Final: Florida 33, Tennessee 23

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole (28) looks to escape Florida's Dominique Easley (2) during first half action in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the University of Florida campus Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2011

Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole (28) looks to escape Florida's Dominique Easley (2) during first half action in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the University of Florida campus Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Game recap: Florida 33, Tennessee 23

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Tennessee came to The Swamp unbeaten and flush with the swagger of youth. It left beaten and scarred.

That won’t, however, be a bad thing, in the long run.

But for Saturday, a seventh consecutive loss to Florida was hard to swallow.

Score this one 33-23 for the No. 16 Gators, who hit the Vols with tough shots early in each half and kept them at arm’s length.

“I told the team,’’ said UT coach Derek Dooley, “if you’re going to compete for championships, you’re gonna have to get scars.

“We didn’t have any. We got plenty of ’em today and it’s good.’’

The first one came early.

Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) set the tone in this Eastern Division rivalry from the outset before a Ben Hill Griffin crowd of 90,477 and a CBS national audience.

The Gators won the toss, elected to receive and raced 80 yards in a hurry-up offense for a 7-0 lead on John Brantley’s 1-yard pass to Trey Burton.

“I was the most concerned about our composure,’’ said Dooley, “and we hit a buzz saw.

“Florida was prepared to play and we didn’t handle it well.’’

It was almost a flashback to last week when Cincinnati struck for a fast score.

“We’ve got to come out with more focus,’’ said linebacker Austin Johnson, “and make sure we get a three-and-out the first drive.’’

Falling behind Cincinnati early is one thing. Florida is another.

The Gators had the tools, especially on defense, to make Tennessee’s first road game and sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray’s first start outside the state borders an uphill battle after that.

Losing star receiver Justin Hunter to a knee injury on UT’s fourth play only added to the difficulty factor.

Still, the Vols (2-1, 0-1 SEC) muddled through the first half, fortunate to trail only 16-7.

And they knew momentum awaited when they would receive the kickoff to start the third quarter.

What they received, though, was a one-two knockout punch.

A Josh Evans interception set up one Florida touchdown, and soon thereafter Chris Rainey’s 83-yard pass reception score blew the lid off.

Bray’s first interception of the year came on UT’s first snap of the second half. Florida’s Evans made a leaping pickoff at the Tennessee 42.

“I thought I got it over him,’’ Bray said. “The guy made a great play.’’

The Gator offense was quickly knocking on the door. The Vols almost kept it shut.

On fourth-and-goal from the 1, however, Burton fought into the end zone for the score and a 23-7 lead.

Florida’s next possession was a lightning bolt. Brantley flipped a short pass to Rainey and Rainey sprinted the final 80 yards of the 83-yard score for a 30-7 lead.

“That,’’ said Dooley, “was a dagger.’’

Bray accounted for all of UT’s touchdowns, passing 4 yards to Marlin Lane in the second quarter, 12 to Da’Rick Rogers in the third and 18 to Mychal Rivera in the fourth.

He was 26-of-48 passing for 288 yards and was intercepted twice. A third pick was wiped off by a pass-interference flag.

The Gators, in fact, were so intent on defusing Tennessee’s air attack they were penalized six times for pass interference.

All of their interference with UT’s running game, on the other hand, was legal. The Vols had 21 attempts for a net of minus-9 yards.

“It’s hard to justify running the ball when you’re down three scores,’’ said Dooley.

Florida had 347 yards of offense, but thwarted its own cause with 16 penalties for 150 yards.

Rainey was an all-around pest. He rushed for 108 yards, caught two passes for 104 yards and blocked a punt for good measure that led to one of Caleb Sturgis’ four field goals.

“I don’t know if there’s a more versatile player,’’ said Florida first-year coach Will Muschamp.

Florida was a decisive winner in the kicking game.

Sturgis was perfect on field goals. UT’s Michael Palardy hit from 20 yards in the fourth quarter but missed from 37 on Tennessee’s opening drive when an answer to Florida’s touchdown would have been helpful.

Short punts plagued the Vols in the first half, as did a couple of penalties in the return game.

“The whole second quarter our kicking game was killing us,’’ Dooley said. “We played on our half of the field the second quarter but we hung in there.’’

They hung in there, but never could mount a comeback.

After two easy wins at home over Montana and Cincinnati, this was a graduation to what Dooley and his players called “big-boy” football.

Florida was bigger this day.

Tennessee has the scars to prove it.

