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Florida’s D steps up again; Gators make it eight in a row over Vols

Florida v Tennessee Getty Images

For the second week in a row, Florida’s defense stepped up in the second half on the road in a tough environment. By no coincidence, the Gators are 2-0 in those games. The latest was a 37-20 win tonight over SEC East rival Tennessee.

Against Texas A&M in Week 2, No. 18 Florida held the Aggies to just under 50 yards of offense and no points in a come-from-behind win. Tonight against the No. 23 Vols, the Gators D allowed a mere 118 second-half yards and one touchdown — and that came on a long first drive in the third quarter. After that, Tennessee never sustained an offensive possession of more than five plays.

While defense allowed the Gators to stay in the game, and later pull away, it was Florida’s offense that was the biggest surprise of the night. Quarterback Jeff Driskel played surprisingly efficient. It helps when your team grinds out 336 yards rushing and your receivers rack up yards-after-catch, but this was without a doubt the best Driskel has played in this young season.

You could view this game as a total second-half meltdown on both sides of the ball by Tennessee and coach Derek Dooley, who we should note has yet to beat a ranked opponent as a head coach, and yes, there’s some truth to that. But give credit where it’s due:¬†this Florida defense has played phenomenal the past two weeks when it matters most.

As for Dooley? It’s not that he can’t win the big games; it’s that he can’t win a big game at all. And, now,¬†Florida has won eight straight over Tennessee dating back to 2005. Tennessee looks like an improved program from the past couple of years, but there is no signature win on Dooley’s resume since coming to Knoxville to verify it. That simply cannot be ignored.

Florida, on the other hand, is 2-0 in the SEC nearing a tough October stretch with games against LSU, South Carolina and Georgia. How UF fares in that span will be interesting, but this is a team that’ s been getting better each week against continuously better competition.

The question is will it continue?

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17 Responses to “Florida’s D steps up again; Gators make it eight in a row over Vols”
  1. cubano76 says: Sep 15, 2012 10:15 PM

    Nice to see two teams play w/ some heart. Great SEC game.

  2. southernpatriots says: Sep 15, 2012 10:36 PM

    This was one of the better SEC games so far this season. Just as Florida proved something last week, they continued to build in this game, achieving separation by the end of the game. Florida definitely plays 60 minutes, building momentum toward the end of the game. This is what I observed last week and thought I would see the same this week and that would be the difference.

    I felt Florida would be a power to reckon with in the SEC East this year, and it may be born out over the next weeks. This game was the best I have seen Driskell play. If this is the way he will play the remainder of the season, all opponents need to be concerned.

    Great game! Great win for Florida!

    Orange!…………………Blue!

  3. dcroz says: Sep 15, 2012 10:57 PM

    This was a vital game for Derek Dooley, as a win would have signaled that perhaps his program has turned the corner and that he is indeed the one to lead the Vols back to the upper ranks of the SEC. Instead, this loss will essentially erase in the minds of Tennessee fans the improvement the Vols have shown so far this season. Dooley still has a tough road to negotiate after a warm-up with Akron next week (@Georgia, bye week, @Mississippi State, Alabama, @South Carolina) and an oh-for-October is quite possible. Dooley is going to have to win at least eight this year and give hope that the program is headed in the right direction; losing today makes that task considerably harder.

    As for Will Muschamp, this win should quiet the critics who question whether he is the next great Florida coach or the next Ron Zook…at least for now. The explosiveness of the Gator offense with the big play in the second half harkens back to the national championship teams of recent vintage, and now one has to add Florida to the mix as a serious contender for the SEC East title. We’ll find out more about how much progress they have made when they host LSU next week. In the meantime, Gator Nation will enjoy this latest win over their Tennessee rivals.

  4. deadeye says: Sep 15, 2012 11:25 PM

    I hate to say it, but I think it’s inevitable. Bobby Petrino will go to Tennessee next season as Dooley’s successor. The Volunteers, with that one hire, will become a perennial power once again.

  5. florida727 says: Sep 15, 2012 11:46 PM

    Wow! What a game! Glad we could pull through. Incredible 2nd half. Driskel is starting to come into his own, which is nice to see. Defense set the tone, as expected. Concerned about Easley’s injury late though. We’re getting dinged up, then again every team is at this point. Kentucky at The Swamp next week.

    Alabama hammered Arkansas as I thought once learning that Wilson couldn’t go for Arkansas. He’s their glue guy. Without him, they’ll struggle. Need to get him healthy for Razorback fans’ sake. ‘Bama showed why they’re #1.

    Wonder how many USC fans will bother to post on Fifth Quarter tomorrow :)

  6. southernpatriots says: Sep 15, 2012 11:57 PM

    florida727:

    You know I would not lead you wrong, not intentionally anyway. What I expected to happen, happened.

