In 2013, we saw a backup quarterback donning the number “3” come in for Jeff Driskel and help engineer a victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. On Saturday, we saw a backup quarterback donning the number “3” come in for Jeff Driskel and help engineer a victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. Was it pretty? Most certainly not. There are still many areas of this team that need to be addressed; but the most important thing Will Muschamp can take away from Neyland Stadium is a big ol’ W. As I saw it described on Twitter, this game was a “fight to the death with spoons.” The Gators and Vols combined for just 465 yards and six turnovers. However, at the end of a beautiful day in Knoxville, the good guys had ten points and the bad guys had nine. Florida had defeated Tennessee for the tenth consecutive time.
The Gators offense was horrendously stagnant until the freshman Treon Harris entered the game late in the third quarter. Florida scored their first and only touchdown on his first drive behind center, and the entire team seemed to have new life. Not that the defense really needed it anyways. Bryan Cox Jr., playing in remembrance of his late grandfather, registered three of the six Florida sacks. UF also forced three turnovers from UT quarterback Justin Worley. Both interceptions came at critical times in the game — Vernon Hargreaves made a diving pick in the end zone to keep the Vols out of checkerboard, and Keanu Neal ended Tennessee’s final drive (and the game) with his third INT of the season. The performance of the defense was very refreshing to watch, especially after their debacle two weeks ago at Alabama.
However, the big storyline of the afternoon was the Florida quarterback situation. Jeff Driskel seemingly made zero progress from his horrid game in Tuscaloosa. He went 11 for 23 for just 59 yards and three interceptions against the Vols. There was virtually no hope for the offense until Muschamp finally decided to pull the plug on Driskel. After Jalen Tabor’s strip sack/fumble recovery, Florida was in business at the UT 30 yard line. No better time to put in Harris, who made a few nice plays before Matt Jones punched it in from a couple yards out.
Just a short time later, kicker Austin Hardin drilled the biggest field goal of his career — a 49 yarder from the right hash — to give Florida the lead for good. Honestly, most Gator fans had as much faith in Hardin making that FG as they did in FIVE top-10 teams losing this weekend. Both of those things happened, and both were great to watch.
Will Muschamp said post-game that they will evaluate the quarterback situation this week to see who will start against LSU (7:30pm on SEC Network). The best thing Muschamp said on Saturday? In reference to the 100,000+ Tennessee fans, “It’s great to see all these people out here getting disappointed. I love it.” We loved it too, Coach Boom.