ATLANTA (AP) -Percy Harvin wanted to return to the SEC championship game, where in 2006 he was named MVP in Florida's win over Arkansas.
But not like this. Not as a spectator.
In 2006, Harvin was a do-it-all threat as he was named MVP of the championship game. Saturday he was an observer - a role he tried to avoid even in the last minutes before the Gators' 31-20 Southeastern Conference championship victory over Alabama.
Harvin, recovering from a sprained ankle that kept him out of practice all week, obviously was not ready to play. Wearing sweat pants and his No. 1 jersey, he clearly favored the right ankle even when he was only trying to walk during the Gators' warmups.
Even so, he said he tried to talk his way into playing.
``I came out today and still tried to go,'' Harvin said. ``The trainers had to grab me and say this is not good for you.''
Harvin said he also was told by his teammates that it was not necessary for him to try to play when he wasn't close to full speed.
id 'We've got you' and I had to believe them,'' said Harvin, who is expected to be ready for the Gators' next game, which will likely be for the national championship.
Florida's strategy was to have as many players as possible make up for the loss of Harvin. But even with star quarterback Tim Tebow delivering one of his best games, replacing Harvin was no easy task.
Harvin leads the Gators with 35 receptions for 595 yards and seven touchdowns. He is second on the team in rushing, with 538 yards and nine scores. He adds a different look by taking direct snaps and had scored at least once in 14 consecutive games - the longest streak in the nation.
With Harvin watching, Tebow threw touchdown passes to three receivers: David Nelson, Riley Cooper and Carl Moore.
Moore's 3-yard touchdown catch on Florida's opening possession was the first of his career. Nelson's 5-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was only his ninth reception of the season.
``I want Percy on the field but I'll step in for him anytime I can,'' Nelson said. ``I wanted to step up for him.''
Meanwhile, freshman running back Jeff Demps had 13 carries for 53 yards, including a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter that gave Florida the lead for good.
n joined the celebration on the field.
``My teammates did a good job keeping me up knowing how bad I wanted to play,'' Harvin said.
Harvin's injury was a big question all week, and his status remained in doubt until pregame warmups.
Florida coach Urban Meyer wanted Alabama to have to prepare for Harvin, even if he doubted the junior would play. On Friday, Meyer didn't have Harvin with the team in the portion of practice that was open to media.
Once it was clear Harvin wouldn't play, Meyer tried to use the injury as a motivational tool.
``It was extra motivation because I knew somebody had to step up,'' Meyer said.
Meyer said the pregame decision was ``a very emotional time for Percy, because two years ago he was the MVP.''
In the 2006 SEC championship game, Harvin had 105 yards rushing, 62 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Harvin wanted an encore, but had to settle for a spectator's role.
``I gave him a big hug, and he's an extremely competitive guy,'' Meyer said.
The MVP of Saturday's win was Tebow, who passed for 216 yards and three touchdowns and led the team with 57 yards rushing.
Harvin and Tebow are juniors who will have an opportunity to leave school early to enter the NFL draft.
Meyer called Harvin ``one of the best players in college football'' and said he's ``never had one like (Tebow), and I've been around a long time.''
d passes to six players.
``It's a sign of good recruiting, a sign of good players and a sign of a good team,'' said Meyer, ``and that's what we are.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

TIMMY MIA AGAIN? on Sat, Jan 2018 by Surfer
Basketball Thursday on Sat, Jan 2018 by Michael Cash
ALL GOOD CHECK RANGERS THREAD on Fri, Jan 2018 by Timmy1961

NCAAF Headlines

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail 2019 College Football Title Odds After winning their fifth national championship in the Nick Saban era, the Alabama Crimson Tide are once again favored to win it all next...
Thumbnail Alabama Beats Georgia, Fails to Cover In what turned out to be a national championship game for the ages, the Alabama Crimson Tide won for the fifth time under Nick Saban but did not cash for...
Thumbnail Alabama vs. Georgia Prediction Will the Alabama Crimson Tide cover as a small favorite tonight when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National...
Thumbnail Bama vs. Georgia Over/Under Total Will Monday night’s college football national championship game fall under the betting total when Alabama takes on Georgia at 8:00 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Money Pouring in on 'Bama We're still hours away from kickoff of the college football national championship game between Alabama and Georgia but as of this writing, money continues to pour in on the...

NCAAF Team Pages