GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It began with arguably Tennessee‘s finest offensive drive of the season, however not a lot else went proper for the Vols on Saturday night time.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium remained a home of horrors for No. 11 Tennessee. A 5-point underdog at residence, Florida rushed for greater than 175 yards and jumped out to a giant lead on its option to a 29-16 upset.
The loss prolonged The Vols’ highway shedding streak to the Gators to 10 video games.
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Tennessee (2-1, 0-1 SEC) struggled to take care of its first quarter momentum, which was hindered by missed tackles, penalties and an abysmal efficiency from the offensive line.
Quarterback Joe Milton III completed 20-of-34 passing for 287 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Tennessee was held to 106 yards on the bottom.
Florida (2-1, 1-0) quarterback Graham Mertz was 19-of-24 for 166 yards and a rating and operating again Trevor Eitenne ran for 172 yards and a landing.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Florida moved the ball on its opening drive, changing on third down thrice and reaching the Tennessee 23-yard line however two tackles for loss from Aaron Beasley and Gabe Jeudy-Lally pressured the Gators to try a 46-yard area aim that fell quick and left them empty-handed.
Tennessee put collectively a textbook drive. The Vols went 71 yards in two minutes, together with a 41-yard cross from Milton to Squirrel White. Ramel Keyton hauled in an 11-yard toss from Milton in the long run zone on the subsequent play to offer Tennessee a 7-0 lead.
Florida answered with a fast drive of its personal. On first down, Trevor Eitenne busted by way of the Vols’ protection for a 62-yard landing run however the ensuing further level was blocked to maintain Tennessee in entrance, 7-6.
After Tennessee’s second drive stalled out, Florida put collectively an extended, methodical drive that ate up 14 minutes of clock. It was capped by a Montrell Johnson Jr. run to place the Gators forward, 12-7 however the two-point attempt failed.
Florida added to its lead off of Milton’s first Tennessee profession interception. The return set the Gators up with a brief area inside the ten and Mertz scored on a keeper up the center to make it 19-7.
Mertz averted a sack and located Johnson for his second landing, an 18-yard catch and run to swell Florida’s result in 26-7 simply earlier than halftime.
Tennessee drove so far as far because the Gators’ 25 on its first drive of the third quarter however settled for a Charles Campbell 42-yard area aim to chop its deficit to 26-10. Florida’s offense stalled for a lot of the quarter, however the Vols didn’t convert on fourth down twice.
Florida continued to empty the clock, placing collectively five-plus minute drive inside the ten and a Trey Smack area aim prolonged its benefit to 29-10 with lower than 10 minutes left.
Milton supplied some late momentum with a 55-yard landing cross to Bru McCoy that pulled Tennessee inside 29-16 however Milton was run out of bounds on the two-point try.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Tennessee’s opening trek down area was the closest the resemblance to final season’s offense so far in 2023.
White ran open down the sideline for a primary down and Milton linked up with Keyton for the second time in as many weeks for the go-ahead landing for what seemed like an early assertion, however the Vols struggled to duplicate that success the remainder of the best way.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Omarr Norman-Lott made an influence on particular groups, blocking Florida’s area aim on its first drive and flattening an additional level preserved Tennessee’s lead briefly.
Two Tennessee extensive receivers scored in Keyton and McCoy. It was the primary landing of the season for McCoy and helped the Vols reduce into Florida’s lead late. Dont’e Thornton Jr. made essentially the most of his targets within the second half. He completed with three catches for 53 yards.
Campbell was 3-of-3 kicking in Tennessee’s 30-13 win vs. Austin Peay final week and continued to point out consistency together with his 42-yard first half boot in a troublesome highway setting.
Tennessee returns to Neyland Stadium for its third non-conference recreation towards UTSA.
The Roadrunners received 11 video games final season however are off to a 1-2 begin, falling to Military in its final outing.
Kickoff is ready for 4 p.m. ET on SEC Community.