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Comments » 252

CroKev writes:

Our best player, Hunter, gets hurt on his first play and we lose. If Rainey had gotten hurt on the first play, UF loses. If both stay healthy, UT wins.

Congratulations Florida.

UT-Pride writes:

Hurts.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Try to win with CLASS, Gator fans and I know there are some that do..Few and far between, but there are a few that actually know how to win.

Smokey says there is always next year and eventually the streak will end..

born2ride writes:

I suppose we should be happy the Vols did not quit and we only got beat by 10 points instead of 30. Kind of like 2 years ago under Kiffin when we did not get blown out after he ran his mouth. Except Florida is not as good this year.

It is a shame we now accept moral victories for football and 7 losses in a row to the Gators.

Hamilton left a curse. We are stuck with his coaches in football and basketball. The two point play was another blunder by Dooley. In a couple of more years Hart can bring in his own coaches and the Vols can become relevant again.

Good game by Rogers and losing Hunter hurt us. Bray has put up big numbers against inferior competition but made too many mistakes today under pressure. Terrible interception he threw. We are lucky the Gators had so many penalties and settled for field goals or we would have been embarrassed.

Go Big Orange!

Tru138 writes:

Pffffft! I think someone put salt in my Kool-Aid!

CroKev writes:

My critique of the coaching: We started to do a Fulmer there in the 3rd quarter: Run twice for short yardage and be stuck with 3rd and long. Forget the flat passes and throw the 10 to 15 yard routes. Receivers, including Da’ Rick dropped a lot of balls. Stone was really horrible snapping. Why can’t the coaches make him practice while the defense is on the field? DL looked good at fighting off the blocks but couldn’t tackle worth a darn. Why can’t Wilcox put a man on someone like Rainey for the entire game because he beat us pretty much single-handedly ala McCuskey from Ole Miss a couple of years ago. Finally, why not use Devrin on kickoff/punt returns. Our guys run scared or slow back there.

reg_mza#219136 writes:

Well, back to the drawing board on the tackling thing.

This game would have been much different in the passing game if Justin Hunter doesn't get hurt. I can see where Da'Rick is starting to show where he is a man amongst boys. I'm not sure why it took for a ground ball to sneak past Bray for people not to be in Jame Stone 's earhole about focusing on the snap before blocking. It took all the way until that point before it improved late in the third. If we improve a few things, namely tackling and defensive execution, and if Hunter is not out for the season, then I can see us sneaking up and overwhelming some SEC teams but if each game is played like this then we could lose 5 in a row.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

OL is good pass blocking, poor with the run! It starts up front with the big uglies each and every time! Go to have balance!

I sure hope Hunter comes back quickly and his injury is not serious! Get well #11!

I think that Arnett has earned some more chances! VFL! Let's regroup and heal up! GBO!

keviningeorgia writes:

You guys quit whinning about Tn being "outcoached" and "not ready to play". I even read a couple of need to get rid of Dooley comments.

I can't believe there is a percentage of fans in this group that is ready to throw in the towel because UT lost to Fla today. How many of us REALLY thought UT would beat Fla before the season started?

I hoped they would win. I even bet a little with the 10 points. But, UT is still rebuilding from a rock bottom position. Even better, UT still can win 8 or 9 this year and still accomplish the goals most had hoped for.

Fla. looked good. They still have a full recruiting class of talent on UT and it showed. But, UT is catching up.

Proud of how they fought back. I'm proud of how the coaches got the focus back when they could have folded with the Hunter injury early on.

Lots of work to do in the run game. But, the pass game did very well. And, overall, the defense looked pretty good.

Look forward to the Ga. game in Knoxville. It should be REALLY good.

GO VOLS!

TommyJack writes:

No running game. No return game. No punter. No kicker. No snapper. Otherwise, we're fine.

keepitreal4vols writes:

No one gets higher than a D- in the report card. I say F's for everyone and everything UT.

silicon28 writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

UT has a class coach and a very young team and you just want to spend 3 million for what? Another NCAA investigation and probation? And I'm REALLY believing your "GO VOLS" in your screen name.

pingkr62 writes:

I'd rather be Tennessee losing to Florida by ten points than Auburn losing to Clemson by fourteen. By the way, aside from Justin Hunter, what other injuries did we have? G.B.O.!!!!!!!

MikeInTN writes:

How long will it take U.T. to get back to competing for championships? The years are going by rather quickly, and a lot of us aren't getting any younger. For a program that has tradition, spends an unGodly amount of money on athletics, and it seems like all we've gotten the last several years is a pi$$ poor program. Question: Will Mr. Hart have a decision to make in the next year or two?

