Eleven Years of Florida vs. Tennessee

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College GameDay heads to Knoxville this week for a showdown between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Vols. The Gators own an 11-game win streak in the series. I’ll take a look at this year’s game later this week, but in the meantime, here is a look back at the last 11 years of Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers. Games in odd years were played in The Swamp and even years at Neyland Stadium. The spreads of each game are included, followed by the result.

  • 2005 – Florida -6.5, 16-7

Florida head coach Urban Meyer celebrates with the victory over Tennessee September 17, 2005 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Florida won, 16-7. (Photo by Charles Sonnenblick/WireImage)
Florida head coach Urban Meyer celebrates with the victory over Tennessee September 17, 2005 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Florida won, 16-7. (Photo by Charles Sonnenblick/WireImage)

The streak began in Urban Meyer’s first season in Gainesville, as the Vols came in ranked fourth in the country to welcome Meyer to the SEC. The seventh-ranked Gators struck first on an Andre Caldwell run before Erik Ainge tied it up in the second quarter on a short pass to Bret Smith. Dee Webb blocks a Vol field goal at the end of the second quarter to keep things even going into half. In the third quarter, Vol punter Britton Colquitt makes one of the game’s more bizarre plays, deciding on his own to throw the ball on fourth down on the Tennessee 32, instead of kicking it away. The Gators bait him into the throw, leaving a gunner uncovered late, and Tony Joiner knocks the pass down coming over from the middle of the field. The Gators take over in great field position, but the second half is a defensive struggle causing the Gators to settle for a Chris Hetland field goal on the following drive. On Tennessee’s next drive, Colquitt punts for eight yards, setting up the third and final Gator field goal of the half to make it 16-7.

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 16: Wide receiver Dallas Baker #81 of the Florida Gators scores the winning touchdown against defensive back Antwan Stewart #24 of the Tennessee Volunteers in the fourth quarter on September 16, 2006 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Gators won 21-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 16: Wide receiver Dallas Baker #81 of the Florida Gators scores the winning touchdown against defensive back Antwan Stewart #24 of the Tennessee Volunteers in the fourth quarter on September 16, 2006 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Gators won 21-20. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Before the Gators went on to dismantle Ohio State to win the 2006 National Championship, they had to survive a scare in Knoxville. The 13th ranked Vols are held to eleven yards rushing on the day, but they score on a 48-yard wide receiver pass to LaMarcus Coker in the second quarter and open up a 10-point lead five minutes into the third quarter. Tim Tebow’s legend really begins in this game, as he picks up a fourth and one on a power run two plays before Chris Leak throws across the field to find Dallas Baker for their second touchdown connection of the half. A Vol defensive back falls down as the ball is in the air, and Baker beats the safety to the pylon to claim the lead. Reggie Nelson seals the victory for the seventh-ranked Gators on the ensuing drive, intercepting an Ainge pass up the seam with a little less than three minutes remaining.

  • 2007 – Florida -7, 59-20

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 20: Brandon James #25 of the Florida Gators celebrates as he returns a punt for a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during their game at Neyland Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 20: Brandon James #25 of the Florida Gators celebrates as he returns a punt for a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during their game at Neyland Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Vols receive the opening kickoff, and it doesn’t take long for the game to become a Brandon James, Percy Harvin, and Tim Tebow showcase. The Vols go three-and-out on their first drive, and Brandon James takes the punt 83 yards to the house; the route is on. The three sophomores rack up over 600 all-purpose yards on the way to recording the most lopsided game in the streak to date. The Vols are once again stifled on the ground, recording 37 rushing yards. Even Cam Newton scores for the Gators in mop up time as the third-ranked Gators obliterate the 24th ranked Vols.

2008 – Florida -7, 30-6

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators looks to throw against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators looks to throw against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Gators come into Knoxville ranked fourth in the country, playing an unranked Tennessee team in what would eventually be legendary coach Phil Fulmer’s last year. Brandon James bobbles the opening kickoff before returning it 52 yards, and the game suddenly feels a lot like 2007 for both teams. The Gators go on to cap the drive with a Tim Tebow jump pass to Aaron Hernandez. Later in the first quarter, James shakes at least five defenders on his way to a 78-yard punt return touchdown to put the Gators up 17-0. The Jonathan Crompton also commits two costly turnovers inside the Gators’ one-yard line that could have kept the game close, losing a fumble that Carlos Dunlap recovers and throwing an interception to Janoris Jenkins.

