There are a lot of things to figure out after this one. After the first few weeks, I think all of us expected went into this game with a bit lower expectations, or a more realistic POV of where this team is at. But as the week went on, it seemed like maybe there was a little hope for our Vols and maybe they could figure some things out and hang in there with the Gators. That hope quickly left the stadium.
Florida didn’t have any issues on the first drive. We may have stopped a couple runs, but they made up for it through the air. The Gators capped off the 5-play drive with a 19-yard TD pass from Kyle Trask to Kyle Pitts to go up 7-0. Tennessee didn’t respond with much, with the only bright spot of the drive being a 27-yard pass to Jauan Jennings to get the first down. The Vols ended up punting just a few plays later. On the next UF drive, UT’s defense was able to force a fumble and recover! After further review, the call was overturned due to the first Vol to touch the ball stepped out of bounds first and did not ever reestablish himself on the playing field. It seemed Florida picked up right where they left off with a 21-yard strike down the field. Henry To’o To’o made sure there was no question on who gained possession on the next play as the Gators fumbled again, giving Tennessee the ball inside the Florida 20. It seemed that the momentum was shifting a bit as the Vols started to put some things together inching toward the endzone. After a tipped pass in the endzone, Florida intercepts the ball for a touchback.
The defense came up with a turnover on downs, only for Jarrett Guarantano to throw a very questionable interception to say the least. For those that didn’t get to watch the game, it almost seemed like Guarantano was throwing straight at UF’s Marco Wilson as it hit him between the numbers and there was no white jerseys near him. Tennessee took the bend-don’t-break attitude only allowing a field goal to extend the Gator lead to 10-0. Neither team could do much on the next couple of drives until Florida set themselves up to punch it in from 1 yard as time expired in the half giving Florida a 17-0 lead going into the half.
I think we all knew that a QB change was needed for the Vols, I’m not sure anyone was expecting to see Brian Maurer to take the reigns coming out to the half. Seemed we were going with the young guys as Maurer and Eric Gray started to put together a nice drive, it wasn’t perfect, but it drove down the field no doubt. While the offense wasn’t able to punch the ball in, this drive put the Vols in position to get their first and only points of the game, setting up Brent Cimaglia up for a 40-yard boot through the uprights to put the score at 17-3. Florida answered with a quick 2-minute drive, similar to their opening drive of the game. Kyle Trask found Freddie Swain for a 29-yard TD extending the Gator lead to 24-3 in the 3rd quarter. After 2 incompletes from Maurer, Florida came up with their 3rd interception on the day at the Tennessee 31 yard line. The Tennessee defense said no, and after holding the Gators to -3 yards on the drive, intercepted the ball back. Tennessee wasn’t able to do much with it and had to punt away. It really didn’t seem like anyone wanted the ball as there was another interception caught by Tennessee and then the Vols turned around and fumbled it right back. Florida was able to find the endzone one more time as Dameon Pierce ran one in from 10-yards out extending the lead to 31-3. After another Tennessee punt, Florida put together another drive good enough to get them in field goal position and put 3 more points on the board to give Florida the win at 34-4.
It’s hard to be optimistic at this point. But there are 8 more game this season that we need to focus on. We have to focus on it one week at a time and try to figure to salvage what we can from the rest of the season. Some positives from the game, we have some young guys that are getting experience and looking pretty good. If we can keep some of these highly touted recruits onboard for next year, I think we can start to really build this thing back up. But now we have a bye week, hopefully that will give us plenty of time to get this thing sorted out. Go Vols!
J. Guarantano: 10/17, 107 yards, 2 INT, 9.9 QBR
T. Chandler: 10 rush, 34 yards
J. Jennings: 7 rec., 73 yards
K. Trask: 20/28, 293 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 70.8 QBR
L. Perine: 14 rush, 62 yards, 1 TD
F. Swain: 3 rec., 67 yards, 1 TD
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