Vols played to win against Gators

Tennessee never gave up. The Vols gave seventh-ranked Florida a scare Saturday, before dropping a 14-point decision to the Gators. Urban Meyer accused Tennessee of not playing to win last year, but that can't be said today. This game was much closer than the score shows. Go "Inside" to get our thoughts on the game.

A year ago Urban Meyer accused last year's Tennessee coaching staff of playing not to lose the ball game.

He can't say that today.

Derek Dooley's squad stayed close through the game, so what was Meyer was thinking when the Vols tied the game in the third quarter on a 48-yard pass play from Matt Simms to Denarius Moore.

If it wasn't for a little trickery on Meyer's part with the Gator's fake punt, the Vols defense had seemed to stop Florida with a chance of getting the ball back.

Instead, Florida ultimately capitalized on the fake punt to go ahead 17-10.

While only trailing by seven, this was the critical play of the game.

With his back against the wall, Simms threw an interception, and Florida punched it in a few plays later to take a commanding 24-10 lead over the Volunteers.

Sound familiar?

Exactly the same scenario that led to the Vols falling apart against Oregon last week.

Instead of putting their heads down and quitting like they did last week, this young Vols team responded.

Austin Johnson came up with a Florida fumble, giving the Vols a second breath of life.

Simms completed a crucial play to Luke Stocker to set up a fourth and three, and on the next play Simms found true freshman Justin Hunter for the touchdown.

Playing not to win, I don't think so.

Even the television announcers were saying that the better team began to wear down the hungry upset-prone Vols.

That's all this sold-out Tennessee crowd needed to get back into the ball game.

The difference in this ballgame was experience vs. inexperience.

When Florida needed a big play to convert, the Gators expected to make it and it showed.

Tennessee gave it everything it had to stay in the game, but the Vols inexperience showed on a couple of occasions.

This is a young Tennessee team that appears to be getting better every week, or at least it did this one.

Now Dooley's young Vols must gain some much needed confidence in certain situations.

One thing that can definitely be said this week as opposed to last week is that the Vols didn't quit no matter what the score was.

Tennessee dropped a 14-point game to the Gators, and it was a seven-point ball game with less than six minutes left in the contest.

Now, it's time to continue to work hard and get better each week.

Mission accomplished this week as far as improving, and now this team has to find a way to finish and win.

The Vols definitely played to win today and just came up a little bit short.


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