Aaron Medley

Déjà Vu all over again for Vols; Gators’ win streak vs. Tennessee goes to 11

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For the second time in three weeks, Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC) let a double-digit lead in the second half waste away, leading to a heartbreaking loss. Down 27-14 in the fourth quarter, Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC) rallied for a thrilling 28-27 win against the division rival Vols. Gators quarterback Will Grier threw two touchdowns in the comeback that saw the Gators keep their perfect record in play and extended the school’s winning streak over Tennessee to 11. Grier’s 4th and 14 pass to Antonio Callaway went for 63 yards and the winning touchdown with 1:26 left in the game. Tennessee missed a 55-yard field goal as the clock expired.

Florida got a number of breaks to get the win, but they earned them. The Gators were a perfect five-for-five on fourth downs, making up for a 3-for-15 third down success rate. Tennessee even had the advantage in total offensive yards (419-392) and the Vols rushed for more than twice as many yards on the ground (254-109). Tennessee also had the slight edge in time of possession. Talk about a bit of a gutsy win for the Gators.

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs led all players with 136 yards and Jalen Hurd added 102 yards and two touchdowns for the Vols. Florida’s Grier overcame some tough moments earlier in the game to shine in the clutch. He ended the game with 283 passing yards and two touchdowns. Kelvin Taylor had 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Callaway ended his day with 112 yards.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain nearly cost his team a win when he chose to freeze Tennessee kicker Aaron Medley on the final play of the game. Hedley was setting up for a 55-yard field goal and missed his first attempt wide right by a good margin, but McElwain called a timeout (probably because college kickers have such a great track record with long field goals, I guess). After the timeout, Medley got a second chance and nearly made McElwain pay for the timeout tactic. Medley’s kick certainly had the distance but once again flew by the goalpost wide right, by an extremely narrow margin.

McElwain escaped his over-coaching moment, but Butch Jones left some scratching their heads over a decision not to go for a two-point conversion. In the fourth quarter, Tennessee took a 26-14 lead on a Hurd touchdown. Rather than attempt the two-point conversion to make it 28-14, Jones kicked the extra point. To say that may have cost Tennessee a win would be an understatement.

So for Tennessee, it is one more year of waiting before snapping the long losing streak to the hated Gators. It has been 11 years since the last time Tennessee defeated the Gators, which means nearly three full recruiting classes have come and gone in Knoxville wihtout celebrating a win over Florida.

Florida is now sitting in first place in the SEC East with a 2-0 conference mark. Tennessee, despite another year of promise and potential, is off to a start of 0-1 in conference play.

Vols score 17 straight points for halftime lead in The Swamp

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Florida drew first blood, but the Vols are on the attack down in Gainesville. It has been a while since Tennessee defeated the rival Gators, but they look to be on their way to snapping the losing streak if they can keep it going. Tennessee leads Florida 17-7 at the half after scoring 17 straight points.

Florida opened the scoring with a Kelvin Taylor touchdown run to cap a drive that was highlighted by a 47-yard run by Taylor just two plays earlier. Butch Jones, as he has been known to do from time to time, went into the bag of tricks to help get the Vols on the scoreboard. The call was for a double pass from wide receiver Jauan Jennings to quarterback Josh Dobbs. Once he got his hands back on the football, Dobbs raced up the field for a 58-yard touchdown to even the score at 7-7.

Later in the second quarter Tennessee may have been given a gift by the lack of an instant replay review. Alex Ellis lost control of the football on a short pass down the right sideline. He lost control of the ball before stepping out of bounds, and the ball was spotted at the one-yard line by the officials after rolling out of play. The ball actually hit a Tennessee body before hitting a pyline, so Tennessee would have kept control of the football, but the spot would have been pushed back a few yards. Jalen Hurd picked up the short touchdown run on the next play to give the Vols a 14-7 lead. A 34-yard field goal from Aaron Medley later in the half gave Tennessee the 17-7 lead.

Vols lead Gators in boring half, but Neyland Stadium looks great

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Neyland Stadium is successfully checkered for this afternoon’s SEC East battle with Florida, but that is probably the only thing that looks good in this game. Tennessee leads the Gators 3-0 at the half.

Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley has been accurate with his passing, completing 16 of 19 pass attempts for 126 yards, but it has not paid off much for the home team so far. Tennessee has completed just three out of nine third-down situations, but Florida is not doing any better. The two teams combined for fewer than 300 yards of offense in the first half and neither offense is finding a rhythm to build on.

Aaron Medley‘s 36-yard field goal early in the second quarter broke the scoreless tie after Tennessee managed to pick up just 36 yards on eight plays.

Tennessee’s LaDarrell McNeil was called for targetting Florida quarterback Jeff Driskell in the second quarter, but after the refs got a chance to review the play on video, as is standard procedure for targetting calls this season, the call was overturned. This looked to be the correct call, as the ground may have hit Driskell harder than McNeil.

The game may not be pretty, but once again, at least Neyland Stadium looks awesome this afternoon.