NEW ORLEANS — Tim Tebow rose above all the distractions caused by coach Urban Meyer’s uncertain future and capped a storied college career with his finest performance.
It was the best in BCS history, too.
Tebow threw for a career-high 482 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 51 yards and another score, and fifth-ranked Florida overwhelmed No. 4 Cincinnati 51-24 Friday night in the Sugar Bowl.
For Tebow and the Gators (13-1), this certainly was The Big Easy.
Florida’s most anticipated season ever ended in New Orleans instead of Pasadena. It came against Cincinnati (13-1) instead of Texas. It was about redemption instead of perfection.
None of that mattered in the Louisiana Superdome.
Tebow wouldn’t let it. He completed his first 12 passes, led the Gators to scores on their first five possessions and finished with 533 yards — more than anyone in Bowl Championship Series history. He passed former Texas star Vince Young’s record of 467 yards set against Southern California in the 2005 Rose Bowl.
The Bearcats lost their bid for a perfect season and surely will spend the next year listening to questions about whether they belong in the big games against the biggest boys.
Florida, meanwhile, became the first school in the Football Bowl Subdivision to win 13 games in consecutive seasons.