Tennessee Stat Book
1. Make it a Rivalry: Florida has won five in a row since Urban Meyer took over the program and the past three games haven’t been close. Meyer’s assertion that the Vols were essentially playing to avoid a blowout last year in a 23-13 game rings true enough to hurt.
2. 7-10 Split?: Seventh-ranked Oregon, then No. 10 Florida. Never before have two top-10 opponents visited Neyland Stadium on consecutive Saturdays. Oregon’s 48-13 romp was the Vols’ worst home loss since Shields-Watkins Field opened in 1921. What’s the encore?
3. Finish the Fight: Tennessee battled a superior Oregon team on even terms into the third quarter. But when adversity struck, the Vols didn’t strike back. Oregon won the fourth quarter 21-0. UT has to learn from that lesson and take the battle to the Gators for 60 minutes.
4. Return Burn: Tennessee hasn’t returned a kickoff or punt for a score since Oct. 30, 2004. In the nearly six seasons since, the Vols have given up 10 return touchdowns — seven on punts and three on kickoffs. As a two-touchdown underdog Tennessee has to make the return scores to have a chance, not allow them. Florida’s Brandon James, who annually tormented the Vols, is gone but NCAA sprint champion Jeff Demps is trouble.
5. Car Poole: Tauren Poole has been UT’s one reliable weapon but the junior tailback can’t drive the ball alone against the Gators. He needs his buddies in the passing game — Luke Stocker, Da’Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter, Denarius Moore — to step up and make plays. Who wants to hop in and go along for the ride?