FINAL: Florida 47, Tennessee 21

Florida tight end R.J. Raymond catches a pass for a touchdown in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Live results from Florida’s SEC football game against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

First quarter

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.


Florida          14

Tennessee    0

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

Third quarter

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

Fourth quarter

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


  1. Looks like Mullen is using the 3 keys from Urban Meyer: 1) Play great defense, 2) win the kicking game, and 3) don’t turn the ball over. So far, only one turnover for Florida and super defense and kicking game. With no offense to work with, these are the keys for victory, and it’s working!

  2. Gators are playing with great effort. David Reese is making a huge difference. Unbelievable hustle play (Chauncey?) to keep Vols out of end zone. CeCe is back! Tackling is crisp. Offense has capitalized in the red zone. Mullen has the Gators ready to play. Pruitt looks like a rookie coach with desperation calls.

    • Hard to tell how good the Gates are playing because Tennessee is playing SOOOOO
      BAD. Thought Charleston Southern played better, or at least played with better effort. Kentucky is for real, and the only opponent UF has played so far by which UF’s progress can be judged. Still nice to see UF winning the games they should.

      • Is this going to be the negative spin every time they dominate a team? It can’t just be they’re playing great and forcing the bad play? It’s gotta be the other team is playing bad? Come on man they’re playing great.

        • Look, if the ref’s hadnt stolen that FG then we wouldnt have gone for 2 after the TD and we would have only been down 1 point. We also wouldnt have been calling all those desperation plays in the 4th qtr. good chance we would have won. In addition we had a TD when the ref’s blew the whistle after the play had started , which lead to the sack and then the FG So that was a 7 point swing because of the ref’s. We score there and the game would have been totally different! The ref’s completely changed the momentum of the game!

        • I agree David and Daz. I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn’t think the Kentucky game was total disaster. It was a close game, and they are probably the best Kentucky team fielded in decades. Yes, we have issues on the lines and a lot of other things to work on, but I’m seeing improvement.

  3. WOW vegas is losing big on this one, they will lose on the line, spread and points! Ky is ahead 14-7 over MSSTin the 3rd. I said MsSt hadnt been tested yet. Im calling it now, Gators over MsSt next week. Wow our defense really has showed up. looks like a different defense on the field. Everything going our way and nothing for TN!

  4. Haha, where’s Robbie at?? 20-9 ut huh? You were right it is a long night in Knoxville…for the morons in those highlighter jersies. I value Robbies picks like Lee corso’s. Both are clueless but it’s easy money if you bet against whatever they predict! GO Gators!

      • Not so fast!!! Kentucky played them at home and beat us on the road. There is a big difference. I wouldn’t read too much into scores and our Florida team better not read too much into scores either! Also, we barely outgained Tennessee on offense if at all. That team basically self-destructed. Granted we were efficient, but the offense always had great field position.

        On the other end, that Kentucky team is likely way better at home than the Kentucky team that beat us thanks to the confidence boost they get from ending a 31 year streak. But hopefully our team is also a better team now. Thanks to how crappy this Tennessee team played, we really don’t know how much better.

        The Mississippi state sorta becomes a trap game now for Florida, because will be way better the week after the loss to Kentucky. In fact, I don’t think it’s going to be a easy game at all and while I am hoping we win at Mississipi State, I think the odds are kinda now stacked.. on top of the boost they’ll get from the home crow support, they will be very motivated to beat Mullen. Finally, they have to be pressed to show to everyone that the Kentucky game was a fluke.

        That said, we do have a chance to go in there and steal a win if we get off to a good start to take the crowd out of it. Go Gators!!

  5. 40 points 2 weeks in a row…..check… Turnovers… check… special teams…check…..good receivers….check

    I’m happy. Ok we aren’t straight a’s but things are such that it’s believable that the program can return to the level the fans expect under cdm.

