GAINESVILLE — Right call, bad rule.
That was Florida coach Will Muschamp's assessment of the ejection of Gators CB Brian Poole with 13:41 remaining in Saturday's 31-17 win over Tennessee. Poole is the Gators' first casualty of the NCAA's new targeting rule. He was penalized, and per rule, ejected from the game after he hit Volunteers TE Brendan Downs over the shoulder pads while in a defenseless position.
"I don't have any problem with the call. I've got a problem with the rule," Muschamp said. "Brian Poole was not trying to flagrantly hurt anyone. It's a bang-bang play. He's trying to go up, the ball's high, he's going in high. It's a bang-bang play. I thought it was the correct call. It was the right call."
Teammate Dominique Easley concurred.
"I didn't like it," the defensive lineman said. "It's football. He didn't mean it. But he (the official) had to do what he had to do."
INJURY UPDATE: Florida began the game without two starters and a key reserve, and ended with arguably the biggest loss of the season: QB Jeff Driskel.
OL Tyler Moore (ankle), CB Marcus Roberson and RB Valdez Showers did not play. Moore, a Countryside High grad, injured his ankle in the Miami game and is expected to return for next week's game at Kentucky. Showers injured his ankle in practice Wednesday. Moore and Roberson were game-time decisions.
Driskel is out for the season with a lower leg injury that will require surgery, and CB Louchiez Purifoy suffered a thigh bruise on the first kickoff return of the second half. He is expected to return next week. RG Jon Halapio, who returned for the first time after a torn chest muscle, was struck in the left eye and missed part of the game. He returned with a patch.
TRIPPED OR FELL? Earlier in the week, Florida DT Darious "Bear" Cummings tweeted that his dream was to have CBS play-by-play man Verne Lundquist say his name on national TV. He made certain he was recognized Saturday. Cummings intercepted a pass by Tennessee QB Nathan Peterman and returned it 30 yards to help set up a touchdown. Turns out, his own teammate may have been his downfall. As Cummings stumbled downfield, Easley appeared to step on his right foot and trip him.
Easley saw it differently. "I was trying to slow up and block the cornerback but he (Cummings) was too slow," he said.
Cummings, a 6-foot-1, 305-pound East Mississippi Community College transfer, said his teammates told him a different story.
"I was about to make a cut back to the middle of the field but some people say I tripped, some people say Ease tripped me, so we'll leave that for whoever," Cummings said. "He said he tripped me, but once we got on the sidelines and everybody started messing with him, he said I ran out of gas."
THE STREAK CONTINUES: With the victory Saturday, Florida extended its win streak over Tennessee to nine consecutive games. The Vols' last win was a 30-28 victory on Sept. 18, 2004, in Knoxville, Tenn.