Let’s start this off with a question: Is a team that lost to Georgia State capable of beating the No. 9 team in the nation?
There is a path to victory for Tennessee in The Swamp on Saturday, and the Vols will try to navigate it.
Here’s how Tennessee can beat the mighty Gators:
- Control the ball and the clock with a balanced offense, just like Kentucky did a week ago. The Wildcats held onto the ball for long stretches, keeping the UF offense on the bench.
- Try and rattle first-time starting quarterback Kyle Trask with some early blitzes. His confidence is high right now coming off last week’s game, but that can change with just a few negative plays — followed by some audible sighs from the crowd.
- Take advantage of a UF pass defense that will be missing two key components — cornerback CJ Henderson and end Jabari Zuniga. UT wide receivers Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway are going to get open, and QB Jarrett Guarantano needs to find them.
- Take care of the football. The Vols turned the ball over six times in last year’s game. If they have even half that many, forget about the upset.
- Make something big happen on special teams, where the Vols are strong.
- Play loose, play with confidence, force a turnover or two (or three).
If the Vols can somehow string all those elements together, they’ll get out of The Swamp alive, with a big upset victory. As the HBC would say, they’ve got a chance.
UF fans who are coming into this game expecting a nice, comfortable win are going to be disappointed. This game won’t be decided until some point in the fourth quarter. At least that’s my feel for it.
Prediction: Florida 28, Tennessee 24.