Breaks legendary Dog’s record with 50th rushing TD
By CHUCK WILLIAMS
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida quarterback Tim Tebow picked the right time and the right place to break the Southeastern Conference rushing touchdown record.
Late in the first half against Georgia, Tebow ran past a Georgia legend on the conference’s all time list. Herschel Walker, who played at Georgia from 1980-82, had 49 rushing touchdowns in his career.
Walker’s former coach, Vince Dooley, was in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium Saturday to witness Tebow’s record-breaking run in the second quarter of Florida’s 41-17 victory over Georgia.
Dooley expected to see the record fall.
“We knew it was going to happen; it was just a matter of when,” Dooley said.
Then, without ill will, he noted the rub in the record.
“But Herschel did it in three years,” he said.
Dooley, however, made sure he took nothing away from what Tebow accomplished.
“I am happy for Tebow,” Dooley said. “He is as deserving as anybody I know of. And part of that is because of the type of person he is.”
Walker’s record came in a shortened career because he left after his junior season for the United States Football League and New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump’s millions. Walker’s total also does not include the five touchdowns he scored in bowl games, while Tebow’s does include his bowl touchdowns.
For Tebow, the record is a point of pride.
“I didn’t immediately think about the record until the guys were reminding me,” Tebow said. “Then, I said, ‘Oh, yeah, can I get the ball?’”
Florida coach Urban Meyer said the record was important to Tebow and the Gators.
“That is a special, special record for him,” Meyer said. “And it means the world to him and his teammates. You are almost in awe to think that he broke that record.”
Tebow’s record-breaking run came on third-and-3 from the Georgia 23. He broke free up the middle on a quarterback draw and lumbered into the end zone with 1:32 to play in the half.
“It was a huge play near the end of the first half,” Tebow said.
The two touchdowns Tebow scored Saturday pushed his season total to eight. He tied Walker’s record a week ago on a 26-yard run against Mississippi State.
The Gators have four regular-season games remaining. They likely will be in thee SEC Championship game and a major bowl game, so Tebow will have the opportunity to add to his total.
He also has a chance to top Walker again in a differentway before the season is over. Both players have won a Heisman Trophy: Tebow two years ago as a sophomore and Walker as a junior in 1982. Tebow is in the running for college football’s highest honor, which is presented at the end of the season.
“It is amazing,” Meyer said. “I was at an age where I was able to watch Herschel and know how great a player he was.”