WATCH VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
By: Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 23 Tennessee welcomed No. 18 Florida to Neyland Stadium looking for its first victory over the Gators since 2004. The Volunteers put up a fight, but a strong second half from the Gators was the difference for the second week in a row and UF picked up a 37-20 win on the road.
Led by sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, the Florida (3-0, 2-0 SEC) offense tallied 555 total yards - including 336 on the ground - against the Vols. Driskel had an efficient day through the air (11 yards per pass attempt) and on the ground (10 yards per carry) and the Gators did not commit a turnover on the afternoon.
After Tennessee won the first half 14-10, the action kicked up a notch in the third quarter.
The Gators opened the second half with a 68-yard drive punctuated by a 25-yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis. The Vols (2-1, 0-1) countered with a methodical 12-play, 89-yard march of their own that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from A.J. Johnson, but a missed extra point made the score 20-13.
After Florida dialed up a fake punt that was unsuccessful near midfield minutes later, the tide turned back in favor of the Gators. The UF defense forced a Tennessee punt, allowing junior running back Trey Burton to explode for an 80-yard touchdown run on a stretch play to the right side.
It was all Orange and Blue from there.
With the game tied at 20, Florida safety Matt Elam managed an interception off Volunteer signal-caller Tyler Bray that gave the Gators possession once again. Driskel then led Florida 70 yards down the field in just three plays, capping the quick scoring drive with a 23-yard connection to tight end Jordan Reed. All of a sudden the Gators held the lead heading into the final quarter.
Frankie Hammond was the next Gator to step up to the plate, taking a short pass from Driskel and turning it into a 75-yard touchdown that extended the Florida lead to two scores with just under 10 minutes to play in the game.
Mike Gillislee led the Gators in rushing with 115 yards on 18 carries, several of which went for big gains in the pivotal second half. Overall, Florida outscored Tennessee 27-7 in the last 30 minutes, and UF has now won eight consecutive games in the series.
Passing – Tyler Bray, 22-for-44, 257 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing – Raijion Neal, 23 car, 87 yards
Receiving – Justin Hunter, 5 rec, 76 yards
Passing – Jeff Driskel, 14-for-20, 219 yards, 2 TD
Rushing – Mike Gillislee, 18 car, 115 yards
Receiving – Frankie Hammond, 1 rec, 75 yards, TD