Tennessee (1-3, 0-1 SEC) fell to No. 9 Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC) in Gainesville in a turnover-filled matchup for both teams.
With Feleipe Franks out, backup Gator quarterback Kyle Trask started and quickly proved he was up to the task.
On their first possession, the Gators moved quickly down the field as Trask completed two passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. The successful point after the attempt put Florida up 7-0 early.
Both teams struggled with mistakes for the remainder of the first quarter.
Trask coughed up a fumble when he was strip-sacked by Daniel Bituli at the Florida 30-yard line. Tennessee failed to capitalize on the short field though, as quarterback Jarrett Guarantano hit Jauan Jennings in the end zone. However, Jennings mishandled the pass and Trey Dean III intercepted it.
Guarantano threw a second interception straight to defensive back Marco Wilson at midfield early in the second quarter. The Gators were able to get a field goal out of the following drive to give Florida a 10-0 lead.
On the final drive of the first half, Trask completed 5 of 6 passes, and Lamical Perine was able to score on a 1-yard rush. In addition, Evan McPherson’s kick put Florida up 17-0 going into halftime.
Guarantano was benched to start the third quarter in favor of true freshman Brian Maruer. On his first drive, Maurer got the Vols in field goal range. Then, Brent Cimaglia made the 40-yard field goal to make the score 17-3.
The Gators responded on the next drive and extended their lead to 24-3 with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Trask.
Maurer threw a pick on the next drive and was benched for Guarantano. Meanwhile, Trask threw two interceptions on Florida’s final two drives of the third quarter.
After being backed up by a false start, Tennessee running back Eric Gray fumbled to open the fourth quarter. Florida put the final nail in the coffin with a 10-yard scoring rush from Dameon Pierce to put the Gators up 31-3 over the Vols.
Florida won 34-3 after a late field goal by McPherson.
Florida had three turnovers to Tennessee’s four, but the Gator offense was able to execute despite making multiple mistakes.
Neither Guarantano nor Maurer was able to get anything going for the Vols, which allowed the Gators to keep momentum for the majority of the game.
Tennessee has an off week before facing another difficult test when No. 3 Georgia comes to Knoxville on Oct. 5.
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Football Twitter (@Vol_Football)
Edited by Ciera Noe and Dusty Bryan