    What I was hoping to happen to the over confident USC team and fans, did happen. Stanford did have their number as they have now for years, just like Florida has had Tennessee’s number for even more years.

    Somehow, some….how this week I did well with the Predictions. I don’t know if I will do Predictions again next week because that is hard to do. Takes much consideration.

    Somewhat tired but must awaken early tomorrow morning to put out breakfast for all those still homeless and the power line workers still here trying to get electricity back all before we go to church. What an evening and a night of football! Very entertaining! LSU 63 to 14, setting a national record of 40 straight non-conference wins. Miles has NEVER lost a non-conference game while coaching at LSU, 30 in a row. 20 straight wins at Tiger Stadium. It’s all good.

    How did you like my ….Orange! ……Blue!????

    Have a great evening, all!

  7. ryanw822 says: Sep 16, 2012 12:01 AM

    Florida is down and Tennessee is still getting worked over by the Gators.

    When Muschamp is running cirlces around your HC then you may have a huge problem.

  8. houndofthebaskervols says: Sep 16, 2012 12:23 AM

    Congratulations to Florida, I am a little surprised at the letdown in the 2nd half, but talent and depth usually means something in this series. I was very impressed with Driskel, he’s the real deal.

    Dooley is still 2 classes away from being able to compete with the big boys. I know every team suffers attrition during the season but the body count in Knoxville is now 56 since that fraud Fulmer was fired. The OL is the only place we’ve got any depth and the 2′s are all friggin freshmen fer cryin out loud. LOL

    Wouldn’t hurt my feelings if Dooley fired the OC, Jim Gomer Chaney, and demotes Sal Sunseri at the end of the year.

  9. rollteal says: Sep 16, 2012 12:27 AM

    I have to say I’m impressed by UF so far this season !! With having to decent SEC road early on with a young team. But it’s going to be telling what happens in oct.
    GoNoles !!!

  10. ningenito78 says: Sep 16, 2012 12:30 AM

    Ah the comment section in a post about an SEC game always good for a laugh. Super Prediction Guy, Bring in Bobby Petrino Guy, Fire All the Coordinators Guy….always rational as usual. You do you SEC fans!

  11. houndofthebaskervols says: Sep 16, 2012 12:47 AM

    “You do you SEC fans!”

    Hmmmn, that makes a lot of sense? Then there is the LOL At Everybody Guy that doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. I dont have to defend my comments to trolls like you ignorito78. You will find these same observations on any other conference board, its not exclusive to the SEC. But generally our fans at least seem to understand the game.

  12. ningenito78 says: Sep 16, 2012 1:25 AM

    Well teams like UL-Monroe walked into SEC territory and embarrassed one team and almost another and Rutgers is going to make it another next week. Your conference is over rated and if you really think SEC fans are the most knowledgeable, I hate to break it to you but you don’t get points for being delusional homers.

  13. gogatorsjohn says: Sep 16, 2012 3:28 AM

    Overrated? Uh, 6 straight national titles? Is that guy delusional? Not saying SEC will win title this year but I wouldn’t call the conference overrated. Anyway, great game by the Gators in their 2nd straight SEC road game. Driskel was much improved and didn’t take as many unnecessary sacks by staying in the pocket like at A&M. He was very efficient, letting the players make big plays around him. Defense in the 2nd half was solid. Tennessee really didn’t attempt to run the ball as much which was bad on their part. They could have kept Florida more honest. But they lived and died with tattoo-on-his- back Tyler Bray. He was pretty accurate for the most part except when he felt pressure when the Gators got a lead and all they did was throw. Next week Kentucky and then LSU. Go Gators!

  14. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 16, 2012 7:28 AM

    The Gators are putting together a good offense, is that Driskell performing so well? and a shut-down defense. Getting their championship form back again. Watch out SEC West and SEC!

    The deluded here on CFT are those who thought USC had a team ranked #1 or anywhere in the top 10. The deluded here on CFT are those who said that USC had the best offense in the nation. Delusions of grandeur.

    Will the B1G have a team in the top 10? Unlikely. Will they have a team in top 20? This is not a good year for the B1G in a generally bad decade for them.

    It will be SEC, Pac12, ACC and behind them all B1G.

  15. swampboy69 says: Sep 16, 2012 9:15 AM

    Was one helluva game last night, finally looks like the offense may be catching up to the defense which is fanfrickingtastic!! Time for the naysayers to sweat a little bit as the “Beast of the East” is starting to get back to the form it has shown over the past 7 years!!
    IT’S GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR!!!

  16. lakesidegator says: Sep 17, 2012 8:23 AM

    Turning the corner, Tennessee wrecked, but it was no accident.

  17. tigersgeaux says: Sep 17, 2012 8:40 AM

    lakesidegator:

    You are right, no accident. My grandpa used to say, once is accident, twice is a habit. What is eight times? an addiction…to winning?

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