NCAA Game Summary - Florida at Tennessee|
(Saturday, September 18th)
Final Score: (10) Florida 31, Tennessee 17
Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - John Brantley threw for 167 yards and a
touchdown and Mike Gillislee ran for two scores, as 10th-ranked Florida took a
31-17 win over Tennessee in the teams' SEC opener.
Brantley connected on 14-of-23 throws while Jeffery Demps rushed for 73 yards
on 26 carries for the Gators (3-0, 1-0 SEC), who have won 15 consecutive
regular-season conference games.
Trey Burton ran for a score for Florida, while Frankie Hammond, Jr. caught a
touchdown pass to end a drive kept alive by a fake punt.
Matt Simms passed for 259 yards and two touchdowns, but threw two costly
interceptions -- one in the end zone -- as Tennessee (1-2, 0-1) lost to
Florida for the sixth straight time.
After a slow first half, the Gators and Vols opened the third quarter with a
series of scores.
Caleb Sturgis drilled a 44-yard field goal on Florida's opening touch for a
10-3 lead, while the Vols followed with a quick-strike drive to tie the game.
Simms' 16-yard pass to Justin Hunter advanced the ball near midfield, and on
the next play he connected with Denarius Moore. Simms rolled out to his right
and fired to the open wideout, who ran into the end zone to complete the 49-
But the Gators scored twice more before the quarter was through to take
On the ensuing drive, Florida was set up to punt on fourth down, but pulled
off the fake, as Omarius Hines took the snap and rumbled for 36 yards to
the Vols' 25.
"Omarius made a great play there," said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. "You
have to capitalize any time you run a trick play. If you don't capitalize,
that's as bad as not making it. I told our offense to take it down the field
and score after that."
The Gators continued to drive, and on 3rd-and-goal, Brantley found Hammond in
the back of the end zone. The seven-yard pass gave Florida a 17-10 lead with
4:31 left in the frame.
Tennessee's next touch ended in an interception, as cornerback Jeremy Brown
stepped in front of Moore to grab the ball.
Florida took over at the Tennessee 40 and converted the turnover into points,
as Gillislee's five-yard scoring run made it a 24-10 game with 12 seconds left
in the quarter.
The Gators were primed to run away with the game after forcing the Vols to
punt and taking over at midfield. But Vols linebacker Austin Johnson forced
and recovered a fumble by Demps to switch possession.
Tennessee took advantage, scoring on Simms' 35-yard pass to Hunter. The
freshman receiver ran by his defender up the right sideline and found himself
wide open, as Florida didn't have a safety drop back in coverage. Hunter made
the catch in the end zone with 11:24 left to get the Vols within 24-17.
But the Gators responded once again, marching 60 yards on nine plays. Demps'
16-yard run up the right sideline gave Florida a 1st-and-goal from the eight,
then ran for six more yards. On the next play, Burton was met at the goal
line, but stretched the ball over to put the Gators ahead by two touchdowns
with 6:15 to play.
Florida held on from there, as the Vols' two remaining drives ended in a
fumble and turnover on downs.
Both offenses struggled early, punting on the game's first three drives. The
only scoring in the first quarter occurred with 1:17 left, when Daniel
Lincoln's 49-yard field goal try curled in by the right upright.
Florida started the ensuing drive at the Tennessee 42, thanks to a 43-yard
kickoff return from Demps and a 15-yard facemask penalty on the Vols. Brantley
converted a third down with a 16-yard pass to Deonte Thompson on the final
play of the quarter, and Florida continued to drive in the second.
The Gators eventually set up at the four on a 1st-and-goal. Gillislee ran for
two yards before running over a flattened Tennessee line into the end zone
with just under 12 minutes left.
A fumbled punt catch by Florida's Janoris Jenkins gave Tennessee the ball at
the Gators' 40 later in the second quarter. The Vols got inside the 10, but on
3rd-and-goal, Simms forced a pass to Da'Rick Rogers that was picked off by
Jonathan Bostic in the end zone.
"It's a play we've run a lot," said Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley. "Matt
did a good job in practice, missing high. You want to either throw it up high
toward the crossbar on that play or hit the swirl underneath. He just shot it
a little low. That was a big play. When we get down there on the 3, you can't
turn the ball over."
Neither team got into opposition territory for the rest of the quarter, and
the Gators carried a 7-3 edge into halftime.
Simms completed 19-of-31 throws...Lincoln's 49-yard field goal equaled his
career high...Florida has converted all eight fake punts it has attempted
under Meyer...The Gators have won 23 consecutive regular season
games...Florida has recorded 10 interceptions through its first three
games...David Oku led the Vols' rushing attack with 24 yards.
09/18 23:52:07 ET