    • Agree that they are getting better but 40 points against crappy Colorado State and Tennessee teams are not numbers that mean much at this point. And as usual, success in this program by some fans is judged by scoring points; it shouldn’t be!

      In this game, most of the points came after turnovers. We need to also pay attentions to other statistics not just points. Nonetheless, it’s good to see the special team play so far and seeing that our offensive line and defensive line has been steady the past couple of weeks. However, Frank is still not seeing the field well and this offense will not be able to score much on LSU and Georgia in its current state. We’ll have to wait at least for the LSU and Georgia games to know whether the team is really meeting Mullen’s challenge and improving. If we are, we should be somewhat competitive in those 2 games.

      Also, I do hope as fans that we can fill an important check mark which will be take some of the pressure away from these kids so they can develop. As Gator fans, let’s enjoy all the wins the same (whether they’re by 1 points or 20 points) and not be ready to kick the team to the curb when they lose. Go Gators!!

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to pick on your post mveal2006. You do bring up a lot of other statistics that are important like Special teams. I think the Special team play is key to this team being able to navigate through the rest of the schedule and get some decent results. I just hope that we don’t grow impatient and don’t give Mullen a chance to bring us back to prominence. I think we should be patient. It could happen within 2 years but my guess is that it could also take 4 years.. the time it takes Mullen to recruit his players. Yes, Mullen can win with players he did not recruit as he and Urban did with the 2006 teams, but there is a serious culture issue that McElwain left behind and this shows in how fragile these players are when dealing with adversity in games. It may take time to clean that up and instill the toughness of the 1990s and 2000s teams. Nevertheless, I am very much hoping these players have a fast speed learning curve so they can prove me wrong!! 😉 But as long as they improve throughout this season and always show effort, I will be content. Go Gators!!

    • Exactly my thought!! That one pass he threw as so accurate and on time. Frank was not terrible by any mean but he doesn’t seem to throw on time consistently… Yes, we are going to need Trask at some point. Go Gators!!

  6. To the Gator Nation, CAN YOU DIG IT? I KNEW THAT YOU COULD! Way to go Gators! Representing Orange and Blue style! To PAT AND ROBBIE, and CHRIS DOERING for picking AGAINST U.F. HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!!!!
    Aren’t you fellas in the media supposed to have a FEEL for the team you report on!?!?!? LOL!!!!
    We forgive you! Get on board now! CHOMP-CHOMP!

    • no we dont… they want UF to crash and burn as they still want us all to feel like morons for not listening to them and running the muskrat out of town lol… Also no one in the press really stopped and considered Kentucky is a division one team to with a good coach and athletes on both sides of the ball, who always had a good chance to beat us the last two years, especially missing our anchor on D David Reese.

      • It is so weird that after all the years of fawning over broken losers like Captain Yellow Teeth they now clearly hate Mullen and want him to fail. Oh, well. I am offering right now to send a free dozen lemon donuts to the Gainesville Sun every week if Robbie and Pat will promise to always pick against the Gators!!!!!

  7. That was a good win and great to see Mullen and this team make positive history with the most points by us ever at Rocky Flop Stadium. i liked the effort and saw a lot of improvement and all on the road in front of a huge, hostile crowd (at first).

    Just keep keep growing and learning, Gators! Great job and way to finish!!!!!

  8. SMH! No one suffers a win like FL fans. This team is by no means giant slayers but they are winning and are at times fun to watch. That’s not something I’ve been able to say for years. There are serious deficiencies but the coaches are playing around them. Once those are gone in a few years, the bandwagon will be full again. Get on early before its cool. Try it. You just might like it. GO GATORS!!!

