The No. 18 Florida Gators are on the road again this time headed North to the Volunteer state to face off with No. 23 Tennessee. Both teams enter Saturday’s game undefeated.
This is the first time these two teams have played when both were ranked since 2007. Florida has won each of the last seven meetings in the head-to-head series since 2005.
The Gators got off to a bit of a sluggish start to the year, but they captured a big 20-17 road win over Texas A&M this past Saturday, which injected some additional optimism into their season. The Volunteers are off to a 2-0 start with wins over NC State and Georgia State.
Florida, offensively, didn’t put up crazy numbers but there is a sense of improvement that hasn’t been there in a few years. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is getting more comfortable in the passing game and in passing situations.
Florida’s top player on offense is running back Mike Gillislee. He’s rushed for 231 yards on 38 carries and four touchdowns so far, while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He’s a back who has great vision, speed and athleticism, and he can get to the second level in a hurry. He is banged up with a groin injury, but Muschamp says it will not hinder him this week.
There hasn’t been many teams that have looked better or that have more upside in the first two weeks than Tennessee. The Vols have lit up the scoreboard and the box score the first two weeks by racking up more than 500 yards of offense in both showings.
The lifeblood of the offense is the passing game with Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson. Bray is the leading passer in the SEC right now with 643 yards and six touchdowns. But he hasn’t thrown any INTs, and he’s completed 73.8 percent of his passes. Hunter leads the SEC in receiving with 17 catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
These two teams are almost polar opposites. Tennessee boasts a quick-strike offense, while Florida plays a more ball-controlled offense that eats up clock.
The team that runs the football the best will win this football game. History proves it. The leading rushing team has won nine straight and 21 of the last 22 ball games.
Neyland Stadium in Knoxville will be packed this Saturday when the Gators come calling and put their winning streak on the line. With history as a guide, you can be fairly certain something memorable will happen.
Prediction: Florida: 27 Tennessee: 23
About the Author
Written by Mackenzie Thirkill