Florida Gators edge Tennessee 10-9 in Knoxville

By Adam Silverstein
October 4, 2014

Despite trailing early in the fourth quarter on the road at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Florida Gators (3-1, 2-1 SEC) rallied behind a quarterback change and scored 10 unanswered points to pull off a 10-9 victory against the rival Tennessee Volunteers (2-3, 0-2 SEC).

Florida has now won 10-straight games against Tennessee dating back to 2005 with Saturday’s 10-9 win tying the 2006 game (21-20) for the closest victory in that span.

The Volunteers led 3-0 at the end of the first half, shutting out the Gators in that period for the first time since 1955, but were unable to score in the last quarter of the game as Florida made a key substitution.

With redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel struggling (11-for-23, 59 yards, three interceptions), freshman Treon Harris entered in the fourth quarter and led the Gators to a pair of scoring drives. Though Harris completed just 2-of-4 passes for 17 yards and carried four times for 24 yards, the team’s change in energy was palpable with him in the game.

Florida also benefited from a tremendous rushing effort from junior running back Matt Jones (27 touches for 133 total yards, touchdown) as well as a stout defensive effort including six sacks, 10 tackles for loss, two interceptions (one to seal the game) and a forced fumble.

A low-scoring first half saw its only points following a Florida turnover. Driskel threw on-target to sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, who tipped the ball up in the air only for Tennessee to come down with it. The Vols responded with a nine-play, 36-yard drive and went up 3-0 after a 36-yard field goal.

The Gators had an opportunity at the end of the half – with two minutes and two timeouts – but allowed the clock to run out as they settled for taking the ball coming out of the break. Unfortunately for Florida, Driskel’s second interception – a bad throw over the middle – gave Tennessee another scoring opportunity.

Sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III atoned for his teammate’s mistake by picking off a pass from UT QB Justin Worley in the end zone, giving UF the ball back.

Florida was not able to take advantage of the fortunate play, however, as Driskel threw a third pick – this time a well-thrown ball deflected by senior tight end Tevin WestbrookJalen Tabor blitzed off the edge and stripped the ball from Worley. Redshirt sophomore defensive end Bryan Cox Jr, who registered a significant third-down sack on the previous series, recovered the ball to give UF possession at UT’s 30-yard line.

Harris replaced Driskel and immediately converted a first down, passing out to Jones for a 15-yard gain. Harris then took off on a quarterback keeper for 10 yards before Jones rumbled into the end zone from two yards out for a touchdown and Florida’s first score of the afternoon.

A third sack of the game by Cox forced a Vols punt, giving the Gators another possession and an opportunity to take the lead for the first time.

Florida took over at its own 24-yard line but engineered an eight-play, 49-yard drive – including a first-down toss from Harris and 32-yard run by Jones – to set itself up for a long field goal. Redshirt sophomore Austin Hardin stepped in to drain a career-long 49-yard kick to give his team a 10-9 lead over Tennessee with 6:20 left in the contest.

A sixth sack returned the ball to the Gators at their own 48, but Florida was unable to capitalize and instead punted back to Tennessee; a shank from senior Kyle Christy resulted in UT taking over at its own 22-yard line.

Two 15-yard conversions on the final drive from Worley to Austin “Pig” Howard – including one on fourth down out to midfield – kept the Volunteers alive, but a game-sealing diving interception by Gators sophomore safety Keanu Neal saved the day for Florida with 51 seconds remaining.


  1. Michael Jones says:

    Treon is decisive, quick, and throws a nice, catchable ball . . although he got lucky on a sideline throw that probably should’ve been a pick-six. You get the impression that if unlucky Driskel throws that same pass it goes the other way. The biggest difference is that Treon actually throws it to our receivers, giving them a chance to make a play. Driskel is just not accurate enough to be a Div. I QB, which is too bad, because I like the kid.

    Demarcus Robinson seems to play a little soft at times. I’ve seen that in a couple of games. If we have a “great” receiver, he hasn’t emerged yet.

