Instant Analysis: Gators Overpower Vols

Sep 21, 2019 | 0 comments

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It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game at times, but the No. 9 Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers (1-3, 0-1 SEC) 34-3 in the Swamp on Saturday afternoon.

The teams combined for seven turnovers, committed costly penalties, struggled to run the ball and wasted scoring opportunities. Florida was simply the better team, and that allowed them to pull away despite the sloppiness.

Here’s our Instant Analysis.

It Was Over When: The Gators dominated the first half statistically, out-gaining the Vols 250-88. Still, the score was just 10-0 when the Gators got the ball at their own 39-yard line with 4:56 to play in the half. Kyle Trask moved them efficiently down the field, completing all five of his passes for 62 yards. Facing fourth-and-goal at the 1 with two seconds remaining, coach Dan Mullen opted to keep the offense on the field and go for the touchdown. Lamical Perine got just enough of a push to extend UF’s lead to 17-0 at the intermission. 

Tennessee switched to quarterback Brian Maurer in the second half, and he led to his team to a field goal on their opening possession. However, Trask drove the Gators 75 yards on six plays and finished it off with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Swain. UF rolled from then.

They Stole the Show: Kyle Trask had an up-and-down day in his first career start, completing 20 of 28 passes for 293 yards and two scores. However, in the first quarter, he held onto the ball too long and too loosely and lost a fumble. In the third quarter, he threw a pair of interceptions.

Kyle Pitts built on his stellar fourth quarter against Kentucky, catching four passes for 62 yards and the game’s first touchdown. He seemed to always be open, and he made some difficult catches.

Jonathan Greenard once again wreaked havoc, breaking up three passes, recording a sack and forcing a fumble.

Marco Wilson recorded his first career interception in the second quarter. In the third quarter, he dislodged the ball from Dominick Wood-Anderson with a vicious hit. Linebacker Amari Burney caught it for the interception.

The Stats Don’t Lie: Florida out-gained UT 441 to 239, out-passed them 313 to 151. UF averaged 6.2 yards-per-play, compared to 4.3 for the Vols.

After struggling on third downs defensively against Kentucky, UF bounced back, limiting the Vols to four conversions in 13 attempts.

Tennessee committed seven penalties for 75 yards, with seemingly all of them coming at key moments.

Oh What A Play: After Trask’s fumble, the Volunteers seemed poised to tie the game at seven, facing a third-and-goal from the three. Jauan Jennings couldn’t handle Jarrett Guarantano’s throw, and defensive back Trey Dean made an incredible, diving interception.

Dean played well down the stretch last season but had been quiet through the first three games of 2019. His interception kept the momentum on UF’s side and eventually led to a rout.

These Matchups Proved Key: The Vols entered Saturday allowing just 149 passing yards per game, second in the SEC. UF’s receivers torched them repeatedly, and Trask took full advantage.

Florida’s offensive line did an excellent job protecting the quarterback, as they’ve done all season, conceding just two sacks.

On the other side of the ball, Florida limited UT’s top playmaker, Marquez Callaway, to one catch for 27 yards. They limited the Volunteers to 88 yards rushing.

Up Next: The Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) will play their second of three consecutive home games next Saturday when they host Towson at 4 p.m. The Tigers entered the week ranked fifth in the FCS Coaches Poll.



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