Complete Team Win

The Tennessee marching band usually fires up "Rocky Top" more than 30 times a game, but they didn't have much to play for on Saturday afternoon with the Gators dominating the Vols from the very first play. Florida picked up its fourth straight win against Tennessee with a 30-6 win over the Vols.

From the opening kick during Saturday's SEC East clash between the No. 4 ranked Gators and Tennessee, Florida's (3-0, 1-0 SEC) showed the Vols (1-2, 0-1 SEC) they had no business being on the same field with the Gators. While Tennessee was creating new ways to keep themselves out of the end zone, the Gators were making good on their own mishaps.

Return specialist Brandon James misplayed the opening kick of the game. But instead of falling on it and setting the Gators up with crummy field position, he scooped it up and ran 52 yards to put the Gators in great position for their first touchdown.

Later in the first quarter, James abused the Tennessee punt coverage unit when he went 78 yards for a touchdown. It was his fourth return for a touchdown tying a Gator record, and his second against Tennessee in as many games. He finished with two punt returns for 92 yards and a kick return for 52 yards.

Every time Tennessee seemed to show any life against the Gators, they shot themselves in the foot. From fumbles on the 2-yard line, failed fourth down conversions inside the five and costly penalties, Tennessee couldn't get anything going.

That was not the case for Florida. After James' big kick return to start the game, the Gator offense put together a solid scoring drive to take an early 7-0 lead. Tim Tebow, who completed 8-of-15 passes for only 96 yards, hit a wide open Aaron Hernandez (2 catches, 15 yards, 1 TD) on his famous jump pass play.

The Gators added another three points after Janoris Jenkins (2 tackles, 1 INT) forced a Tennessee fumble inside their own 20-yard line. The Gators had to settle for a field goal, but it was obvious to the 106,000-plus at Neyland Stadium that it was going to be a long afternoon.

The Florida defense had its third big game answering any and all questions from the preseason. Safety Ahmad Black kept the Volunteers out of the end zone when he jumped a pass from Vols quarterback Jonathan Crompton. The Gators held a strong Tennessee ground attack to less than 100 yards, and forced two turnovers. Florida held the Vols to 258 yards of total offense and held them scoreless for more than three quarters.

Brandon Spikes had a big game, leading all players with 10 tackles. Major Wright and Joe Haden had eight tackles apiece.

The Gator offense only gained 243 yards of total offense, but Tebow managed the game well. The Gator special teams put the offense in great field position all game long. Florida's average starting field position was on their 37 yard line and that included two drives that started from inside of their five.

Running back Emmanuel Moody had an impressive showing, carrying nine times for a team high 55 yards. Moody ran hard, protected the football and picked up substantial yardage after contact. Six of Moody's runs went for five or more yards.

Percy Harvin began to look like the Harvin of old and showed no signs of last year's foot injury. Harvin carried six times for 31 yards. He also caught two passes for 49 yards and a touchdown, including a 34-yard reception over the middle on a 3rd-and-19 situation.

Tebow's numbers continue to be less than impressive even though he continues to get the job done. He carried a team-high 12 times for 26 yards and his longest run was only seven yards. But he picked up key yardage, helping the Gators convert on 8-of-13 third downs.

Florida returns to The Swamp next Saturday to face SEC West opponent Ole Miss.


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