After a close loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Florida Gators are back in the Swamp for their first SEC East matchup of the 2021 season. We get Florida vs. Tennessee this Saturday at 7pm EST.
The Volunteers come into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with a 2-1 record on the season. They have two wins against Bowling Green and Tennessee Tech. Their only loss of the season came in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Florida-Tennessee rivalry has been one of the most historic rivalries in SEC history but, Florida has had the upper hand in the past two decades. Since 2005, Florida has won every game against Tennessee expect when the Volunteers won in 2016. Florida is currently 30-20 all-time against Tennessee
The Volunteers will be on the road for the first time this season and play against the Gators in the Swamp. The Volunteers will be led by their head coach, Josh Heupel, who’s in his first season as Tennessee’s head football coach.
The Tennessee offense should be led by graduate transfer quarterback out of Michigan, Joe Milton. The Orlando native has started two games for the Volunteers this season but could be out with an injury.
If Milton is unavailable to play, senior quarterback Hendon Hooker will get the start for the Vols. The Virginia Tech transfer has played well for Tennessee when called upon with 392 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Junior running back Tiyon Evans is the lead rusher for the Volunteers. The former JUCO running back has 161 rushing yards on 31 attempts and two touchdowns. Sophomore Jabari Small has also ran the ball well for Tennessee as he has 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Redshirt-senior wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. leads the Volunteers offense in receiving. Jones has six receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt-junior tight end Jacob Warren leads the Volunteers in receiving touchdowns with two.
On defense, Tennessee has played some excellent defense but will have a tall task against the Florida offense. The Gators are averaging 553 total yards of offense per game and are also averaging 35.3 pointer per game.
Safety Theo Jackson is currently Tennessee’s leader on defense. Jackson leads the Volunteers in tackles with 25 tackles. He also has six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and five pass breakups.
Sophomore Tyler Baron has also played a key role for the Volunteers on defense. The hometown kid nine tackles on the season including three solos. Baron also has four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Florida Gators Offense
The Florida Gators will look to rebound from their 31-29 loss to Alabama with Tennessee coming to town. Florida offense will be led by their redshirt-junior quarterback Emory Jones and we could also see some Anthony Richardson this game.
Emory Jones might have played his best game last weekend against the Crimson Tide. Jones looked very comfortable in the pocket and able to make some plays with arm and legs. He had over 250 yards of total offense with one rushing touchdown.
Gainesville native quarterback Anthony Richardson was dressed but did not play in the loss to Alabama due to a hamstring he suffered during the USF game. Richardson is expected to get some playing time this week but has an MRI on Friday to see how healthy the hamstring is.
The Gators offense will also feature the #2 ranked rushing offense in the country. As a team, Florida is averaging 336 rushing yards per game. While Richardson leads Florida in rushing, there are other backs that have played very well this season.
Seniors Malik Davis and Dameon Pierce have also been Florida’s main two ball carriers. Davis has 212 rushing yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns. Pierce has 110 rushing yards on eighteen carries and five touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Jacob Copeland leads the Florida offense in receiving. Copeland has seven receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore wide out Xzavier Henderson also has five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Florida Gators Defense
The Florida defense got off to a really bad start last Saturday but ended up playing a pretty good game against the Crimson Tide. Junior linebacker Mohamoud Diabate leads the Gators in tackles with eighteen. He also has seven solo tackles, half a sack and one QB hurry.
Sixth year senior Jeremiah Moon has found his home at middle linebacker and has really stepped up for the injured Ventrell Miller. Moon has sixteen tackles with six solo tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two QB hurries. Defensive end Zachary Carter is another Gator that’s been dominate on defense. Carter has ten tackles with five solo, six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
Five Players to Watch: Tennessee Volunteers
- WR Velus Jones Jr.
- S Theo Jackson
- QB Hendon Hooker
- DL Tyler Baron
- RB Tiyon Evans
Five Players to Watch: Florida Gators
- RB Dameon Pierce
- DE Zachary Carter
- QB Emory Jones
- LB Jeremiah Moon
- WR Jacob Copeland
- Emory Jones has over 300 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.
- Tennessee plays both quarterbacks again.
- Florida’s defense gets at least three sacks.
- Velus Jones Jr. leads the Volunteers in receiving with a touchdown.
- Florida Gators beats Tennessee Volunteers 38-20.