SEC Football

Tennessee vs. Florida: Gators Will Extend Winning Streak vs. Volunteers

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Dominique Easley #2 of the Florida Gators celebrates after sacking Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Louisville Cardinals in the first quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2013

The Florida Gators have won eight straight games against SEC-rival Tennessee, per ESPN Stats & Info, an impressive streak that certainly won't end this weekend in The Swamp.

No. 19 Florida will host Tennessee in one of Week 4's marquee showdowns in Gainesville, where the Volunteers have dropped four consecutive meetings with the Gators going back to 2005. In those games, Tennessee has been outscored 131-63.

Even in Knoxville the Gators have had their way against the Volunteers, winning four straight at Neyland Stadium, including a 17-point win in 2012.

But momentum in the series won't be enough for Florida to improve its streak to nine in a row this weekend. The Gators' stout defense will be the biggest key to the game. In their Week 2 loss to Miami (FL), the Gators gave up 21 points and were done in by five turnovers. 

However, the Florida offense actually out-gained Miami's in total yards, 413-212.

Will Muschamp is 2-0 vs. Tennessee as head coach at Florida and leads one of the nation's most dominant defensive units.
Will Muschamp is 2-0 vs. Tennessee as head coach at Florida and leads one of the nation's most dominant defensive units.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Coming into Saturday afternoon's matchup with the Volunteers, the Gators rank third in the nation in total defense, allowing just 208.5 total yards per game. Only Michigan State and Virginia Tech have posted better marks in 2013.

Florida is also one of only nine teams in the country allowing less than four yards per play this season.

It's safe to say that those statistics don't bode well for a Tennessee offense that ranks 79th in the nation in total yards, 15 spots behind Florida's offense. The Volunteers' 5.6-yards-per-play average ranks them 71st in America and means that they'll need to find a way to generate more possessions in order to put up sufficient points in The Swamp.

Justin Worley and the Volunteers' passing attack rank 114th in the nation this season.
Justin Worley and the Volunteers' passing attack rank 114th in the nation this season.Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Keep in mind that Tennessee is averaging just 15.8 points per game against Florida during the Gators' eight-game winning streak. Therefore, Florida's offense won't need to be perfect on Saturday so long as it's not turning the ball over.

While Tennessee has forced nine turnovers in three games this season, it must be noted that seven of those came at home against Western Kentucky (five in a bizarre six-play span). The Volunteers failed to force a single turnover in last week's blowout loss against Oregon.

Therefore, unless Florida's offense self-destructs for the second straight game, the Gators' defense will power them to their first conference win of the season this weekend and a ninth consecutive victory in their one-sided rivalry with Tennessee.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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