Recap: Florida at Tennessee
Time-lapse video of Neyland Stadium during Vols' game
Tennessee Stat Book
You have seen it all before, but you still couldn't see this coming.
Not after Tennessee bounced back with two touchdowns after spotting Florida a seven-point lead.
Not after UT's Rajion Neal rushed for 70 first-half yards.
Not after the Vols twice limited Florida to field goals inside the 10-yard line.
All those unexpected developments amounted to nothing more than a big tease Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.
The Gators surged. The Vols folded. The streak continued.
It's eight and counting now. And there's no end in sight after the underdog Gators scored 24 unanswered points in the last quarter and a half for a 37-20 victory.
Florida didn't just pull off an upset. It pulled a couple of new UT nemeses from its deep bag of tricks.
Meet sophomore Jeff Driskel, who answered in spectacular fashion all those quarterback questions that have been dogging the Gators since Tim Tebow departed.
And meet junior fullback Trey Burton, who looked as fast as former UT tormentors Percy Harvin and Brandon James as he outran Marsalis Teague down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown that tied the game at 20-all late in the third quarter.
Driskel completed 14 of 20 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 81 yards on eight carries, mostly when he scrambled out of the pocket against a defense that too often misjudged his speed.
The Vols couldn't get a bead on Burton, either.
He opened the scoring when he lined up at quarterback in the shotgun. When he faked an inside handoff, the entire UT defense quickly took off in the wrong direction. While the alleged ball-carrier headed right, Burton scooted left on a 14-yard touchdown run.
The Vols overcame that. They also overcame three penalties in four plays that threatened to sabotage a 16-play, 76-yard scoring drive.
But they couldn't overcome the Gators' big plays, which reached landslide proportions in the last 20 minutes.
First came Burton's 80-yard TD run. Next, there was a 43-yard run from Mike Gillislee, which led to a 23-yard touchdown pass from Driskel to Jordan Reed.
Later, Driskel teamed up with Frankie Hammond for a 75-yard touchdown pass-and-run. And finally, Gillislee tacked on a 33-yard run that set up a Caleb Sturgis field goal.
"There's no excuses," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "We didn't get it done. Give Florida the credit."
Mostly, give Florida credit for finishing what Tennessee started.
In so many of Florida's eight consecutive victories in the one-sided series, the talent disparity was apparent from the outset. Not this time. For almost three quarters, UT looked superior.
It mounted the kind of running game it has so often lacked in the seven games in the losing streak before Saturday, and made two goal-line stands that ended in Sturgis field goals. It blocked and tackled better. And when it extended its lead to 20-13 with a convincing 81-yard touchdown drive, it seemingly had the Gators' number for the first time since 2004 on the same field.
The Vols spent the rest of the game looking like the same team that lost seven games last season.
The defense missed tackles. Pass protection broke down. Justin Hunter dropped a crucial third-down pass with no Gators in the vicinity. Bray threw seven consecutive incomplete passes.
You have seen it all before.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284. Follow him on Twitter at johnadamskns.com