The good news is Tennessee is 3-0 for the first time since 2004. The bad news? Tennessee just hasn’t looked that good against three lesser opponents, and now they have to get ready for a brutal four-game stretch. This week they take on Florida at home, then they are at Georgia, at Texas A&M, and then home against Alabama. First thing’s first though, let’s review the win over Ohio University.
Last Week’s Win
Tennessee started out quick, taking only three plays to go up 7-0. After that though, a penalty by Tennessee on Ohio’s punt on their first drive and another penalty on a third down stop, propelled Ohio to a field goal. After the Bobcats made another field goal, a couple of possessions later off of an intercepted pass, Tennessee came right back and scored a touchdown to make it 14-6. Ohio would strike back their next couple of possessions with field goals to make it a 14-12 Tennessee halftime lead, making Vol Nation a little uncomfortable.
At this point in the game, Tennessee had some very key injuries to some of its best players in Cam Sutton, Quart’e Sapp, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Also not to mention, Tennessee was already missing another strong defensive leader in Darrin Kirkland. Finally, a Volunteer offense outside of two possessions that had been sluggish, came back to life in the middle of the third quarter thanks to a Josh Dobbs’ 12-yard quarterback touchdown run making it 21-12. Once again though, Ohio answered, this time with a touchdown of their own making it 21-19 heading into the 4th quarter. Josh Dobbs and the Vols offense came alive again though at the right time pushing the score up to 28-19 with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Josh Malone. That would be the final score, in a sluggish win, but a win at that.
Next, the Vols take on the Florida Gators. Tennessee hasn’t beaten Florida since 2004, losing 11 in a row but being close to a victory the last two years. Needless to say, this is a huge game for this program. College Gameday is coming back to Knoxville, the fans are “checker boarding” the stadium for this one. This fan base really wants to see a win over Florida. The Gators will be without its starting quarterback Luke Del Rio, meaning the Vols defense will likely face Austin Appleby at quarterback for the Gators.
Neither teams’ offensive line have looked good this season. This very well could be a defensive game, a game where one big offensive play could decide the game. Florida’s defensive line though has looked straight up nasty, and if the Vols don’t get that offensive line better, it could be a long day for the offense. Tennessee has the talent to win, but it all comes down to fundamentals and not playing so tight. The Tennessee-Florida rivalry, which has been dominated by the Gators lately obviously, hasn’t been much fun for Vols Nation lately, but it’s always nice to see a rivalry renewed like this one.