VOLS DROP 31-17 DECISION AT #19 FLORIDA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The
Vols couldn't overcome four first-half turnovers and dropped a 31-17
decision to 19th-ranked Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium before
90,074 on Saturday afternoon.
Tennessee (2-2) dropped its
second game in a row as it continues its gauntlet of a schedule.
Florida, coming off a bye week moved to 2-1 and rebounded after a loss
to in-state foe Miami, two weeks ago.
The Vols made a
change at quarterback, as redshirt freshman and native Floridian Nathan
Peterman drew his first career start and played nearly the entire first
half before he was replaced by junior Justin Worley in the final
Peterman was ineffective, completing 4-of-11 for
five yards with two interceptions. Worley came on to throw for 149
yards on 10-of-23 passing and a touchdown.
overcame three of its own first-half turnovers including an
interception returned for a touchdown by Tennessee and the loss of its
starting quarterback Jeff Driskel to extend its winning streak over the
Vols to nine games. Tennessee last beat Florida in 2004 and last won at
The Swamp in 2003.
Gator backup signal caller Tyler Murphy
threw for 134 yards on just 8-of-14 passing with a touchdown in his
most extensive playing time. The redshirt junior, who had never taken a
snap under center in his four seasons with the Gators, also added
84yards on the ground and a touchdown to head up the Gators' ground
attack. Mack Brown rushed for 86 yards and a score.
Patton had three catches for 73 yards and his first-career touchdown.
Quinton Dunbar hauled in four catches for 63 yards.
Florida racked up 382 yards of offense and controlled the clock with 39:37 time of possesion.
Vols were limited to 220 yards on offense by Florida, which came into
the game third in the nation in fewest yards per game allowed (208.5).
Neal (42) and Marlin Lane (16) combined for just 58 rushing yards.
Marquez North had four catches for 43 yards, including a career-long
32-yard reception. Pig Howard was the Vols leading receiver and had
four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
The teams combined for nine turnovers which resulted in 24 of the game's 48 points.
took advantage of the Vols' fourth first-half turnover as the Gators
took a 17-7 lead on a Mack Brown 3-yard rush with 37 seconds left in
the first half. Darious Cummings 30-yard interception return of a
Peterman pass set the Gators up on the Vols' 40-yard line.
Gators gained its first lead of the day at 10-7 on a 52-yard screen
pass from Murphy to Patton with 13:23 left in the first half.
walk-on Devaun Swafford gave the Vols a 7-0 lead on a 62-yard
interception return with 9:23 left in the first quarter. For Kingsport
native, the huge play came in his first game as the Vols' primary
nickelback. It was also Tennessee's first 'Pick 6' at The Swamp since
another true freshman -- Eric Berry -- had one back in 2007.
7-3, Tennessee held its first lead at the end of the first quarter
since 2001, when the Vols were up 14-0 on the way to a 34-32 victory on
After the Vols cut the lead to 17-10 on a Michael
Palardy 44-yard field goal early in the second half, Florida answered
back with a 79-yard drive covering 11 plays as Matt Jones rumbled in to
the end zone over left tackle. That put the Gators ahead 24-10 with
7:03 left in the third quarter.
Murphy finished off a 84-yard drive on a 7-yard rush up the middle to put Florida ahead 31-10 with 13:52 left in the fourth.
Vols continued to fight and cut the deficit to 31-17 on an 18-yard
connection between Worley and Howard with 10:20 on the clock.
After a Worley interception, the Vols defense held Florida to a 40-yard field goal attempt that went wide left.
came in after the field goal miss and hit Pig Howard for a 29-yard gain
followed by a 24-yard pass play to Jason Croom on the next play. But
the Vols could not find the endzone and turned the ball over on downs
with 2:29 remaining in the game.
Both teams were loose
with the football as they combined for nine turnovers (Tennessee with
six and Florida with three). The first half saw the teams combine for
seven turnovers as Tennessee lost the ball four times (two in
interceptions and two on fumbles). Florida fumbled the ball away twice
and was intercepted once -- resulting in the Vols' lone score of the