The Florida Gators rebounded nicely after their close loss to Alabama with a 38-14 win over the Tennessee Volunteers. This was Florida’s first SEC win of the season and it was also their first game against an SEC opponent. Let’s get to our takeaways from the Florida-Tennessee game.
Florida quarterback Emory Jones played his best game of the season Saturday against the Volunteers. Jones had over 200 passing yards and 100+ rushing yards in the game. He became the first Florida quarterback to do that since Tim Tebow in 2009.
Even though Florida won the game by a pretty comfortable margin, Florida got off to another slow start. The Gators started slow against Alabama and dug themselves into a 21-3 hole. This past Saturday, Florida got off to another slow start and was trailing 14-10 in the second quarter.
The Gators also might have found their starting kicker for the rest of the season. Mississippi State transfer Jace Christmann was the only kicker Florida used in the win last Saturday night. Christmann went 5-5 on his extra points and also drilled a 47-yard field goal.
Emory Jones Has Breakout Performance
Florida’s starting quarterback Emory Jones shined in his last game against the Tennessee Volunteers. Jones put up over 340 yards of total offense last Saturday against the Volunteers. Jones completed 21 out of 27 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
He also led the Gators in rushing with 144 yards on fifteen rushing attempts. Jones was really progressed in every game he’s played and also didn’t have a turnover for the first time this season. Jones was also named SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week. He’ll have another tough test coming up this weekend against the Kentucky Wildcats in a hostile environment.
Another Slow Start For The Gators
Dan Mullen, and just about any football coach, preaches about playing a full four quarters but that hasn’t been the case for the Gators lately. Florida once again got off to a slow start and were even trailing in the second quarter.
Trailing 14-10 in the second quarter, Florida was able to score 28 unanswered points and cruise past the Tennessee Volunteers. While Florida was able to get away with a slow start this time, they cannot avoid to dig themselves in a hole early in the game.
Florida is going to play better teams that Tennessee and they cannot afford to wait until late in the second quarter or second half to get things going. Good teams are going to take advantage of that and dig Florida in too big of a hole for them to climb out of like Alabama did two games ago.
Florida Might Have Found Their Starting Kicker
Since the 2016 season, the Florida Gators have had two excellent kickers who are currently in the NFL. Eddy Pinero was the #1 JUCO kicker in the country and was originally committed to Alabama before flipping to Florida. Pinero had an excellent career at Florida. In the NFL, Pinero has made 23 out of 28 kicks which equals an 82.1 field goal percentage.
Former Mississippi State commit Evan McPherson was Mullen’s first flip as the Florida head coach. McPherson was a three-starter at Florida before getting drafted in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Going into this season, Florida had a walk-on kicker, Chris Howard, who started the first three games of the season. They also added Mississippi State graduate transfer Jace Christmann but Howard beat him out for the starting role.
That all changed when Howard missed an extra point that might have cost Florida a chance to knock off the Alabama Crimson Tide. Christmann got the start last Saturday against Tennessee and was perfect. He made all of his extra points and even made a 47-yard field that gave Florida a 10-7 lead early in the game.