    As for Muschamp’s unfortunate comment about being happy that the Vols fans were disappointed, I don’t like a guy like that representing our school. Show a little class in victory, coach, as unfamiliar as that is to you.

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    whew. a win is a win and heats off to the defense stepping up this week, but I still have to be concerned with:

    The only way UF could score for the 3rd straight game was on an incredibly short field. Sustained drives seem impossible.
    “driskel gives us the best chance to win” “Harris is not ready for prime time” I think both of those have been proven completely false.

    Tough win on the road against another improving team, but 2 of the 3 worst teams in the SC, UK, UT we barely scraped by. That doesn’t bode well for most of the rest of our schedule.

    Positive that defense played very nicely, great to see them finally allow Tabor to get involved who should have been a lot like Hargraeves and game changer from day 1, and should be from now on, but I can’t say this game has eased many of my overriding concerns about this team or coaching staff.

  3. SW FL Joe says:

    Wow what a game. Harris may be a true freshman but this team played hard for him. There’s hope for this season and his name is Treon

  4. qnt82 says:

    If Treon is not our starting QB next week there is going to be a riot in Gville! #FREETREON

  5. Gatorgrad says:

    muschamp said what he said in response to the crowd chanting “F you gators” in the closing minutes, so loud you could hear it on tv.

  6. USA says:

    Big win for UF and our chances of winning the weak East is still alive. The positives moving forward is that true freshman Jalen Tabor and Treon both played well today. Still our offense is anemic and we lack explosive plays. And I thought Roper would be a huge help this year but that hasn’t been the case. I’m starting to think maybe Muschamp haven’t recruited well on the offensive end. Watching today, it was evident that we were not going to move the ball and that we especially lacked playmakers at the WR and TE position. I think Muschamp must win the SEC championship in order to keep his job not just the East.

  7. Timmy says:

    The worst thing that can happen is to win just enough games so they don’t fire muschamp,
    He is an awful awful coach

  8. Daniel M. says:

    Adam, I disagree that the pick aimed for Westbrook was well thrown. Driskel threw it, as he often does, way too hard. Forcing Westbrook to extend for a laser beam on a short crossing route is begging for an interception.

    • Timmy says:

      100% agree.
      It was catchable, but Driskel made what should have been an easy pitch and catch into a challenging catch by his poor throw.
      I will say the receivers did no favors for Jeff today and that is putting it lightly. Robinson was terrible.

  9. SJ210 says:

    Amen Timmy. I was starting to wonder what, if anything, Driskel could do to make Muschamp pull him. 11-23 for 59 yards and 3 int! We are so painful to watch on offense. Even a win almost feels like a loss. Anybody who thinks Muschamp is capable of leading UF to any kind of championship is delusional. He is a terrible head coach.

  10. Ken (CA) says:

    I just find it astounding that WM put Driskel back in for the victory formation and that turned into an adventure rather than just a quiet end the game move.

    Not to mention, the one that deserved to be in the victory formation was the one who gave us the victory – Treon.

    • Ziggy says:

      You guys really need to calm down. How many snaps has Treon had under center? I’m guessing none. That was actually a good coaching decision. It was a bullshit bush league move by UT to try and swipe the ball from the centers hand during the snap. I understand the frustration, but you make yourself sound really ignorant by your incesent complaining.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        not talking about the bush league move by UT, look at the other two snaps where he was dancing around almost dropped the ball on the play after that. Treon earned the victory position, Driskel should have stayed on the bench. If he hasn’t practiced any snaps under center, then that is yet another coaching deficiency in bringing the talent along.

  11. Mike The Red says:

    Three positive things happen today. 1) We won. 2) The defense played much better. 3) Harris finally got his chance and produced 10 points in a quarter.

    I still have doubts about Muschamp, but we still have a chance to win the SEC East.