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Enter Lane Kiffin. Fulmer’s replacement infamously brags in his introductory press conference that he will, “sing Rocky Top all night,” after beating the defending national champion, number one-ranked Gators in Gainesville. He also calls Urban Meyer a cheat, accusing him of committing violations in the recruitment of Nu’Keese Richardson, who went on the play at Tennessee. Things don’t quite go as planned for Kiffin, as the Gators handle the Vols despite Tebow failing to record a touchdown pass, breaking a 30-game streak. However, the Gator quarterback makes plays with his feet anytime the game was in question. Post-game, Meyer jabs back at Kiffin for making conservative play calls late in the game, down by 17, in an effort to, “keep it close,” instead of trying to win.

2010 – Florida -14, 31-17

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 18: Omarius Hines #82 of the Florida Gators fights for extra yardage against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Florida won 31-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 18: Omarius Hines #82 of the Florida Gators fights for extra yardage against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Florida won 31-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Kiffin exits Knoxville after the 2009 season for Southern Cal, and the Vols replace him with Derek Dooley. The Gators also say goodbye to Tebow and hello to John Brantley, who brings the seventh-ranked Gators to Neyland to face an unranked Vols team. With the game tied at 10 in the third quarter, Meyer decides to pull one over on Dooley, who might be distracted by his own bright orange pants. The Gators fake a punt on their own 34-yard line, and Omarius Hines takes it 36 yards on the ground to sustain the drive. Brantley connects with Frankie Hammond for a touchdown to finish the drive. On the next possession, Jeremy Brown intercepts a Matt Simms pass, and the Gators score five plays later to go up 14. The Vols cut the deficit back to 7 with 11 minutes remaining, but the Gators ice the game on a Trey Burton rushing touchdown with six minutes to play.

  • 2011 – Florida -10, 33-23

    GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Chris Rainey #1 of the Florida Gators is chased by defensive lineman Malik Jackson #97 of the Tennessee Volunteers during a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Chris Rainey #1 of the Florida Gators is chased by defensive lineman Malik Jackson #97 of the Tennessee Volunteers during a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

    Urban Meyer’s anxiety and depression issues lead him to resign from the Gators after 2010 and the Gators hire Will Muschamp away from Texas to take over the program. The Gators enter the game ranked 16th in the country and the Vols are unranked. Brantley hits Trey Burton on a play action pass to score on the opening drive and the Gators build a 30-7 lead almost half way through the third quarter. Chris Rainey runs for 108 yards, notches 104 yards receiving, and blocks a punt in the game. Tyler Bray also throws two touchdowns late in the game for the Vols but they once again log terrible numbers on the ground, rushing for 27 yards on the day before factoring in three sacks.

  • 2012 – Tennessee -3, 37-20

  • KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: Trey Burton #8 of the Florida Gators runs in for the touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half of play at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
    KNOXVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 15: Trey Burton #8 of the Florida Gators runs in for the touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half of play at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

    Both teams come into the SEC East showdown ranked for the first time since 2006; the Gators are 18th and the Vols 23rd. Bray is intercepted on the opening drive of the game, and Burton opens scoring three plays later on a fourteen-yard run out of a wildcat formation. The Vols work their way to a 20-13 lead halfway through the third quarter but are unable to hold off the Gators. Florida fails on a fake punt attempt on their next drive before forcing the Vols to punt it back for a touchback. On the next play from scrimmage, Burton busts a run up the right sideline and beats Marsalis Teague in a footrace, finishing him off with a stiff arm for good measure to tie the game at 20. Jeff Driskel hits Jordan Reed for a touchdown with under a minute left in the third quarter to put the Gators up for good. Frankie Hammond seals the win with ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter, taking a 6-yard hook route another 69 yards to put the Gators up two possessions.

  • 2013 – Florida -16.5, 31-17

  • GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 21: Coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers questions side judge Chris Conley about a fumble in the 1st quarter against the Florida Gators September 21, 2013 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators won 31 - 17. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 21: Coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers questions side judge Chris Conley about a fumble in the 1st quarter against the Florida Gators September 21, 2013 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators won 31 – 17. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

    Tennessee decides they need to make a head coaching change and bring in the King of Coach Speak, Butch Jones, to rebuild the program brick by brick. Jones’ work as the Vols’ mason get off to a slow start as the Vols are demolished by Oregon the week before coming into Gainesville unranked, yet again, to face the 19th ranked Gators. Jeff Driskel starts the game with a sprained left knee and exits in the first quarter with a broken right leg. The Gators continue with junior Tyler Murphy, whose only previous pass attempt came on a two-point conversion in the Gators’ 2013 opener against UMass. Murphy only attempts 14 passes in the game as the Gators opt to keep it on the ground, racking up 215 rushing yards to the Vols’ 66.

    The Vols quarterback play turns out to be the real decider in the game. Jones gives Nathan Peterman his first career start instead of Justin Worley. Peterman throws two interceptions and gives up a fumble before getting benched for Worley at halftime. Worley adds two more pics on the day and the game is over by the halfway point in the third quarter.

