First half: There was the good Feleipe Franks and the bad Feleipe Franks, but the short fields certainly helped him. He finished the half with 106 passing yards, 65 of them on one catch-and-run by Freddie Swain. Swain continues to show playmaking abilities.
Second half: The offense was really struggling after Jordan Scarlett’s most physical run of the season to start the half. But Florida went for the jugular with the deep ball and Tyrie Cleveland made one of those tough catches we haven’t seen in a while.
For the game: It’s still a mixed bag with this offense. Florida managed only 314 yards and had only 12 first downs before Dameon Pierce broke off his weekly long TD run. The Gators were able to take advantage of short fields on turnovers to score 40 points.
First half: The performance of Adam Shuler at defensive tackle and the return of David Reese II at linebacker were the stories of the first half. It felt like Shuler’s name was being called on every tackle and Reese obviously makes a difference.
Second half: The defense struggled a little bit with the big lead and allowed a pair of Tennessee touchdown drives in the second half. There were way too many penalties on the secondary and missed coverages
For the game: Any time you come up with five turnovers (plus one from special teams), the grade isn’t going to slip below an A-. The defense came up with the big plays early that established Florida’s momentum from the start.
Special teams A
First half: Evan McPherson continued to kick well both on kickoffs and made his only field goal. It was a really good half for punter Tommy Townsend, who was part of the Tennessee 2015 signing class before transferring to Florida. He pinned UT twice and also had a 53-yard punt.
Second half: Townsend continued his good punting and McPherson did well on kickoffs. Florida covered kickoffs well. But let’s face it. Forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff and recovering it established that there would be no Tennessee comeback.
For the game: A win for the special teams no doubt despite not having a big blocked kick or a big return. Florida’s young kickers went on the road and performed admirably.
Look, the Vols are worse than everyone thought. Some dummies even picked Tennessee to win. But this was a dose of confidence for a team that needed it. The offense is still a work in progress and the defense had some issues at times, but any time you win in Knoxville by 26 it’s a good night.