Location: Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tennessee [Capacity: 102,455]
Weather: 55°F (feels like 52°F), mostly sunny, winds W at 10 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EDT
TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)
SiriusXM: 93/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
|FLORIDA GATORS||TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS|
|Head Coach: Will Muschamp||Head Coach: Butch Jones|
|Record: 2-1 (1-1 SEC)||Record: 2-2 (0-1 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
Odds: Florida EVEN | O/U 52
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 forgot to check out via the links below!
Notebook: Will Muschamp previews Tennessee, talks injuries and support
Notebook: Kurt Roper keeping Florida offense calm, focused
Story: With support, QB Jeff Driskel focused on improvement not criticism
The Silver Lining: QB Treon Harris not ready for prime time
Notebook: Muschamp, D.J. Durkin looking to fix Gators secondary
Friday Final: Florida confident, prepared for Tennessee
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida is looking to extend its nine-game winning streak against Tennessee, which dates back to 2005. The Gators are 24-19 all-time against the Volunteers, though the teams are an even 11-11 when playing in Knoxville. UF is 22-6 against UT since 1976, 8-2 in Knoxville since 1994.
» The Gators have outscored the Vols 281-143 during their nine-game winning streak, earning victories by an average of 15.3 points per game in that span.
» Florida and Tennessee have contested their game on CBS in 17 of the previous 18 seasons (eight of those contests kicking off at 3:30 p.m.) with the lone game not shown on the network in that span, the 2012 contest, broadcast on ESPN at 6 p.m.
» The Gators and Vols have been slated to open the SEC schedule against each other nearly every season since 1996. The teams were each other’s second SEC opponent in 2012, and in 2001, the game was pushed back to the end of the season due to the events of Sept. 11. This season, UT will be UF’s third SEC opponent, the latest they’ve played in a season since 1991 (fourth SEC game).
» Tennessee is 2-29 against top 25 teams since 2008 and has lost 22 of 23 games (18-straight) when squaring off against ranked opponents.
» Florida has lost five-straight games against top 25 opponents and is now 4-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp.
» UF is 20-4 against unranked opponents under Muschamp and 11-2 against unranked SEC teams during his tenure.
» The Vols enter Saturday’s game ranked No. 1 nationally in third down defense (.208), while the Gators are ranked No. 106 in the country in third down offense (.340).
» Florida is one of 10 teams nationally to average fewer than 0.75 sacks per game; UF has only given up two through three contests this season. Tennessee averages 2.0 sacks per game.
» The Gators are ranked fifth nationally in turnover margin (+8)
» Florida is the best punting team in the country, averaging 44.3 net yards per boot.
» UF has forced more turnovers than any other SEC team this century, accounting for 378 over the last 14 seasons, while LSU is second with 366 forced.
» Florida is first nationally in interceptions returned for touchdowns (18) and interception return yards (1,941) since the start of the 2008 season. In that span, Florida is third in total interceptions with 111.
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar enters Saturday having caught a pass in 31-straight games. He is four games away from tying a school record for most consecutive contests with a reception.
INJURIES AND ABSENCES
» Active (3): Junior left tackle D.J. Humphries (ankle), redshirt senior right tackle Chaz Green (ankle), senior right guard Trenton Brown (ankle)
» Questionable (4): Redshirt senior linebacker Michael Taylor (knee), redshirt sophomore LB Jeremi Powell (knee), freshman LB Matt Rolin (ACL), freshman quarterback Will Grier (back spasms)
» Out (4): Redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr (knee), freshman WR C.J. Worton (hand), redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee (leg – season), freshman DB J.C. Jackson (shoulder – season)
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
Trailing at the half, a field goal early in the third quarter got the Gators within a point of the Vols, but UF soon found itself down seven after a touchdown and missed extra point. Florida responded by rattling off 24-straight points in 18:15 to end the game. Trey 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, and Driskel hit Hammond for a 75-yard score to put the game away. 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 Gillislee carried 18 times for 115 yards.
September 25, 2013 – Gainesville, FL – Florida 31 | Tennessee 17
Jumping ahead early with a pick-six on a play that knocked Driskel out for the game and the season, the Vols looked ready to pounce on a Gators team suddenly without its leader. That did not occur, however, as reserve Tyler Murphy proved more than capable of replacing Driskel, completing 8-of-14 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown while adding another score while taking 20 carries for 84 yards on the ground. Florida also forced six turnovers in the contest including four interceptions and two fumbles. Murphy’s 52-yard touchdown pass to Solomon Patton regained the lead for UF in the second quarter, and the home team never fell behind again.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
For a Gators team looking to swing the season’s momentum back in its favor after a devastating loss two weeks ago, Saturday’s game means everything. Florida has its nine-game winning streak against Tennessee on the line, and the program needs to pull off a big victory in a hostile environment to officially shake off the cobwebs of the disastrous 4-8 campaign in 2013. Otherwise, if UF falls on Saturday, not only would yet another streak be snapped under Muschamp, the coach would find himself with one foot planted firmly out the door. The Gators have not won a game of significance since Nov. 24, 2012 at Florida State, and it is time for Florida to step up and do just that on Saturday. If not then, when?
The Vols are going whole hog for Saturday, building up its annual meeting against the Gators for everything it is worth. Tennessee has decided to checker Neyland Stadium in orange and white and is as resolute as it has been since the early 2000s with Florida coming into town. The confidence is palpable in the Volunteers, just like it was the last time the Gators visited in 2012; that contest ended with UF scoring 24 unanswered points in a 37-20 victory but also featured a Florida team (with a tremendous, experienced defense) that finished the season 12-2. Tennessee is right. Saturday is UT’s best chance to beat UF since 2006 (a 21-20 Gators’ victory in Knoxville). If not then, when?