CroKev writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks for agreeing (eyes wide open).

thevoice writes:

in response to born2ride:

I suppose we should be happy the Vols did not quit and we only got beat by 10 points instead of 30. Kind of like 2 years ago under Kiffin when we did not get blown out after he ran his mouth. Except Florida is not as good this year.

It is a shame we now accept moral victories for football and 7 losses in a row to the Gators.

Hamilton left a curse. We are stuck with his coaches in football and basketball. The two point play was another blunder by Dooley. In a couple of more years Hart can bring in his own coaches and the Vols can become relevant again.

Good game by Rogers and losing Hunter hurt us. Bray has put up big numbers against inferior competition but made too many mistakes today under pressure. Terrible interception he threw. We are lucky the Gators had so many penalties and settled for field goals or we would have been embarrassed.

Go Big Orange!

Hamilton has nothing to do with this loss. FL had a few more better players on the OL/DL, RB, and PK.

516milesfromUT writes:

Justin get well soon, we need you!
Agree with first post. Losing Justin changed the dynamics of them game. In all F-the moral victories already. Tyler did a great job with what he had. Our defense did very well,when they actually tackled, but at least were near the ball on the 20 missed tackles. Our running, oops we don't even have one of those, so can not even say anything about that. I did like the fight we had. Glad our young guys have some scars. On to the next,. Stay hungry!
-T-

volnut64 writes:

in response to CroKev:

Our best player, Hunter, gets hurt on his first play and we lose. If Rainey had gotten hurt on the first play, UF loses. If both stay healthy, UT wins.

Congratulations Florida.

Give Me A Break!!!!! Same ole same ole! I wish it were different but its not! At least if all you get rid of Fulmer idiots had kept your mouth shut we would still have won 9 or 10 ball games! We now lose to a UF team that is decent at best and we still lose to Florida and hope we win 7 or 8 ball games at best! Well you got what wanted idiots!!!!!

movol77 writes:

Very disappointing. But at 2-1 we are about where most thought we would be at this point. We are young and things wil only get better. We don't have the developed depth needed yet.

The_Real_Orange writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You just got thumped by a team that is younger than the Vols. Remember how you spouted off that Rainey can't run against an SEC defense? Well, he just slapped a bottom tier SEC defense pretty good. Maybe you need to admit you're wrong and get started on that crow!

thereturnoftriumph writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

Try to win with CLASS, Gator fans and I know there are some that do..Few and far between, but there are a few that actually know how to win.

Smokey says there is always next year and eventually the streak will end..

P+G again you show your class.
if this is in neyland it may have been different.
vols never quit. could have mailed it in.
you have some great young players who had to step up big.
you guys will get some big wins this year.
if i were a Vol fan i would be proud and look forward to the the future.
CDD is the real deal.
ignore the trolls who come on here nd start some s''t. they are not worth the time.
peace
tticd

movol77 writes:

Effective (but questionable sportsmanship) FL defensive strategy - "Hold 'em if you have to....just don't give them a big play."

TennesseeWhiskey writes:

We got beat in all 3 aspects of the game. Losing Hunter hurt, but not an excuse. We've got a long way to go. Keep fighting Big Orange!

movol77 writes:

in response to MikeInTN:

How long will it take U.T. to get back to competing for championships? The years are going by rather quickly, and a lot of us aren't getting any younger. For a program that has tradition, spends an unGodly amount of money on athletics, and it seems like all we've gotten the last several years is a pi$$ poor program. Question: Will Mr. Hart have a decision to make in the next year or two?

Yes, he will ask GVX to require brains for posters.

CroKev writes:

in response to The_Real_Orange:

You just got thumped by a team that is younger than the Vols. Remember how you spouted off that Rainey can't run against an SEC defense? Well, he just slapped a bottom tier SEC defense pretty good. Maybe you need to admit you're wrong and get started on that crow!

If Hunter hadn't gotten hurt and we would have won, I promise you that I would have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER gone on a Gator site and acted like a 5-year old.

Please, if there are any true Vol fans out there who are writing on UF or other SEC sites, PLEASE STOP! You need to get help. It's certainly not the mark of a healthy adult.

516milesfromUT writes:

in response to keviningeorgia:

You guys quit whinning about Tn being "outcoached" and "not ready to play". I even read a couple of need to get rid of Dooley comments.

