Gators rally for 37-20 victory over Tennessee
For the second straight week, No. 18 Florida put together a come-from-behind victory over an SEC opponent, earning a 37-20 win over No. 23 Tennessee.
Florida trailed most of the first half and the majority of the third quarter until a two-possession breakout in the third quarter, and a 75-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth, sealed the win in front of a stunned crowd of 104,255 at Neyland Stadium Saturday night.
With the victory last week and Saturday night, the Gators have now had consecutive come-from-behind wins for the first time since 1966.
“We have put a tremendous emphasis in winning the fourth quarter, winning the second half, and wearing down our opponent,’’ Florida coach Will Muschamp said.
Florida (3-0, 2-0 SEC) has won eight consecutive games over the Vols and is 3-0 for the eighth consecutive season. The victory was the first over a ranked opponent for Muschamp, and Florida’s first since the 2009 Sugar Bowl. It was the most points scored by the Gators in Knoxville since 1984 – a 43-30 victory.
“This is a different 3-0,’’ Muschamp said. “They (opponents) are better teams.’’
The Gators relied on four plays, 150 yards and two touchdowns to take - and keep- the lead.
“We have athletes all over the field,’’ said Florida QB Jeff Driskel, who was 14-of-20 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. “We know if we keep giving them the ball, eventually they are going to break.
With 9:55 left in the game, Driskel, on 3rd-and-7, connected on a 75-yard touchdown pass to senior Frankie Hammond: three plays, 78 yards in 1:32.
“We had a good game going until about late in the third (quarter),’’ Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. “We gave up some huge plays and never could get it going on offense. I give Florida a lot of credit. They did a really good job late in the third and early in fourth and we couldn’t recover. We were a little shell-shocked. Those were just enormous plays in the game.’’