  9. Why do I not feel overjoyed by this big win? Probably because Franks just cannot produce any consistency at all moving the ball in this offense, and he still stares down his primary receiver and ignores wide open secondary receivers. But that was a great throw to Cleveland (and a pass that Cleveland finally did not drop). And he had one nice throw down the middle early in the game. But other than that, I do not recall any great reads and throws from Franks. But I do remember a lot of three and outs. On defense, the return of Reese and his impact on this defense was very noticeable. And not many missed tackles, thank God. Maybe I will feel more enthusiasm in the morning. And heck, Kentucky is a lot better than everyone thought they were or gave them credit for. And maybe the Gators are not as bad as everyone thought and did not give them any credit for after losing to Kentucky (less badly than Mississippi State did). But MSU’s loss takes some of the luster off the game next week and propels Kentucky into the national spotlight. And I think Kentucky is going to be a load for Georgia, too. Wow. I am feeling more enthusiasm for this win already.

    • Tennessee is not much of a test, but the front seven were aggressive and downright nasty. So many plays run for no gain or a loss. That part of the night made me smile the widest. Even most of the bad plays in the secondary were a result of too much aggression rather than leaving guys open. Gratifying.

    • How about just enjoy the win and not focus on the negatives? This is a far better result than anyone expected. Let’s remember, football is a team sport and a TD is a TD no matter how you get it. If we have to score a lot of points from great defense and special teams, then so be it. I don’t care if Franks throws for 300 yards and 5 TDs every game. What I do care about about is beating a rival 47-21 in front of 100,000 hostile fans in a game pretty much everyone picked them to win. A win’s a win no matter how you ge there. Just enjoy it.

    • Pooky. I beg to differ. But I will evaluate the replay on Sunday and see. But I remember Franks holding the ball in the pocket way too long many times and staring down one receiver over and over again. I again saw other receivers running open and Franks never checked down to them. But, again, it did not make any big mistakes tonight, but he did not drive this offense with any consistency or authority. I watch other top NCAA QBs and Franks does not exhibit many similar characteristics. But, like I said, the pass to Cleveland was one of the best touch passes I have ever seen Franks make. I sure hope I see more of that and more check downs and completions to secondary receivers next week. The Gators will need that to beat MSU in Starkville.

    • Sorry Pooky, but I’m with Tampa on this regarding Franks. When his first option is covered is when he starts to drift out of the pocket, and he is not a good passer when he is on the move. He needs to stay in there and go through his progressions, and it appears to me that he still doesn’t do it. Did you see the stat that they posted on screen how the gators so far this season where the Gators had not converted single 3rd down longer than 12 yards. I think they were 0 for 10. Not a good stat for your QB. I’d like to see him pass more on 1st down, but his completion % is so low we are looking at 2nd and 10 almost every time they do. Not advocating for a change, just saying that they will need get him on track if they want to sustain drives.

    • I think Tampa Gator and Dan F have it completely wrong about Franks. He’s certainly not playing like a world beater, but as CDM has mentioned in pressers, Franks is making strides. He at least has learned to throw the ball out of bounds rather than taking a drive killing sack. Franks is definitely progressing and I’m willing to defer to CDM on Franks

      • Stephen, I did not say he wasn’t progressing. However, he played in nearly every game last season and has started the first 4 this season, so progress should be expected as a baseline. The point is he continues to make many of the same mistakes each game. It must be that every receiver is unable to get separation in their route, because it seems on TV that he continues to throw low percentage passes to receivers that are tightly and even double covered. There HAS to be an open receiver or 2 roaming around out there. This will be his undoing against defenses such as LSU and Georgia. I am all for keeping in there, but at some point CDM will need to require more from him.

  10. How long has it been since everything seemed to go right…on the road? I’m let out so many happy sighs of relief that I’m just about ready to collapse. Now…if we can block a bit better, put glasses on Franks so he can see the open receivers, and have our DBs take an occasional peek for the ball before initiating the tackle, we might not have to wait until next year for something special. Great win. Any time you deflate the hopes of 100,000 creamsicle-adorned hillbillies, a celebration is deserved.

    • A lot of tears tonight as the Volies ate the dead possums they scraped off the highway and deep fried for the game. Looks like Fat Phil still can’t beat the Gators. I am sure he is at Krispy Kreme right now shoving donuts into his bloated face. I think even Smokey left after the second quarter and was seen smoking weed next to a dumpster after the game whimpering and crying.