I can't believe there is a percentage of fans in this group that is ready to throw in the towel because UT lost to Fla today. How many of us REALLY thought UT would beat Fla before the season started?

I hoped they would win. I even bet a little with the 10 points. But, UT is still rebuilding from a rock bottom position. Even better, UT still can win 8 or 9 this year and still accomplish the goals most had hoped for.

Fla. looked good. They still have a full recruiting class of talent on UT and it showed. But, UT is catching up.

Proud of how they fought back. I'm proud of how the coaches got the focus back when they could have folded with the Hunter injury early on.

Lots of work to do in the run game. But, the pass game did very well. And, overall, the defense looked pretty good.

Look forward to the Ga. game in Knoxville. It should be REALLY good.

GO VOLS!

This is a good post.
The only thing i do not like as a Vol fan is shoody mouthed, armchair Vol fans. Stop embarrasing me with the dumb comments about CDD. Be behind the team, or take it in the behind, & shut up! This was a game we were supposed to lose on paper & we did.We did start from the bottom, and we will climb out. It is all you negative fans that keep knocking dirt back in our hole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-T-

Packer_Park_Orange (Inactive) writes:

Before all the inevitable whining and excuse making begins...Let's face facts...This one belongs to Dooley...Dooley/Wilcox/Chaney were out coached in every phase of the game by Muschamp/Weis/Quinn.

As for the injury to Hunter...He didn't play defense..He didn't play on the kicking team...He didn't play running back...He didn't snap the ball.

Now let's hear about our youth...Florida's younger...hum...The truth is as long as Dooley's at UT and Muschamp at Florida, we can forget about next year....We got exactly what we paid for.

Now I'm just waiting for all the Dooleyphiles to remind me again as to how we're going to beat LSU.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

Mr Dooley,sir, you have a lot of work to do. Good luck.

movol77 writes:

in response to simmsagain:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

16, hopefully by the time you turn 17 you will have learned a better reasoning. WE WERE SET BACK 5 YEARS ALREADY WITH YOUR KIND OF REASONING!

ChattMac writes:

We'll absolutely destroy Georgia though. Why, because we know we can and it is later in the year. It would greatly benefit us and would have benefited us every year to play Florida late in the year. They are good at the start and we are not. We are better at the end. Remember 2001??? We won because it was the last game and not the 3rd. I have never understood that, but as long as it is an advantage for Florida, they will never change it..

WoodshedVol writes:

Poor tackling, poor run blocking ... those can be improved upon. Florida beat us with better speed and quickness from down linemen to running back... I effing hate having to wait on another year to play them. I wished we played UF next week. On to UNC... Oh I mean effing Buffalo.

BigO writes:

dropped passes, bad kicking game, poor tackling.. seems like the same issue year after year..... Fulmer would be proud...

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to thereturnoftriumph:

P+G again you show your class.
if this is in neyland it may have been different.
vols never quit. could have mailed it in.
you have some great young players who had to step up big.
you guys will get some big wins this year.
if i were a Vol fan i would be proud and look forward to the the future.
CDD is the real deal.
ignore the trolls who come on here nd start some s''t. they are not worth the time.
peace
tticd

Thanks,triumph for the nice post..Many Gator fans can learn from you.

Smokey says he can make a list of things that killed the Vols but no need to analyze those right now..

vol98champ writes:

Hard to win in the Swamp with only 2 recruiting classes. I thought we gave a good account of ourselves, but PLEASE get a fast, durable running back to commit. Florida also needs much help in the secondary. Most of our problems could be solved if we had a running back.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to simmsagain:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah..that will fix everything!!! NOT!!

dvols writes:

excited to have Tyler Brsy.....!

excited to have coach Dooley as well...

this loss means absolutely nothing!

Prostar writes:

We made enough mistakes today to lose 2 or 3 games and you can't do that against Florida. We don't have the speed that they do, our run blocking is horrible. Without Hunter we don't have a deep threat. Defense can't tackle and when they do they grab the facemask. No kickoffs in the endzone, blocked punt, missed FG. Offensive playcalling was poor, bad decision to go for 2 when you're still behind 3 scores. I sure hope we start coming together soon, I was expecting better.

volfanincarolina writes:

We cannot run the ball and our 5 star kicker cannot kick past the 10 yard line and cannot kick field goals pass the 30 yard line. If we cannot run we will not do well in SEC.

beerme writes:

How many more yards (i.e. TDs) would we have had FL db's not been hanging on our receivers all game(see pass interferance calls on FL).

