Tennessee Football 2012: Keys to Victory in Big Matchup Against Florida

Jason EllisContributor IIISeptember 11, 2012

Tennessee will need a big game from quarterback Tyler Bray to defeat the Gators.
Tennessee will need a big game from quarterback Tyler Bray to defeat the Gators.Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

The Tennessee Volunteers have roared out to a 2-0 start in this young football season with decisive victories over NC State and Georgia State, but the tougher tests are yet to come. 

Standing in the way of 3-0 and a potential return to past glory is a most hated rival, the Florida Gators. 

The hopes of the Volunteer faithful have been dashed by the Gators time and again.  They are also a team that has defeated the Vols the last seven times they have played. 

This Saturday's game is make-or-break for the Volunteers.  If they are to make a return to past prominence, they must win this game. 

There are several key things Tennessee needs to do to defeat Florida in this game, the first of which is to run the ball effectively.  The trio of Young, Neil and Lane needs to maximize every carry they get in the game.  They don’t necessarily have to make big gains on every touch, but they must do enough to keep the Florida defense honest. 

The Tennessee defense will have to do a better job of defending the pass in the early going of this game.  It hasn't given up a ton of yards (288 vs. NC State, 176 vs. Georgia State), but most of those yards came in the middle of the defense or on big plays.  Bending but not breaking will not work against Florida. 

The biggest key to winning this game for the Vols is their dynamic offense.  "Shock and awe" is the name it is given, and that is exactly what it will need to be.  Tennessee has the ability to strike quickly with Tyler Bray passing to Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson.  With this type of attack, Tennessee has the opportunity to have the Gators reeling.

If the Vols are able to execute these things, they should come out with the biggest win this program has had in a while, and a win here will go a long way in getting Tennessee back to where it has been in the past.