grabbed the lead with a 27-yard field goal by Jonathan Phillips. After Oklahoma was stopped on the next series, Florida went on another long drive, taking nearly seven minutes off the clock, as Tebow had his second touchdown pass of the game, going four-yard to David Nelson. The touchdown would be the backbreaker for Oklahoma, as Florida won the game 24-14. Tim Tebow was named offensive MVP, while Florida pass rusher Carlos Dunlap received defensive honors. It was the third overall National Championship in football for the Florida Gators.