Defense did well with what they were given.

gotta have something of a run game and special teams.

jcoleman6 writes:

in response to CroKev:

Our best player, Hunter, gets hurt on his first play and we lose. If Rainey had gotten hurt on the first play, UF loses. If both stay healthy, UT wins.

Congratulations Florida.

No Doubt, but when you loose a guy like that and you can't run the ball, you're forced to play from behind and against Florida that's a losing proposition.

We have to get a running game or we'll always be at the bottom half of the SEC.

1965Vol writes:

in response to Packer_Park_Orange:

Before all the inevitable whining and excuse making begins...Let's face facts...This one belongs to Dooley...Dooley/Wilcox/Chaney were out coached in every phase of the game by Muschamp/Weis/Quinn.

As for the injury to Hunter...He didn't play defense..He didn't play on the kicking team...He didn't play running back...He didn't snap the ball.

Now let's hear about our youth...Florida's younger...hum...The truth is as long as Dooley's at UT and Muschamp at Florida, we can forget about next year....We got exactly what we paid for.

Now I'm just waiting for all the Dooleyphiles to remind me again as to how we're going to beat LSU.

So ... if we bring Big Ol' Doofus back will you go away? It might be worth it to get rid of a loser like you.

chattavfl86 writes:

Well oh well, just made it to 75 north outta Gainesville. Still 2-1. Hope we can get the whole run game figured out, but our boys never quit, even with so much adversity. Make no mistake, this is no moral victory, they tried to win until the very end and we all deserve to be disappointed. However, losing here doesn't end our season. Time to go into the bye week, get healthy, get some issues ironed out, and get ready for a rough october. GBO!

keviningeorgia writes:

Gainesville, Fla. titletown? What a joke!

Whoa! Wait a minute! Statesboro, Ga. is "titletown". Ga. Southern has won 6 national titles!

Gainesville, titletown. What arrogance! A Greenbay fan would fall completely out laughing. What a joke!

SunshineVol writes:

Fight on Volunteers!

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to CroKev:

Our best player, Hunter, gets hurt on his first play and we lose. If Rainey had gotten hurt on the first play, UF loses. If both stay healthy, UT wins.

Congratulations Florida.

I've been a Vol fan for a long time and will be for the rest of my life, but you need to take off the orange colored glasses. The gators were better.

crutch1966 writes:

we never gave up. we played hard. we still have work to do. GO VOL'S! AND COACH DOOLEY!

acd4476 writes:

The problem is NOT Dooley and I think he is finally what this team needs. This team missed about 15 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and losing Hunter DID have an affect on the game, maybe just mental, but it still hurt. The team looks promising and I expected a 7-5 season to start and still think thats about right. The only thing I do blame Dooley for is not throwing the ball enough early and for playing Zach Rogers. Zach needs to stay on the sideline and let Arnett play. VFL

Joelomite2j writes:

I wholeheartedly feel that Hunter going down changed the game completely. Tennessee exposed Florida's young secondary with him out it would have really shown with him in. With that being said. Florida exposed our young defense. A.J. not picking up Rainey on the TD was big. I see bright future for VOLS. Gotta get the run game going. Lets go outside more when the inside isnt there. Don't think we had one run outside.

BigO writes:

statistically we should have gotten lucky and won once in the last seven years.. I grow tired of losing........... Coach Dooley... your team may not have scars but I do......

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to keviningeorgia:

You guys quit whinning about Tn being "outcoached" and "not ready to play". I even read a couple of need to get rid of Dooley comments.

I can't believe there is a percentage of fans in this group that is ready to throw in the towel because UT lost to Fla today. How many of us REALLY thought UT would beat Fla before the season started?

I hoped they would win. I even bet a little with the 10 points. But, UT is still rebuilding from a rock bottom position. Even better, UT still can win 8 or 9 this year and still accomplish the goals most had hoped for.

Fla. looked good. They still have a full recruiting class of talent on UT and it showed. But, UT is catching up.

Proud of how they fought back. I'm proud of how the coaches got the focus back when they could have folded with the Hunter injury early on.

Lots of work to do in the run game. But, the pass game did very well. And, overall, the defense looked pretty good.

Look forward to the Ga. game in Knoxville. It should be REALLY good.

GO VOLS!

Could not agree more. The OL could not block well enough to create any real running room. We just have to run well enough to keep defenses honest. Very disappointed in special teams.

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