Both of these two former SEC powers came into this game limping. The Vols has just gotten annihilated by Oregon and the Gators lost to in-state rival Miami. Which team would right their ship in this important SEC East match-up?
This was not a beauty pageant and if you watched the first half you probably had to shield your eyes at times. In the first half, the Vols had just 31 yards of total offense. They fumbled on their first two possessions and then threw an interception on their third. They finished out the half with two punts and another interception. It's safe to say that Butch Jones's decision to go with red-shirt freshman Nathan Peterman was the wrong decision to make heading into a game against Florida's stout defense. The good news for the Vols in the first half? They got a pick six early to take a 7-0 lead.
The Gators didn't fare much better than the Vols on offense in the first half. On Florida's first possession they fumbled the ball away and on their second, Jeff Driskel would throw an interception. On that INT, the Gators lost QB Jeff Driskel to an injury and the Gators replaced him with seldom-used back-up Tyler Murphy. While there were some miscues, the center snapped the ball while Murphy wasn't looking at one point, Murphy (along with good field position provided by the defense) led the Gators to 17 first half points.
The second half was a better game to watch as a fan. Justin Worley, who started the year at QB for the Vols, took over for Peterman and marched the Vols down the field for a FG. Florida answered with a 79 play drive that featured a mix of runs and a 31 yard pass to Quinton Dunbar and was finished by a Matt Jones TD run. On the next possession, the Vols were forced to punt and then the Gators put the game away with an 11 play 84 yard drive that ended on a Tyler Murphy TD run. The Vols would add a TD but it was too little, too late as the Gators won on the strength of their defense and the relief effort of Murphy.
After the game, Will Muschamp announced that QB Jeff Driskel is out for the season with a broken ankle. The way Murphy looked today, that may not be that bad of news for the Gators but the depth behind Murphy is non-existent.
What's next for Florida: the Gators travel to Kentucky next weekend.
What's next for Tennessee: the Vols host South Alabama next week but their next three opponents after that? Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.