Florida’s 10 best wins of past 10 seasons: No. 7, Gators break Vols’ hearts

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UF receiver Antonio Callaway. [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 continue the countdown of the 10 best wins of the decade from 2010-19:

No. 7

2015: Florida 28, Tennessee 27.

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

Rankings: Even though Florida was 3-0, neither team was ranked.

The set-up: The Gators were off to a solid start under new coach Jim McElwain and were coming off a 14-9 win at Kentucky. Tennessee had suffered a debilitating loss to Oklahoma in the second game of the season, blowing a double-digit lead and falling in overtime. 

What happened: Tennessee dominated for much of the game, taking a 20-7 lead and then getting a late touchdown to go up 27-14. Interestingly, Butch Jones chose not to go for two after the late touchdown with 10 minutes to play. Florida drove to a score on a 4-yard pass to Brandon Powell and stopped Josh Dobbs on a quarterback run to get the ball back. It all came down to fourth-and-14 play. Will Grier dropped back and found Antonio Callaway on a curl to get the first down, but Callaway turned to his left and went streaking down the sideline for a 63-yard touchdown as The Swamp went crazy with 1:26 to play. Tennessee drove the ball to within field goal range (despite some poor clock management) and kicker Aaron Medley missed a 55-yarder badly. But Florida had called time out because the Gators had too many on the field and Medley got another shot. This one missed to the right by inches and Florida got to celebrate again.

Telling stat: Florida was awful on third downs, going 3-for-15. But on fourth downs, the Gators were 5-of-5. Five of their 17 first downs came on fourth down plays.

Quote sheet

“I think down deep, you just don’t lose to Tennessee. And they didn’t.” — Jim McElwain.

“We have a chart that’s pretty standard in football, that maps it out. We just felt at that stage of the game, we had great confidence in our defense of getting off the field. We felt very comfortable with that decision.” — Butch Jones.

“You’ve got to battle. You deal with adversity and you’ve got to respond.” — Will Grier.