It’s a battle of undefeated teams as Tennessee and Florida meet for the 46th time. It’s one of the biggest meetings between the two teams in recent memory. It’s also vital for both teams as the SEC East is wide open and the winner of this game would have a significant leg up in that department. It’s been well documented that Florida has won eleven straight in this series and it feels like Tennessee’s whole season is going to be made or broken by this game.
While both teams are undefeated, Florida has looked the better of the two so far. The Gators defense has given up a total of 14 points through three games against UMass, Kentucky and North Texas (pitching a shutout in the last game). Their offense has also been solid, scoring an average of 34 points per game. However, the Gators suffered a big blow in the game against North Texas as starting QB Luke Del Rio took a hit to the knee and will be out for this game. In his place Florida will start Purdue transfer Austin Appleby. While at Purdue, Appleby started eleven games and threw for 2,777 yards, 19 TDs and 19 INTs. QB play could be an issue for the Gators as Del Rio had gotten all of the first team reps this year, but a bigger issue could be that this will be Florida’s first road game of the season, having played their first three in Gainesville.
Tennessee came into this season with massive expectations that were almost derailed on the first night of the season as unfancied Appalachian State took them to OT. The next week was the Battle at Bristol against Virginia Tech that the Vols went down 14-0 early but came back to win handily. Last week, Tennessee let Ohio hang around until late in the fourth quarter. While most fans would agree that the Vols have not played up to their full potential, they would also say that Tennessee may have been holding back somewhat so that all stops can be pulled out against Florida. While Florida will be missing Del Rio, Tennessee will also be missing a key player. CB (and dangerous return man) Cameron Sutton is out for an extended period of time after picking up an injury in the game against Ohio. While Sutton is an incredibly valuable player, the fact that Florida is starting a backup QB in its first true road game of the year bodes well for the Vols. Add in the fact that Tennessee will be wearing the smokey grey alternate jerseys and the stadium will be donning the checkerboard pattern, and Neyland Stadium should be rocking.
- College GameDay will be in Knoxville for the game. This will be the second time this season the Vols will be featured on GameDay, but the first time it will be from Knoxville since the 2012 matchup against the Gators.
- The last time Tennessee beat Florida (2004), neither head coach in this game was yet a head coach. Butch Jones was the running backs coach at Central Michigan while Jim McElwain was the wide receivers coach at Michigan State.
- Tennessee has won nine games in a row dating back to last season.
- Florida CB Quincy Wilson gave a bizarre quote to the media on Wednesday: “Have you ever seen a duck pull a truck? Duck’s don’t pull trucks. Nobody has ever seen a duck pull a truck. Florida Gators are going to win, simple as that.”
Neylanad Stadium – Knoxville, TN
Florida leads 26-19
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL
Current AP Ranking
Next Games Up
Tennessee @ Georgia
Florida @ Vanderbilt