UF/UT: Odds and Ends

Florida's resounding win over Tennessee had little in common with their last home triumph against the Vols, a tense defensive struggle in 2005. There was one similarity though, which was the victory coming at a high price physically.

In 2005, wide receiver Andre Caldwell and defensive lineman Ray McDonald were lost for the year to injuries in the win, and several of the current Gators were knocked out of Saturday's game. The most severely injured player appeared to be freshman linebacker/safety Jerimy Finch, who grabbed his first career interception, but injured his leg on the play. Finch was wheeled off on a cart with his leg in a splint.

"Jerimy Finch is not good," Urban Meyer said. "I want to wait until tomorrow, but there's a chance he'll be out for a while."

The news may be somewhat more encouraging for freshman starting right guard Maurkice Pouncey, as Meyer indicated his x-rays were negative. Pouncey left for the locker room ten minutes into the game after suffering a leg injury painful enough that he fell back to the ground after struggling to his feet and attempting to walk on it.

Cornerback Markihe Anderson didn't start the game and has been bothered by a knee injury. He left the field in clear discomfort after being involved in a tackle. Fortunately for Anderson, Meyer believes the injury, which knocked him from the game, is only a bruise.


This is the first year Florida has ever scored 45 or more in each of their first three games. The Gators also have scored the highest point total against a ranked team so far this year with 59. Tennessee entered the game ranked No. 22 in the polls. The Gators next game with a ranked opponent will almost certainly be against the team whose mark they broke - LSU posted 48 in their pummeling of Virginia Tech last week.


While Florida's defense held Tennessee to 298 yards, some better tackling early in the game could have lowered both that number and the Vols point total significantly. Free safety Kyle Jackson missed tackles on back-to-back 15- and 16-yard pass plays, the first coming on a third-and-long and allowing the conversion.

After that, the senior was pulled from the game and not seen again. Freshman replacement Major Wright was credited with six tackles for the game, while Jackson did not register one. Linebacker Dustin Doe, who had a strong game overall, also allowed an extra 20 yards to Vol receiver Austin Rogers with a whiffed tackle early in the second quarter. Both drives ended in field goals for UT's only two scores prior to the final minute of the first half.


On a day where Florida posted 59 points, the third quarter blues somehow continued for the UF offense. The Gators have scored just seven on offense in that quarter this year, although Dustin Doe's fumble recovery and return did get the Gators a touchdown in the quarter.


After Florida's linebackers struggled against the run in practice Wednesday, co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Charlie Strong decided to give them extra reps on Thursday.

Mattison said Florida normally doesn't do run drills on defense that late in the week. They might want to do it again after limiting Tennessee to 37 net yards on the ground. According to Doe, since Florida's first two opponents didn't feature a conventional running game the linebackers really didn't get a lot of work on playing their assignments. He credits the extra day of work with sharpening their recognition of their responsibilities.


The Gator victory over Tennessee wasn't their only win of the weekend. Florida's strength of schedule picked up a pair of unexpected boosts.

Last week's victim Troy demolished Oklahoma State 41-23 Friday night, and the November out of conference cupcake Florida Atlantic continued the Big Ten's embarrassing September with a 42-39 upset of Minnesota. Not everything was ideal for UF, as future SEC opponent Auburn fell to 1-2 for the year with a stunning home loss against Mississippi State.


Florida's back-to-back basketball national champs were presented their 2007 rings prior to the game. Billy Donovan briefly addressed the crowd.

"I'm so happy to still be in Gainesville," he said. "Go Gators!"

Being an NBA player now doesn't appear to have diminished Joakim Noah's school spirit, as he pointed and did the Gator Chomp in the direction of the Volunteer fan section for 20 yards or so as he walked off the field.

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