Florida’s 10 best wins of past 10 seasons: No. 9, Heave to Cleve

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Florida sophomore receiver Tyrie Cleveland catches a 63-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Feleipe Franks in the end zone on the game's last play Saturday to beat Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

The decade was a wild one, interesting to be sure with so many ups and downs and four different head coaches for the Florida football team. We started the countdown of the 10 best wins of the decade from 2010-19:

No. 9

2017: Florida 26, Tennessee 20.

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Rankings: Florida was No. 24, Tennessee No. 23.

The set-up: The year before, Tennessee had broken an 11-game win streak by Florida and hadn’t won in The Swamp since 2003. Florida was not in the best place after getting hammered by Michigan in the opener and having the second game of the season canceled by Hurricane Irma.

What happened: This game was almost like a sketch by Bill Hader’s “Stefon” on SNL. It had everything — Malik Davis fumbling away a TD at the goal line, three Tennessee missed field goals, John Kelly’s penalty for doing the chomp after a score, bad clock management by Florida. It was hardly a work of art. But the finish was spectacular with Feleipe Franks avoiding a rush with a scramble to his right and heaving the ball into the waiting arms of Tyrie Cleveland behind the defense as time expired to win the game and start one of the greatest dog piles ever. 

Telling stat: Cleveland had more catches against Tennessee in this game (five) than he had in any other game of his career. In four years, he had 11 catches for 215 yards against the Vols.

Quote sheet

“I think everybody found out that Feleipe can throw the ball a long ways in the air.” — Jim McElwain.

“It’s on me. We have to do a better job.” — Tennessee coach Butch Jones, who was fired less than two months later.

“I always dreamed about getting that game-winning touchdown.” — Tyrie Cleveland. 

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