    • Gatorgrad79 says:

      Mike, I want some of whatever you’re drinking! You seriously think when our offense cannot score over 10 points (I am discounting scores where the D gave us a super short field) that we can beat SC, Missouri, LSU, Ga or Vandy? You are hallucinating…plus champ will continue to start Driskell every game and leave him in to go 3 and out until the Defense is exhausted and/or Matt Jones is banged up. It has been reported that Driskell already said he will go play baseball after this year, so why not play Harris and let him get experienced? I just don’t understand the play Driskell at all cost mentality.

      • Mike The Red says:

        We won. Our defense did not give up a TD. Muschamp finally took down the flag and put in Harris. Those are all positives.

        Can we win the SEC East? I guess it depends what happens to the offense once Treon is QB. If we can develop enough of a passing game to keep the defense honest, we could be dangerous.

        Under the circumstances, I do not see how Treon could not be the QB. Whatever you think about Muschamp, he wants to keep his job. I think that it is painfully obvious that Treon is his best hope of doing so.

      • senuod says:

        This UT team almost beat a UGA that lost to a USC that lost to Mizzou. The East is still wide open for the taking.

        • BIGGATOR says:

          thats a good point. lets all look at this from the right perspective. Tenn. went to OU at Norman and put up 10 if i’m not mistaken,went into a hostile Georgia and put 32 on them,florida rolls in to Tenn. and shuts their runnig game down,sacks Worley six times and picks him off twice! holds Tenn. to three field goals! now tell me what the Hell wasn’t impressive about that! sure the offense sputtered but i think that will change with Treon. the team will rally around him,if the truth be known,Treon is the quarterback the team wants! i don’t think they have any faith in Jeff anymore. at least Muschamp had the guts to bench him and put Treon in. GO GATORS!

          • Ken (CA) says:

            Yes, it was a great accomplishment, and defense did themselves proud today, however Worley’s throwing arm was dinged up and 2 of his top receivers didn’t play due to high ankle sprains. In regards to their injuries we caught them at a fortunate time. If our offense stays anemic, our defense will not hold up, although LSU, USC, even UGA and Mizzou have serious vulnerabilities if we can put anything longer than a 30 yard drive on offense together.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        Where is this Driskel report on baseball coming from? Haven’t seen that anywhere. I have seen however in every discussion in the various score reports and analysis so far, whenever discussing UF that not only does WM have to start Treon next week, but next week is the perfect time to transition as the next 2 games are at home and that will allow him to settle in much easier than on the road.

  12. Gatorgrad79 says:

    I was at the game and the change in the team’s energy level and even the resolve of the defense when Harris went in was significant. They can say all they want about how the team is standing behind Driskell, but I don’t believe it. Also the “F___ Florida” chant at the end was deafening, but I wish coach had stayed classy and just said that he felt the actions of the UT fans were uncalled for. That would have been enough but instead he made Gator nation look classless.

    • Daniel M. says:

      I have no issue with you disliking Muschamp. But you get a 15 yard flag for piling on when you say that he was classless in saying that he was glad to disappoint fans who were saying fuck you.

    • Mike The Red says:

      … Tennessee fans have always been a bunch of dumb obnoxious rednecks… even the ones that have their two front teeth…good for Muschamp… they deserved the jab…

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I tend to agree with you. A coach on the hotseat that pulled this win out of his arse after finally bowing to logic and changing up the secondary and benching the QB doesn’t have any room to smack talk the opponents, especially when you could only score 10 points, and the only reason you got that many was your offense started on the 35 yard line or so after the late fumble.

      He needs to get his priorities in order and focus on his own house rather than casting stones at someone else’s.

  13. G8TRKYLE says:

    Don’t get Driskel, don’t get why he took the victory formation with his play…is he owed something? Take the reigns Treon, good luck…

    • Michael Jones says:

      It might be called the “victory” formation but it’s menial mop-up duty and Driskel is probably the only QB that had practiced it. I don’t get how people are reading more into it than that. Had nothing to do with negating Treon’s play.

