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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Three days after the Gators' victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in Miami, the party was still on back home.

More than 40,000 Gator fans gathered in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Sunday to celebrate the UF football team's third national championship.

Fans of all ages came dressed in orange and blue to show their Gator pride.

Before the event, fans clapped and cheered as they watched replays of Thursday night's game.

When the team rushed the field, fans jumped to their feet and roared.

"This team will go down as one of the greatest football teams in history," UF coach Urban Meyer said at the start of the afternoon's celebration.

Later, Meyer called the team's senior players to the stage for recognition.

Former UF quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Chris Leak then carried the national championship trophy onto the field, handing the crystal football to Tim Tebow while the "Superman" theme song played in the background.

Elizabeth Navarro, a UF sophomore who attended the game, said the crowd, though smaller than Miami's, was just as excited. The fans broke into chants of "one more year" when star players Tebow and Percy Harvin took the stage.

When Tebow announced he will be leading the Gators next season, the roar of the crowd became deafening.

At the end of the rally the team made its way to the north end zone to join in singing UF's alma mater.

Fans poured out of The Swamp in an orange-and-blue stream as they made their way down University Avenue.

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Daniel Hornick, a UF accounting junior who was here for the last football national championship, remembers the enthusiasm of the fans two years ago and was not disappointed by their reactions this year.

"I was here to see the fans in 2006, and I expected nothing less from these fans," he said.

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