  11. Wouldn’t it be crazy if Tennessee beats Georgia next week on the road???

    I have this crazy hunch that the game in Athens will be a lot tighter than anyone envisioned. I am not betting person, but I think the Vols beat them.

    But then, Georgia might just go on a tear after the loss and not lose another game until the SEC championship game. But, I’d love to see them lose. 😉

  12. A solid win but Vols are a poor team and self-destructed… and yet again Franks did not impress. Trask is worth a shot. This Gators team is ok and has a chance to win 8, maybe 9 games but not with Franks under center. I see a good possibility of beating MSU, playing LSU and South Carolina down to the wire, (good opportunities for wins with exception of UGA). But QB play must improve and I don’t see that happening with Franks. Mullen must see this.

  13. Gators played with great effort especially the defense. Franks is doing just enough to keep his job. His pass completion % is horrible but he is making his completions count. How many red zone drives stalled and ended up as field goals last year as compared to touchdowns this year. Franks isn’t making the big mistake. Isn’t it 11 TDs to 2 INTs. Not too pretty but effective. This team is opportunistic.

  14. Trask looked sharp as a razor. Was hoping they’d give him a throw, and even coming in cold off the bench, anyone can see what this guy brings. Franks is still same ole. Improving somewhat, but only within his inherent limitations. Sure wish Mullen would loosen up on this. Give the guy a damn quarter…please. Franks feelings can handle it.

  15. Excellent win last night. The turnovers were earned by an aggressive D that got in their QB’s head after the Gators battered the poor guy to pieces. TN not a mature team and couldn’t handle the Gator pressure, and we dominated them all night. Nice to see aggressiveness and drive to win after years of lazy, loser-mentality football directed by head coaches that weren’t qualified for the job.

  16. I wish Mullen would give Trask a try. After seeing Franks direct multiple 3-and-outs by not seeing any open man and continually throwing into double and triple coverage… more practice isn’t going to make Franks a great QB. The Gators can be a good team with Franks but he will always be a liability and prevent us from driving the field when we need to against a tough opponent. Put the time in with Trask instead of opting for a guy with a ceiling of “OK”. Great win tonight in Neyland. We’ve got a good shot to make a bowl this year.

  17. Trask needs to come in and get some playing time! That way it will prove whether the coaches watching him practice since PeeWee league that have never given him a start, or the fans that have never seen him play a meaningful snap but are sure he can be great, are right. My money is on the guy UF is paying over 6 mil a year to be making that decision.
    Go Gators!!

  18. Sparky, don’t you think that guys ever develop later in their playing career, or happen to previously played play under a great 1st stringer and never get their chance (i.e. in High School)? Look at Michael Jordan, what is it, he didn’t even make his High School team his first couple tries. Even Mullen and Mac all said this guy was very close with Franks in their competition for starting role, and is the better passer. And we’ve all seen glimpses of what he brings. I just think Mullen was swayed by the monster arm strength and athleticism, and is reluctant to second guess his decision. I just hope he doesn’t stop giving Trask any snaps again, in fear of Trask showing up his chosen starter (Franks).

  19. A win is a win is a win. Improvement comes in finding ways to win even when we don’t play our best. Even in the Kentucky game, which looks like a pretty good team, we kicked a field goal that should have counted and went on a 99 yard drive. That could have tied the game . So we are not giving up and packing it in. And if improvement this year means still inconsistent offense with stalled drives due to a blind QB, but big explosive plays we haven’t seen in the past, I will take it on that side of the ball. Special teams has been great. Defense looks like a more big play kind of D. We are young in the secondary but if we make up for chunks of yards against us with big defensive plays, I will take that too for now. We have a bigger challenge this next weekend . We will see how the team responds.But haven’t already played the same Ky team that beat MSU and playing our second straight game away should help our chances.