  14. G2 says:

    Victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat when Treon came in. Finally, wondering what it would take for Driskel to get the hook, he just wasn’t getting it done. 0 points in almost 3 quarters. the Tenn D isn’t that good, really embarrassing we can’t complete a pass more than 10 yards. Looked as painful as last years offense.Theres no question there is a spark with TH, I’m excited to see what he can do the rest of the way.

  15. 5wideU says:

    No doubt Treon needs to start next week but we shouldn’t expect the offense to all of a sudden put up 40 points. Driskell has no confidence but it’s becoming apparent Roper doesn’t have a better plan than Pease when it comes to downfield passing. It’s pretty pitiful right now watching us try to complete a pass downfield. Between the ridiculous drops and the fact we don’t even try to throw anything more than 10 yards downfield, it’s pretty depressing.

    Great job by the defense in winning this game for us. They played solid all day. I hate to be negative but my only defensive complaint is Marcus Maye. He’s being exposed every game in coverage. Why do we keep him on the field in passing situations? The good news is we’re home for the next two games and LSU is looking just as bad as we do. Let’s fill up the Swamp and support the team. The game is definitely winnable.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Marcus Maye’s great coverage on Howard was responsible for the overthrow that Neal intercepted to end UT”s last drive. Not saying he played great the whole game but have to give credit where credit is due.

  16. gatorboi352 says:

    To everyone worried that we still don’t have an offense: Just wait until Treon gets a whole 4 quarters under his belt. Unfortunate as it was, Jeff simply was this teams weak link.

    Even Muschamp said it in his post game presser: “Treon has that ‘it’ factor” As maddening as Boom has been for us as our HC, give him credit for A) recognizing that much and B) basically telling Vawl fans to suck it after the game. I love it.

    Now, just never let Driskel see the field again. He’s best playing ball for Sullivan on the diamond.

  17. W2 says:

    Really thought Coach was just going let the ship sink today. I’m not bashing Driskel but the team wasn’t behind him and that means a lot. Way to come back and win. And Coach comment was on point. I was looking at the game with my kids and they heard the F Florida chant. Awful. hope Coach keep the freshman in.

  18. 1974Gator says:

    This is the same script that Tyler Murphy was given and had success with in the same game last year. I’m waiting a little longer before I get excited.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Differenc being Tyler Murphy was a RS JR 2 star from Connecticut with an extremely low ceiling. Treon is fresh off back to back state titles, in Florida, playing at the highest level of HS competition. What Murphy did last year as expected. What Harris did, 18 years old on the road in front of 100k leading multiple scoring drives in the 4th q down 2 scores was nothing short of amazing.

      We lose that game yesterday if not for Treon.

  19. Michael Jones says:

    Yeah, Spurrier was firey, but he was also witty. Spurrier was wry. Spurrier was clever. Spurrier had class. There is no comparison between Muschamp and Spurrier. They shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence.

    There is a reason that UT fans and the fans of every other program in the SEC hate us the most. They wouldn’t be surprised that most of the commenters are good with Muschamp’s ignorant remark.

    We won, right? That’s all that matters. Class be damned.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      he also was cocky when he was consistently winning and beating up the other teams, not struggling just to get a 500 record and keep his job alive.

  20. Marlex says:

    I’m not expecting miracles from Treon if he indeed does start, but I do hope that he will allow Roper to open the passing playbook more. Driskel started with 4 passes for 4 yards. His first deep pass was intercepted. The Bama game was horrendous. No doubt. And halfway into this game, I had little faith we could pull it out.

    That being said. Our defense played a heck of a game today. With a functional offense, this game wouldn’t have been close. And really, that’s all I’m asking for from Treon. Functionality.

    And with Kentucky just did, our game against them doesn’t look as bad as it did at the time.

