For 14 years, the Florida Gators have come out on top of the Tennessee Vols in the NCAA. The streak was finally broken on Saturday as the Vols made a stunning comeback that included a 38-run streak to beat the Gators 38-28 at home. After 11 consecutive losses to the Gators, the Vols looked they were about to go down again as the score was 21-0 right before halftime. A dominating performance after half-time ensured that the Vols remained undefeated for the 10th consecutive match. The streak was started at the tail end of last season and the win against one their biggest rivals ensured that it continued.
With a 102,455 fans watching on, the Gators took a commanding lead with 3 early touchdowns. Backup quarterback Austin Appleby scored all 3 of these and had things stayed that way, the Gators would’ve won yet again. Joshua Dobbs was the savior for the Vols. In the first half of the game, Dobbs had completed a miserable 7 out of 20 passes for 84 yards. Right before the break, Aaron Medley scored a filed goal and it seemed to energize both Dobbs and the rest of the team. Dobbs ended the game after 4 touchdown passes with 319 yards and 1 ground touchdown with 80 yards. Both these feats are a career best for the Vols man. Overall, the Vols gained 487 yards throughout the game. Before this game, the average for the Gators to concede was 127 yards per game.
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Speaking of the victory, Vols coach Butch Jones commended his players’ character and emphasized just how good their program is. He also commended the fans’ patience for sticking around when the team was down. Dobbs also commented after the game and noted the importance of Medley’s field goal, late in the second quarter. He also implied that the comeback was necessary as they were shooting themselves in the foot in the first 2 quarters.
Florida coach Jim McElwain expressed his disappointment after the game and said that his team just let the Vols in. It’s hard to argue with that statement as the first down for the Gators in the second half came with only 6 minutes on the clock. Vols’ running back Jalen Reeves-Maybin, on the other hand, saw the victory in the game as a “stepping stone” to make Tennessee get back to the top.