  • 2014 – Tennessee -1, 10-9

  • KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 4: Dante Fowler Jr. #6 of the Florida Gators gestures toward fans in the closing seconds of the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Florida defeated Tennessee 10-9. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 4: Dante Fowler Jr. #6 of the Florida Gators gestures toward fans in the closing seconds of the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Florida defeated Tennessee 10-9. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

    Both teams enter the game unranked with Driskel and Worley as the starting quarterbacks. They go on to combine for five interceptions in a game that would make any defensive coordinator salivate. Despite the turnovers, neither team can put the ball in the end zone in the first three quarters. Tennessee takes a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter behind three Aaron Medley field goals. However, the Gators start the fourth quarter with the ball after Teez Tabor, formerly known as Jalen, forces and recovers a Worley fumble on a corner blitz.

    Then, Muschamp replaces a struggling Driskel with freshman Treon Harris out of Miami’s powerhouse Booker T. Washington High School. Gator fans in attendance erupt in applause although the real celebration is still to come. Harris completes his first pass attempt and takes a designed quarterback keeper ten yards on the next play to make it first and goal. The Gators pound it in with Matt Jones two plays later with just under 14 minutes left in the game. Tennessee punts on the next drive. Harris is lucky to avoid an interception two plays later. After that, Jones and Harris keep it on the ground and get the ball to the Tennessee 32 for fourth down with six and a half minutes remaining.

    Muschamp trots out kicker Austin Hardin to attempt a 49-yard field goal for the lead. Although Hardin finishes his Florida career 16/36 (44%) on field goal attempts, the Gators can do no wrong against the Vols, and he nails the kick, giving the Gators a 10-9 lead. Tennessee has two drives to answer but Keanu Neal intercepts Worley with 51 seconds remaining. The Gators take the victory formation to seal the win; however, there’s still some drama as Tennessee jumps offside to take the snap from Florida’s center. The penalty is properly called and the Gators proceed to run out the clock. In the post-game interview, Muschamp notes that it’s, “great to see all these [Vol fans] out here getting disappointed.”

  • 2015 – Tennessee -1, 28-27

  • GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Antonio Callaway #81 of the Florida Gators scores the winning touchdown during a game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 26: Antonio Callaway #81 of the Florida Gators scores the winning touchdown during a game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    Despite continuing the Gators’ streak against Tennessee, Muschamp’s success at Florida is limited and the Gators move on after the 2014 season. New head coach Jim McElwain puts his stamp on the Gators in 2015, leading them to an SEC Championship game appearance. However, he borrows a page out of Muschamp’s book, keeping things dramatic and a little chippy against Tennessee. At the end of the game, he concludes that, “I think down deep, [Gators] just don’t lose to Tennessee. And they didn’t.”

    The Vols ride solid rushing efforts from Jalen Hurd and Josh Dobbs — along with a well-designed throwback to Dobbs — to a 27-14 lead with 10 minutes on the clock. The Gators respond with a methodical, 17-play drive, converting on two fourth downs along the way to a Will Grier touchdown pass to Brandon Powell, leaving four minutes in the game. The Gator defense is put to the test trying trying to stop the Vol rushing attack with the game on the line. Hurd runs for two yards on first down and another two on second down, leaving the Vols with third and six on their own 19. On third down, Dobbs takes the snap, runs to the right and is engulfed by five Gator defenders. The Gators get the ball back on their own 41 with just over two minutes remaining.

    A screen pass for a loss of four, a dropped pass, and a throwaway by Grier leave the Gators in fourth and 14. By now, most Florida fans are admitting defeat, taking solace in the fact they can leave their shoes on when showing Vol fans how long it’s been since they beat the Gators. Then, it happens. The Vols rush three on fourth down and Grier delivers a strike to Antonio Callaway on an 18-yard hook. Callaway isn’t done either. He spins out to the sideline and outruns everyone for another 45 yards, with the help of a block from Powell, who is coming back toward the line of scrimmage from a deep route. 28-27 Gators and The Swamp is rocking.

    It’s not over though; the Vols have 1:26 on the clock to respond. Tennessee makes it to the Florida 32-yardline, where their last timeout saves them from a game-ending clock runoff for an illegal substitution penalty. The Vols get backed up five yards and send Medley out to attempt a 55-yard field goal from the right hash.

    The snap is up, the hold is good, and the kick is ten yards wide right. The crowd goes nuts! But wait . . . McElwain calls his last timeout before the snap because the Gators have twelve men on the field. Round 2. This time, the ball is inexplicably spotted three yards inside the right hash instead of on the hast like the original attempt. This time, Medley misses by about six inches, wide right. The Vol sideline thinks it’s good. Long enough for Butch Jones to jump up and down in celebration before reality hits him like a bag full of all those bricks he’s been laying.

    Eleven in a row.

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