    • 1974Gator says:

      Driskell gets in trouble throwing anywhere downfield. At 10-15 yds he consistently either forces the ball in, overthrows it, throws off target or puts too much velocity on it and hamstrings the receiver all of which he did most of the time yesterday. Don’t even think about asking him to hit a receiver 15 – 25 yds down field in stride or where there are no defenders. Also, it doesn’t help when he hits a wide open receiver in the hands and he drops it. Don’t forget TN gave up 260 passing yds and 35 pts to Georgia. We had 76 yds.
      Because Treon hasn’t been practicing long enough to feel comfortable running a wide variety of Roper’s offense I’m betting they will have him “don’t lose the game” mode next Saturday. Expect another nail biter.

  21. 1974Gator says:

    There may have been 3 teeth (besides our own fans) in Neyland yesterday. I thought I heard “Th_ _ k the Gators”

  22. scroud says:

    I am not yet ready to get on the Harris bandwagon and can’t agree with all the positive comments. I think the reason for the palpable difference in energy was because the team is like the rest of us and were excited to see a change. He showed his inexperience though on that awful sideline throw that should have been intercepted. Further, from the play calling it looks like Harris has about four plays that he has drilled on.
    I have been down on Driskel and fault him quite a bit but yesterday his receivers just weren’t supporting him at all. The loss of McGee is huge, and with all the drops no quarterback is going to look good.
    I think Driskel should start next week but they should bring in Harris too. I think if Harris starts, LSU will blitz like crazy and he will be exposed as a freshman with not enough practice to be ready.
    As bad as Driskel has been, I think the receivers have been worse and more focus needs to be on them. If they get open and hold on to the ball, Driskel’s play will improve.

  23. Ejlgator says:

    Anyone else wanna talk about the biggest freshman star yesterday? Not taking away from Treon’s swag but OGGOA Nation, Puuuuuleeeaaseeee. Jalen Tabor was an animal. He was a stud. He was blowing up blockers and dealing the edge on runs/screens, he was smothering receivers like baby blankets, and he, NOT TREON, made the play to win the game. That sack-strip made me wiggle with joy.

    Then we have Sir Cox Jr. Woooooo I loved watching that boy play. He’s showing flashes that he might have the motor his daddy had. He and Fowler, the Jr.-Jr. Combo is damn sexy. Loved it.

    Also, I can’t stand watching Maye play anymore. He just doesn’t have te conference yet to play that many downs. He showed he has the ability because he made the play that led to the final pick, if I remember correctly. But man does he get beat like a drum whenever the opposing team needs a third down conversion. Kentucky exposed him, Lane Kiffen embarrassed him, and Tennessee just followed script. I hope we can either phase him out or coach him up. Our defense is good but as long as teams can get an easy 40 yd completion by throwing to the Maye/Gorman incompetent duo we are gonna have problems.

    I understand everyone’s “passion” (not all but most) with respect to the Champ/Driskel combo but some of y’all only comment on the negative and how you want those two out. Can’t we celebrate a win when we get one. After last year’s skid I’m gonna do my naked laps around the house every time we win and ride that high til the next game comes.

    Go Gators!!!!!

  24. Kaleb Wolfe says:

    Hey I just want to show some love to Austin Hardin the guy finally hit what was basically a 50 yard field goal on the road in a really loud & hostile environment. Personally I had no faith in him & saw no shot in him making that kick but he did so I just figured he should get some credit as well cuz of course if he doesn’t make that kick…well we lose. So good job Austin I hope that kick gave you some much needed confidence for down the road but I’m still holding my breath until you convert some more kicks & thank you Gator Defense most players on a team would’ve simply given up after playing so tough despite watching how frustrating our damn offense was playing. Now I’m fully aware that this was just Tennessee but still they all showed huge heart & all really dug deep in a true “gut check” situation. Unfortunately I to live next door to a huge Tennessee born & bred Vols fan with a big drunk mouth. As far as classless goes well let’s just say he gives any bandwagon jumping “Criminole Fan” a run for his money so Thank u Gator D, Thank u Treon & thank you for the most part Kyle Christy & of course Thank u #16 Austin Hardin & oh yeah Thank u dear Lord !!! & Go Gators !!!

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