Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 88°F (feels like 91°F), partly cloudy, winds SSE at 4 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
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|No. 18/19 FLORIDA GATORS||TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS|
|Head Coach: Will Muschamp||Head Coach: Butch Jones|
|Record: 1-1||Record: 2-1|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -16 | O/U: 47
KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS
Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you missed via the links below!
Latest Depth Chart | Story: RB Matt Jones feeling “regular” again | Story: Team confident in QB Jeff Driskel – to a point | OC Brent Pease talks offense | Story: RG Jon Halapio is “anxious” but ready to return | Story: Perfection not yet achieved by defense | Notes: Preparing for Tennessee
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida is looking to extend its eight-game winning streak against Tennessee (longest in the series’ history), which dates back to 2005. The Gators are 23-19 all-time against the Volunteers and hold an 11-9 record in Gainesville. UF is also ahead 8-2 in the last 10 meetings and 21-6 against UT since 1976.
» The teams have been slated to open the SEC schedule against each other nearly every season since 1996. Florida and Tennessee were each other’s second SEC opponent in 2012. In 2001, the game was pushed back due to the events of Sept. 11.
» The Gators and Vols will square off at 3:30 p.m. on CBS for the eighth time in the last nine years and play on the network for the 17th time in the last 18 showdowns. UF-UT was skipped over in 2012 and broadcast on ESPN at 6:00 p.m.
» Florida has failed to open the season 2-0 for the first time since 2005.
» Tennessee is 1-23 against top 25 teams since 2008 and has lost 17-straight games when squaring off with ranked opponents.
» The Gators are 13-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (6-9 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). Florida is also 15-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 11-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 13-3 when scoring first (6-6 when an opponent scores first) and 15-1 when leading at the half (4-8 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF is 15-2 against unranked opponents under Muschamp with its second loss against such teams coming on Sept. 7 to Miami.
» Against the Canes, the Gators had two wide receivers gain more than 98 yards in the same game for the first time since Nov. 3, 2007.
» Florida held Toledo to six points in its season opener, the sixth time the team has held an opponent without a touchdown under Muschamp.
» The Gators rank first nationally in time of possession (78.0 minutes) and third down defense (.083), second in first down defense (22 allowed) and third in total defense (208.5 yards) and rushing defense (50.0 yards).
» Florida has forced at least one turnover in 13-straight games.
» The Gators have forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (350).
» Vols wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni was a former Gators assistant at the same position for one year under Urban Meyer (2010). Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie was a ball carrier for Florida from 2001-05.
Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
September 17, 2005 – Gainesville, FL – Florida 16 | Tennessee 7
The Gators struggled to mount much offense and only found the end zone on a touchdown run by Andre Caldwell in the first quarter. Florida held Tennessee scoreless in the second half as Chris Hetland hit three field goals to spurn UF to victory.
September 16, 2006 – Knoxville, TN – Florida 21 | Tennessee 20
Trailing 10-7 at the half, the Gators found themselves in a 10-point deficit midway through the third quarter when Montario Hardesty scored a short touchdown. Dallas Baker took over in the final 16:16 of the game, scoring two touchdowns for Florida and accumulating 54 yards on the afternoon.
September 15, 2007 – Gainesville, FL – Florida 59 | Tennessee 20
The Gators registered their biggest victory in history over the Volunteers and the second-largest in the series (Tennessee won 40-0 in 1944) as Tim Tebow took the first step towards his Heisman Trophy. Tebow scored four touchdowns on the afternoon – two of which he ran in as part of his 61 yards on the ground – and UF’s defense held UT to a single offensive touchdown.
September 20, 2008 – Knoxville, TN – Florida 30 | Tennessee 6
This one was over early. The Gators scored 17 first-quarter points, including a 78-yard punt return touchdown from Brandon James, and held the Vols scoreless until early in the fourth quarter.
