Florida’s offense once again looked to be flat all afternoon, but a change at quarterback in the second half helped spark Florida (3-1, 2-1 SEC) to a road win at Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC). After slowly digging a 9-0 deficit, Florida coach Will Muschamp sent Treon Harris into the game, and it quickly paid off with two scoring drives. Florida somehow managed to leave Tennessee with a 10-9 win that pleased the head coach.
“It’s great to see all these people disappointed,” Muschamp said in his postgame interview on the field, referring to Tennessee’s fans in a checkered Neyland Stadium. “I love it.”
Florida scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to take a 10-9 lead on the Vols. A Matt Jones short touchdown run put the Gators on the scoreboard after three dismal quarters of play, and a field goal midway through the half gave Florida its first lead of the game. Florida’s offense may have been lacking on the day, but the defense was up to the task. Florida held Tennessee to just 234 yards of offense, and just 28 rushing yards.
It may not be a coincidence that Florida’s offense finally managed to scrap together some points once Harris took over under center. Jeff Driskel was roughed up by Tennessee and completed just 11 of 23 pass attempts for 59 yards. He was intercepted three times as well. Once the freshman Harris came on the field, the Gators put together some improved offense.
When Florida moves forward this season it looks like Muschamp will have to do so with Harris under center. Driskel has been inadequate at the position and Muschamp’s job may depend on showing some promise moving forward. Having Harris on the field and perhaps giving some life to the offense is Muschamp’s best move as they prepare for a home game against LSU.
As for Tennessee, it looks as though the Vols are making some strides toward competing in the SEC East, but a game like this feels more like two steps back after one step forward. This was a game Tennessee failed to put away early, because they certainly had their chances to seize control of the game.