A 51-yard Brent Cimaglia field goal with just over three minutes to go in the first half put Tennessee on the board in the Swamp, leading us to our current 6-3 Florida lead at the break. Cimaglia had a chance to tie things up as time expired in the half, but missed from 47 yards out.
- Quinten Dormady: 10-of-18 for 83 yards, 1 INT
- Feleipe Franks: 11-of-18 for 106 yards
- Tennessee has rushed for just 51 yards on 11 carries
- Florida has 35 rushing yards on 17 carries
- Florida is 5 for 10 on third down, Vols 3 for 7
While not playing the most attractive brand of football, Tennessee is certainly in this game. The Vols have been mostly solid on defense, save some poor attempts at tackling. The secondary has been pretty good on obvious passing downs, but a big cushion has allowed some short throws to move the Gators down the field.
As far as run defense goes, Tennessee has been solid. Florida’s longest run of the half went 16 yards, but was a 3rd-and-24 draw play. No other rush has gone for more than eight yards. Darell Taylor racked up a huge sack to set up that long third down, and he’s been really impressive. It doesn’t seem like Florida is confident in trying to run through the Vols. However…
It doesn’t seem like Tennessee is trying to run through Florida, either. Before John Kelly’s huge 38-yard run near the end of the half, Tennessee had just 13 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Kelly hasn’t had any room to run, mostly on account of the offensive line. The group hasn’t had a great day opening holes or in pass protection, although the protection got much better near the end of the half.
Dormady hasn’t been terrible, but hasn’t been great. Same ol’, same ol’ from him. His lone interception was a poor decision and poor throw off his back foot, but he’s made some good throws on third down. He needs to do a better job looking off the defense or he might feed another pick to the Gators in the second half. Marquez Callaway had a nice 1-on-1 catch on the Vols’ opening drive, but has otherwise been held in check by the Gators. Tennessee will need someone else to step up to help out Dormady.
Tennessee gained a lot of momentum heading into the break, and really looked like the better team in the final few minutes. Other than some short completions, the defense has held both on the run and on long passing situations. As long as the unit stays mentally focused, any fire from the Vol offense could give the team a huge burst of momentum.
Even though the Vols have just three points to show on offense, Tennessee has moved the ball down the field without finishing drives. Missed throws from Dormady and route mistakes from receivers need to be cleaned up to remedy that, and it couldn’t hurt to open some more holes for Kelly. Tennessee hasn’t hit many big plays yet, but it doesn’t feel like the Gator defense can suffocate the Vols in the second half.
Tennessee is down by just three, but it should be more. Darrell Taylor bailed the Vols out on defense and the big cushion from Tennessee’s outside corners aren’t masking the bad play of Justin Martin and Emmanuel Moseley. The Vols have moved some on offense, but Dormady has yet to get it rolling consistently and the offensive line has looked horrid at spots. It feels as if Tennessee is just hoping Florida doesn’t hit any big plays, but if Franks can start connecting down the field, the Vols aren’t a team looking to win a shootout.