Coming into Saturday’s early SEC showdown between Florida and Tennessee, the story of the game was if Florida’s talented defense could stop Tyler Bray, the Volunteers’ mercurial gunslinger. In the second half, a clear victor emerged.
Driskel (14-20 attempts, 219 yards, 2 TDs; 8 attempts, 81 yards rushing) and the heretofore anemic Florida offense cranked out 555 total yards in pacing the Gators to an impressive 37-20 win on Rocky Top. Driskel made plays with his feet and improvised in the pocket, buying time for his receivers and operating efficiently in the passing game.
Ironically, the game likely turned on a play when Driskel wasn’t behind center. Florida wildcat QB Trey Burton went 80 yards to the house with 3:15 left in the third quarter to tie the score at 20. From there, it was all Gators.
Bray (22-44 attempts, 257 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) had his fair share of success throughout the evening. Yet, as momentum swung towards Florida late in the game, the Vols abandoned the run and put the game on the quarterback’s shoulders. Bray responded like a poker player down to his final chips, firing blindly around the field. (His best completion of the game might have been to coach Derek Dooley.)
For all the optimism in Knoxville after the Vols’ opening week win over North Carolina State, Dooley finds himself squarely on the hot seat yet again. Following a gimme versus Akron next week, the next four games: at Georgia, at Mississippi State, Alabama, at South Carolina. Reading between the lines, any hope UT had of winning the SEC East is likely gone.
Meanwhile, the heat on Will Muschamp down in Gainesville is dissipating after starting the season 3-0. Florida looked awfully unimposing in its opener against Bowling Green. All the Gators have done since then is win two consecutive conference games on the road.
If Driskel and the rest of the offense continue on their upward trajectory, Florida suddenly becomes a dangerous opponent for SEC consensus favorites LSU and Alabama.