After getting shocked by the Miami Hurricanes in Week 2, Florida hosts Tennessee on Saturday, aiming to put the past in the rear view mirror.
In the 21-16 loss to the Hurricanes, the Gators (1-1) posted 413 yards of total offense but committed five turnovers, including two interceptions and fumble by quarterback Jeff Driskel. Running back Mack Brown rushed for just 29 yards and 10 carries after exploding in Florida's season opener.
Tennessee (2-1) won its first two games but was torn apart by Oregon in Week 3, 59-14. Oregon posted 687 yards of total offense as dual-threat quarterback Marcus Mariota passed for 456 yards and four touchdowns while adding a score on the ground.
So, as both teams look to get back on track, who will emerge victorious in Gainesville?
*Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com
When: Saturday, Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Florida -16.5
Tennessee Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: WR Devrin Young (Wrist), CB Riyahd Jones (Calf)
Doubtful: DT Trevarris Saulsberry (Knee), LB Curt Maggitt (Knee)
Questionable: WR Pig Howard (Undisclosed), S Michael L. Williams (Undisclosed), DE Maurice Couch (Eligibility)
Probable: DE Corey Vereen (Knee)
Florida Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: DB Nick Washington (Shoulder), OT Chaz Green (Shoulder), LB Matt Rolin (Knee), WR Andre Debose (Knee)
Questionable: WR Solomon Patton (Undisclosed), DE Jordan Sherit (Knee), G Jon Halapio (Pectoral), WR Latroy Pittman (Disciplinary)
Probable: OL Tyler Moore (Ankle), DE Dante Fowler Jr. (Hip), QB Jeff Driskel (Knee), CB Marcus Roberson (Knee), OT DJ Humphries (Knee)
Top Storyline: The Play of Jeff Driskel
Florida has won its last eight matchups against Tennessee by an average margin of 19 points. That includes a 37-20 victory last season after falling behind 20-13 in the third quarter.
But, if Jeff Driskel plays like he did against the Hurricanes in Week 2, Tennessee has a chance.
Driskel ranks No. 14 in the nation in completion percentage, but that tends to be overshadowed when you are turning the ball over at such a high rate.
The Volunteers were dominated by Marcus Mariota and Oregon in Week 3, but they compiled seven interceptions in their first two games (albeit against Austin Peay and Western Kentucky). They posted 12 interceptions all of last season.
Tennessee has shown it can be beat on the ground the past two weeks, so Florida will likely employ a run-heavy strategy. But when Driskel is asked to throw, he can't be throwing the ball away.
Prediction: Florida 24, Tennessee 13
As long as Florida employs its rushing attack and Jeff Driskel takes care of the ball, the Gators should take care of the Volunteers for a ninth straight time.
Mack Brown should get back on track against a forgiving run defense as the Gators defense clamps down on a Tennessee offense that struggled against Oregon in Week 3. Driskel simply needs to be a game manager in this one.
The Volunteers rank No. 87 in the nation in yards per carry allowed. Florida held a high-powered Hurricanes offense to 21 points despite all the turnovers, as 11 of Miami's 14 drives managed fewer than five yards.
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