Live results from Florida’s SEC football game against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
Florida’s first drive stalled out despite a 12-yard run by Jordan Scarlett on the first play of the game. UF quarterback Feleipe Franks hit tight end Moral Stephens for another first down on the next play, but the drive soon stalled out and the Gators punted.
Tennessee took over on the 9-yard line and drove to midfield before UF linebacker David Reese intercepted Volunteers quarterback Jarrett Guarantano after defensive end CeCe Jefferson tackled the redshirt sophomore signal caller from behind. Franks would get the Gators on the scoreboard first with 6:50 left to play in the first quarter with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end R.J. Raymond.
Florida’s defense once again came up huge on the next drive, and this time it was Luke Ancrum making the biggest play of his UF career. The defensive end Ancrum intercepted Guarantano on the 7-yard line, and Franks recorded his first career rushing touchdown two plays later to give Florida an early 14-0 lead just 10 minutes into the game. The teams traded possessions after a stop and an ensuing Florida fumble, and Tennessee has some momentum on offense to begin the second quarter.
What went right: Almost everything on defense, especially from Florida’s front seven. Tennessee’s first two drives resulted in interceptions for the Gators, with linebacker David Reese, who returned from a high ankle sprain Saturday, setting up R.J. Raymond’s opening score. Luke Ancrum Jr. recorded his first collegiate interception on the next series, and quarterback Feleipe Franks made it 14-0 two plays later. Florida’s defense had sought a performance like this, and it came early against a big SEC East rival.
What went wrong: On the first play of Florida’s first drive, Gators junior running back Lamical Perine fumbled after the Gators defense came up with a stop against a driving Tennessee offense. With a chance to possibly take an early 21-0 lead, the Gators coughed up a potentially critical opportunity. Tennessee starts the second quarter inside Florida’s 30-yard line.
Play of the Quarter: Can it be a tie between either of the interceptions? Reese’s interception put the Gators on the board early, but Ancrum’s gave Florida all of the momentum. Either way, Florida’s front seven deserve the game ball in the first quarter.
Trending: Florida had silenced the crowd less than 10 minutes into the game, and Tennessee’s offense has yet to display anything to give the fans hope. The Gators look poised to claim their first road victory, although Tennessee’s offense is driving inside UF territory to begin the second quarter.
Tennessee’s drive stalled out thanks to a stand by defensive lineman Adam Shuler and Reese, and the Volunteers settled for a field goal. Tennessee looked to catch Florida off guard, calling for an aggressive onside kick that Perine recovered despite the presence of four Volunteers defenders. Florida took over just inside the 50-yard line but couldn’t get anything going, and Townsend once again pinned the Volunteers deep to begin their second drive of the quarter.
Florida’s defense once again made a huge play to get Florida on the scoreboard, with Jefferson and Shuler combining to tackle Tim Jordan in the end zone for a safety. And on the very next drive, Franks connected with wide receiver Freddie Swain on a 65-yard touchdown to continue Florida’s early beatdown.
Tennessee wasn’t going away, however, and appeared set to score on the next drive, but sophomore defensive back made a diving tackle on the 1-yard line to cause a fumble through the end zone and give Florida the ball back while keeping the 20-point lead intact.
A wayward snap gave Florida the ball back with under four minutes to play until halftime, and freshman kicker Evan McPherson added a field goal to give Florida a 26-3 lead, causing Volunteers fans to boo as the team ran into the tunnel at halftime.
What went right: Florida’s defense continued to make plays, with a fumble recovery near halftime and a forced fumble for a touchback that kept the Volunteers from recording their first touchdown of the half. Florida’s special teams continued to play well, especially Townsend, whose punt placement remains his best weapon. Franks has done what the offense has asked for him and it’s resulted in passing touchdowns and , and the Gators skill position players have done their part as well to give UF a at halftime
What went wrong: Not much, and it’s as bad as the score reflects. Florida’s defense has smothered the Volunteers so far and the offense has had little trouble moving the ball with ease thanks to good field position.
Play of the Quarter: Freddie Swain’s 65-yard touchdown may not have eclipsed Antonio Callaway’s in terms of importance, but it put Florida firmly in the driver’s seat, letting both the offense and defense settle in in the process.
Trending: Tennessee hasn’t shown enough on offense to make a comeback seem feasible, and Florida is clicking in all aspects. In last four years, however, the winning team has comeback to win. The Gators will look to reverse that trend.
Florida 14 12
Tennessee 0 3
Florida’s dominance and Tennessee’s woes continued immediately after halftime as the Volunteers fumbled the opening kick-off for the team’s fifth turnover of the game. Fans headed for the exits after Jordan Scarlett’s ensuing 19-yard touchdown gave the Gators a 33-3 lead just past the midway point.
Tennessee made it 33-6 on a 41-yard field goal, and UF’s second possession resulted in Townsend’s fourth punt of the night. But safety Brad Stewart made a leaping interception, his second collegiate pick, for Florida’s sixth turnover of the night. Jeremy Pruitt added insult to injury with a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to give the Gators the ball at the 17-yard line.
Madre London would respond with a 43-yard run, the longest rush of the game so far, to put Tennessee deep in UF territory, and London would score from a yard out to give Tennessee its first touchdown of the night.
What went right: Florida picked up right where it left off, forcing a fumble on the second-half kickoff. Jordan Scarlett promptly scored from 19 yards out to give UF a 30-point lead, and Florida’s defense again came up with a critical turnover on the ensuing Vols possession, its 6th of the game, and it was Brad Stewart coming up with the interception in the end zone.
What went wrong: After a 3-for-3 start, Franks exited the third quarter 6-for-15. But that’s a nitpick; Franks as three touchdowns on the night, he hasn’t made any mistakes and the Gators are cruising.
Play of the Quarter: Florida’s two forced turnovers were more essential to the result to this point than Madre London’s 1-yard rushing touchdown, and I’ll give the nod to UF safety Brad Stewart considering the effort the New Orleans native put into his leaping grab.
Trending: Tennessee cut UF’s lead to 20 prior to the fourth quarter, but Florida’s defense and special teams have averaged two forced turnovers per quarter tonight to keep the Gators comfortably in front in the first road test of the season.
Florida 14 12 7
Tennessee 0 3 10
Franks immediately responded, hitting his first three passes, with the last going for 38 yards to Tyrie Cleveland, who made a leaping reception in the end zone to give Florida a commanding 40-13 lead. Tennessee would score, however, and add the two-point conversion, but Dameon Pierce’s 47-yard touchdown gave UF the most points at Neyland Stadium in the history of the rivalry.
What went right: The offense started the fourth quarter by putting the nail in the coffin, with Franks hitting Tyrie Cleveland for 38 yards to give the Gators a 40-13 lead. Everything went right for Florida tonight, and it’s safe to say this is a potential turning point in the Mullen era. Or Tennessee is worse than many expected. Only time will tell. And Florida’s defensive line dominated the entire night, and it was often overshadowed by the consistent highlight-reel plays throughout the night.
What went wrong: Not much. Tennessee made it 40-21 with five minutes to play, but Dameon Pierce’s 47-yard sprint nullified it.
Play of the Quarter: Cleveland’s reception to lead off the final period reminded many of Randy Moss, and drew similar reactions on social media. Volunteers fans have to be tired of the Franks-to-Cleveland duo crushing their hopes.The 47 points is the most Florida has ever scored at Neyland Stadium. Previously, Florida had scored 43 points in 1984.
Florida 14 12 7 14 — 47
Tennessee 0 3 10 8 — 21