By Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Despite losing starting quarterback Jeff Driskel to injury in the first quarter, No. 19 Florida notched a 31-17 win over Tennessee at The Swamp on Saturday. Tyler Murphy filled in for the ailing Driskel, performing admirably in relief on his way to 220 yards of offense and a pair of scores.
Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) scored the first points of the game in the first quarter on a pick-six off Driskel, who threw the ball directly to Tennessee’s Devaun Swofford while under pressure. Swofford sprinted 62 yards up the right sideline to pay dirt, putting Tennessee in front 7-0, while Driskel injured his right ankle on the play.
That’s when Murphy stepped in, and the Gators’ gained control.
Murphy led the Gators (2-1, 1-0 SEC) to 17 unanswered points before the break, and would lead UF to two more scores in the second half that gave the home team a 21-point lead early in the fourth. Murphy ran in from seven yards out just over a minute into the final period, and the Gators had enough cushion to lean on their elite defense from that point on.
The Florida defense forced five turnovers on the afternoon, while Tennessee did its share of damage by producing three takeaways. The Gators rushed for over 200 yards on the afternoon though, holding Tennessee to under 70 yards on the ground on the other side of the ball.
Murphy finished the afternoon with 134 passing yards and a touchdown through the air to go along with 84 yards on the ground and a rushing TD. Tennessee’s only offensive score came in the fourth quarter on an 18-yard strike from Justin Worley to Alton Howard.
Passing – Tyler Murphy, 8-for-14, 134 yards, TD
Rushing – Mack Brown, 24 car, 86 yards, TD
Receiving – Solomon Patton, 3 rec, 73 yards, TD
Passing – Justin Worley, 10-for-23, 149 yards, TD, 2 INT
Rushing – Raijon Neal, 12 car, 42 yards
Receiving – Alton Howard, 4 rec, 75 yards, TD
• Florida has now won nine straight games against Tennessee, dating back to Sept. 19, 2004.
• The Gators lead the all-time series with Tennessee 24-19, and are now 12-5 when the game is played in Gainesville.
• Tennessee has struggled against the Gators’ defense in recent years, scoring 30 points or more in only two of the last 13 meetings.
• Florida has now won its SEC opener nine years in a row.
• This marked the 17th time in the last 18 years that the UF-UT game was broadcast on CBS.