Florida at Tennessee: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The Florida Gators proved that defense can win in the SEC, especially on the road. And Will Muschamp finally made the decision to being in Treon Harris at quarterback as Gator Nation saw Florida extend its domination over the Tennessee Volunteers to 10 games in a 10-9 win in Knoxville.
For everything that Volunteers quarterback Justin Worley did right in the loss to Georgia, he failed to accomplish in the loss at home. Florida’s defense had something to do with that as it forced the Volunteers, a team that has now lost to Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida in consecutive weeks, not to be able to run on the Gators all afternoon.
Florida (3-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) rallied behind freshman quarterback Treon Harris, who led both of the Gators' scoring drives after replacing an ineffective Jeff Driskel. Matt Jones rushed for 114 yards and had a 32-yard run to set up Hardin's first successful field-goal attempt of the season, which gave Florida its 10th straight victory over Tennessee (2-3, 0-2).
Here is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of this game.
THE GOOD: A WIN AND SOME CLARITY
The win was not as important to the career of Will Muschamp as what happens with a loss in this game. I thought the offense would show some improvement, but the game became a huge defensive battle. Both offenses were sluggish and both starting quarterbacks seemed afraid of making a play or two.
The Gators' inept offensive got a boost when Will Muschamp finally did his job and played Treon Harris, which not only excited the Gator Nation, it injected life into the roster. The offense and defense came to life in the second half. Sometimes a new starter or new play will do this.
Muschamp was noncommittal about who would start at quarterback next week, but the smart money is on the freshman Harris.
THE BAD: WHERE WAS THE OFFENSE?
Tennessee led 9-0 when Jalen Tabor started Florida's comeback by sacking Worley, knocking the ball loose and recovering the fumble at Tennessee's 30. That turnover led to Jones' 2-yard touchdown run with 13:40 left.
The Vols took the early lead by shutting down Driskel, who was 11 of 23 for 59 yards with three interceptions. Worley was 26 of 39 for 205 yards for Tennessee, but he also threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked six times.
Florida's comeback stunned a young Tennessee team that had reason to believe it finally would end its history of frustration in this series, this according to the Associated Press and ESPN.com.
THE UGLY: THE DROUGHT CONTINUES
Somehow, I still have this image of Steve Spurrier kicking Phil Fulmer in the backside.
This is the 10th straight loss for Tennessee against Florida, 1st single-digit loss since 2006, when it also lost by 1-point.
For the 7th time in 16 games dating back to the start of last season, Florida was held without a touchdown in the 1st half. The Gators are 1-5 in those games.
Before today, Florida had outscored Tennessee by 138 points and owns a plus-14 advantage in turnover margin. The closest game during the streak was a 21-20 win in 2006, but the Gators came back the next year and won 59-20, their largest victory during the streak.