September 19, 2009 – Gainesville, FL – Florida 23 | Tennessee 13
UT was held to just 210 yards of total offense on the afternoon as UF chipped away with three field goals and added a pair of touchdown runs to pull off the win.
September 18, 2010 – Knoxville, TN – Florida 31 | Tennessee 17
Jeff Demps did much of the heavy lifting for the Gators, picking up 73 yards on 26 carries (2.8 yards per carry average), but it was Mike Gillislee who came through in the clutch with a pair of short rushing touchdowns. Matt Simms threw two touchdown passes for the Volunteers but was also picked off twice on the afternoon.
September 17, 2011 – Gainesville, FL – Florida 33 | Tennessee 23
Just like in 2008, the Gators piled on early with a first-quarter rushing touchdown and three consecutive field goals from Caleb Sturgis. Leading 16-7 at the half, Florida relented a bit and allowed Tennessee to get on the board with a trio of second-half touchdowns, but a short reception turned 83-yard touchdown scamper by Chris Rainey put UF ahead 30-7 in the third quarter and basically ended the game.
September 15, 2012 – Knoxville, TN – Florida 37 | Tennessee 20
LAST TIME OUT
The Gators struck first in 2012 with Trey Burton finding the end zone at the end of a 14-yard run, but Florida found itself in a depressed state at halftime, trailing 14-10 on the road against a team it had dominated in seven-straight games. A field goal early in the third quarter got UF within a single point of UT, but the defense surrendered a touchdown at the conclusion of a 12-play, 81-yard drive just minutes later.
Trailing by seven following a missed extra point, the Gators put their collective foot on the gas and rattled off 24-straight points over the final 18:15 of the game. Burton took off for an 80-yard touchdown run to tie the game. Jordan Reed caught a 23-yard pass from Jeff Driskel for a second touchdown in the third quarter, and Driskel hit Hammond for a 75-yard score early in the fourth quarter that put the game away. Caleb Sturgis tacked on a 49-yard field goal for good measure, putting Florida ahead 37-20.
Driskel totaled 300 yards and two touchdowns in the contest as Burton erupted for 129 total yards and Mike Gillislee carried 18 times for 115 yards. Though Tennessee did move the ball well for a good portion of the game, Florida shut its hosts down when necessary and registered its second-straight second half come-from-behind victory.
INJURIES AND ABSENCES*
» Active (3): Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel (knee), redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio (pectoral), sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL)
» Injured (9): Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee), redshirt sophomore running back Valdez Showers (ankle), redshirt sophomore right tackle Tyler Moore (ankle), freshman safety Marcell Harris (knee), redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose (ACL – season), redshirt junior RT Chaz Green (labrum – season), freshman CB Nick Washington (shoulder – season), freshman LB Matt Rolin (ACL – season), freshman defensive lineman Jordan Sherit (ACL)
» Suspended (2): Sophomore wide receiver Latroy Pittman, freshman WR Demarcus Robinson
* As of Saturday at 1:15 p.m.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Starting the season 1-1 for the first time since 2004 and reeling following a defeat to an unranked opponent for just the second time under Muschamp, the Gators must right the ship in a big way against a Volunteers team it has owned for the last eight years. Florida has no choice but to get the ball rolling with a victory over Tennessee on Saturday; a dominant win could give UF the steam it needs to plow through its next two opponents and enter the LSU game with a 4-1 record and every goal still within its sights. On the other hand, a loss would be devastating for a Gators program that is trying to prove its 11-1 season in 2012 was not a fluke but rather a sign of things to come.
Aside from trying to end their eight-game losing streak, the Volunteers are also looking to beat a ranked team for the first time in 18 tries. Tennessee lost many of its offensive playmakers from a year ago and is undergoing a transformation under new head coach Butch Jones. A win would mean everything for the Vols, while a loss would not be an indictment on the program at this point in time. Unfortunately for UT, three of its four games after UF are against teams currently ranked in the top 12 including Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.