KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Striking quickly
The expectation that Florida would have to produce methodical scoring drives focused on the run to beat Tennessee couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Gators had four touchdown drives of three plays or fewer, including a one-play series when Trey Burton burst up the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown run after taking the snap from the Wildcat formation. UF’s longest drives of the game — nine plays, 80 yards and seven plays, 68 yards — resulted in field goals.
Wide receiver Frankie Hammond scored from 75 yards after catching a throw on a short curl route on a third-and-7 pass from Jeff Driskel and breaking a tackle to go the distance.
Still, Florida dominated the rushing battle, piling up 338 yards on the ground compared with just 83 for Tennessee. The team that rushes for the most yards has won the past 10 games in the series and 21 of the past 23.
Despite winning Saturday, penalties continue to be a huge concern for Florida under coach Will Muschamp.
After racking up 17 in the first two games, the Gators picked up eight for 78 yards in Saturday’s game at Tennessee. Six of those flags for 70 yards came in the first half, and UF deserves credit for minimizing its mistakes in the second half.
Still, the penalties were costly and let Tennessee hang around for longer than it probably should have. Penalties were also an issue against the Volunteers a year ago, when UF had its highest total of the season with 16 for 150 yards.
As was the case in 2011, the Gators secondary had issues covering Volunteers receivers man-to-man. Florida had six pass interference calls in last year’s game and that trend continued Saturday, with UF cornerbacks picking up several holding and pass interference calls.
A personal foul on Dominique Easley helped set up a Tennessee touchdown. Florida also had to burn a timeout when it had just 10 men on the field after being flagged for too many men on the field on the prior play.
Florida benefitted from solid production from kicker Caleb Sturgis and punter Kyle Christy in Saturday’s victory. Sturgis was 3 of 3 on field-goal attempts, converting from 20, 25 and 49 yards, and he also went 3 of 3 on extra-point opportunities.
Tennessee, on the other hand, suffered from a missed extra point by former walk-on Derrick Brodus. Brodus replaced regular starter Michael Palardy after Palardy missed an extra point and a 38-yard field goal last week against Georgia State.
Christy averaged 48.6 yards on five punts with a 55-yard long. He routinely bailed the Gators out of bad field position, booming punts from his own end zone into Tennessee territory to flip the field.
this and that
• Redshirt sophomore right tackle Chaz Green did not play. He left last week’s game against Texas A&M with what coaches described as cramping. Muschamp did not list Green on the injury report, but he was seen on UF’s campus wearing a protective boot on his left foot.
• Florida started a freshman on each side of the ball, as linebacker Antonio Morrison filled in for injured starter Jelani Jenkins (thumb), and Matt Jones got the game’s first carry with starter Mike Gillislee nursing a strained groin.