Andreu’s Analysis: Gators on upset alert

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Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano (2) watches the Jumbotron in the second half last Saturday against Chattanooga in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 45-0. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

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?

 Answer: Absolutely.

 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.

8 COMMENTS

  1. In comms with Gator65, this is his concern as well as mine. I don’t see UT’s path to an upset quite as “easy” as contended by this article, but the main points are valid if the Gators don’t play on both sides with maximum sustained (relentless) effort. That is, a palpable sense of urgency, which I do believe we’ll get from Trask but as a different article leading up to the game points out — “the players around him” need to do the same.

    Georgia State and BYU are past history, and anybody who doesn’t believe that Tennessee will be hyper-motivated doesn’t understand Tennessee. They see this as a turn-around contest, and that counts for everyone from the head coach to the waterboy. This is the SEC, and rankings can fly out the window in a heartbeat. Over-confidence is your worst enemy.

  2. I can’t see UT pulling the upset without serious help from the Gators. I know the UT brand is better than the UK football brand, but this UT team isn’t as good as UK ‘s team. If the Cats couldn’t do it in Lexington, I can’t see the Vols doing it, or even coming within Robbie’s 4 point spread, in The Swamp.

    The reporters that cover UT, who were guests on Dooley’s podcast and Steve Russell’s radio show, both said UT’s lines were a team weakness. I think the Gator OL will show some improvement, and the DL will return to its dominant pass rush. Interesting that Shane Matthews thinks Trask’s decisiveness and quicker release automatically makes the OL better by keeping them from having to hold their blocks as long. Give me UF 31-17.

  3. I thnk Robbie underestimates the Gators – while we have several key injuries on both sides of the ball, we still have several playmakers who can and will make the difference in this game. Expect the Gators to be firing on all cylinders – Trask will make several big plays and our defense will snuff out Tennessee’s offense. SAY ITS GREAT, TO BE, A FLORIDA GATOR!!!

  4. I haven’t sat down to analyze every aspect of Tennessee but I am sure the UF coaches have. Yes there are a few injuries but this is where our back-ups have a chance to show why they are on scholarship. It is good to get them experience in a big game like this one. I think UF’s line will be motivated after seeing what happened to Franks last week. They can prevent that from happening again. It is time to get aggressive and ferocious on both lines. The SEC schedule is here and slip even once and there is no championship game at the end of the regular season. UF and Tennessee also have not had a very friendly history since 1990 so there should be plenty of motivation for the team. What team wants to be talked about every Sunday as being lucky to win? I think they would rather be talked about by being dominant and imposing their will. The only thing that can stop Florida is Florida. Gators 34-20!