Florida vs. Tennessee: Key Matchups That Will Lead to a Vols Victory

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIISeptember 15, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31:  Juston Burris #11 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack breaks up a pass intended for Justin Hunter #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Georgia Dome on August 31, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 18th-ranked Florida Gators travel to Knoxville to take on the 23rd-ranked Tennessee Volunteers in this SEC clash.

This is the first time since 2007 that both teams have entered this game ranked, and the Gators have won the last seven meetings. The average margin of victory in those seven games was 15.3 points.

But the Vols are in the midst of one of their better seasons in recent years, and they won't be a pushover.

In fact, some of the matchups make it very clear that it will be the Vols who come out on top when all is said and done.

Read on to find out why.


CB Marcus Roberson vs WR Justin Hunter

The 6'1" Roberson is going to have his hands full with the 6'4" Hunter. In their last meeting, Roberson was called for two pass interference penalties. That won't cut it. Hunter is healthy now, and already has 219 receiving yards on 17 receptions. That's 31 yards per catch. 

Hunter is poised for a big game. Not only is there a height difference, there is also a talent difference; Hunter could be the first receiver taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. 


RB Mike Gillislee vs NT Daniel McCullers

Mike Gillislee is the core of the Gators offense. So far this season, he's run for 231 yards on 38 carries with four touchdowns. That's a healthy six yards per carry.

The Volunteers have a formidable defender to help stop him. Daniel McCullers is a transfer from Georgia Military Academy and is huge. At 6'6", 377 pounds, McCullers is almost impossible to stop.

If the Gators can't neutralize McCullers, Gillislee will have nowhere to go. McCullers is ready for the challenge: [via The Chattanooga Times Free Press]

They're going to need me in the middle because they like to run a lot," McCullers said earlier this week. "I'm going to be the big presence in the middle and help stop the run. We're going to be ready for it.

It's a big game, and they're a power running team, so I'll be happy to get my snaps and go hard every play.

McCullers is the type of player that most SEC defenses don't have. Gillslee could be in for a rude awakening.


TE Jordan Reed vs S Byron Moore

This is one matchup that might favor the Gators. Jordan Reed has established himself as the premier offensive weapon for Florida. He has eight catches for 92 yards so far this season. 

Moore, on the other hand, gives up three inches and over 50 pounds to the tight end. 

Of course, Moore won't be alone in his coverage, as the Vols will be do what they can to limit Reed's impact.

Still, if Moore struggles, Reed could have a big day.



These aren't the Vols of the past few years. They are a much improved team who have the pieces to finally take down the Gators. Look for the Vols to win this one 24-14.