Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) reacts after dropping a pass while Florida Gators defensive back Marcus Roberson (5) defends during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
Tennessee Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley reacts to an officials call during the first half of the game against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Herman Lathers (34) reacts after stopping a third and short run at the goal line against the Florida Gators during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
The Tennessee Volunteers during the Vol walk before the game against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
Right up until the second half Saturday night, the incredible momentum that energized Knoxville for the past week seemed like it might be enough to carry the Tennessee Volunteers to a victory against the Florida Gators for the first time in eight meetings.
The Vols were up 14-10 in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 102,000.
But then the 2nd half happened to a team that's had some memorable 2nd half meltdowns in the past few years.
Then the Gators scored 27 points.
And, as fans streamed out of Neyland Stadium on a night that many had hoped to storm the field, the Vols lost 37-20.
Jeff Driskel threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for 81 yards, leading the 18th-ranked Gators past the No. 23 Vols.
In back-to-back weeks, the Gators (3-0, 2-0 SEC) won on the road against a conference opponent, beating Texas A&M last Saturday. Trey Burton added two scores on 91 yards for Florida on just three carries. Mike Gillislee ran for 115 yards.
As we mentioned previously, Tennessee (2-1, 0-1) led the Gators at halftime 14-10, but after missing an extra point off a one-yard touchdown score to give them a 20-13 lead, the Volunteers gave up 24 unanswered points.
Tyler Bray struggled in the second half after throwing two touchdowns through the first two quarters. He finished 22-of-44 for 257 yards and threw two interceptions that Florida converted touchdowns.
Jordan Reed caught a team-high five passes for 60 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown grab that gave Florida the go-ahead score. With just under 10 minutes to play in the game, Driskel connected with Frankie Hammond Jr. on a 75-yard catch and run touchdown to give Florida a 14-point advantage.
Caleb Sturgis was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts for the Gators, connecting on kicks of 20, 25 and 49 yards.