The 18th-ranked Florida Gators (2-1, 1-0 SEC) made it nine straight wins over the Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC) Volunteers Saturday afternoon, taking a 31-17 win at Ben Hill Griffiin Stadium behind backup quarterback Tyler Murphy, who passed for 134 yards and one touchdown and ran for 84 and another score in relief of Jeff Driskel, whose first quarter ankle injury will require surgery and end his season.
The Gators overcame three first half turnovers to erase a 7-0 deficit, taking the lead at 10-7 with 14:15 remaining in the first half on the first touchdown pass of Murphy’s career, a bubble screen that Solomon Patton turned into a 52-yard scoring play. Murphy got the first running touchdown of his career on a 7-yard quarterback draw play with 13:15 to go in the game.
The Gators travel to Kentucky next week while Tennessee will play host to South Alabama.
TENNESSEE 7, FLORIDA 0: While being taken to the ground by a strong Tennessee pass rush, Driskel threw late on a crossing route to Trey Burton and before the ball could get to his senior receiver’s hands, Devaun Swafford jumped the route and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown with 10:05 remaining in the quarter. Driskel was injured on the play and was taken to the locker room.
FLORIDA 3, TENNESSEE 7: Tennessee quarterback Nate Peterman fumbled when sacked by Dante Fowler at the UT six and Michael Taylor recovered for Florida. On first down, Jon Harrison snapped the ball when Murphy wasn’t looking, hitting the UF quarterback in the face mask. Florida recovered at the 11, but that killed off the touchdown chances and the Gators settled for a 23-yard Austin Harden field goal with 2:27 remaining in the quarter.
FLORIDA 10, TENNESSEE 3: Florida got an interception when Taylor batted a Peterman pass in the air and Brian Poole came down with the ball. Two plays later, the Gators ran the bubble screen to Patton, who took it 52 yards to the house with 14:15 to go in the half.
FLORIDA 17, TENNESSEE 3: Florida’s final scoring drive of the first half came after defensive tackle Darious Cummings came up with an interception and ran the ball back 30 yards to the UT 40 before he was tripped by his own player (Dominique Easley).
Solomon Patton: 2 receptions, 61 yards, 1 touchdown.
Mack Brown: 10 rushes, 31 yards,1 touchdown
Tyler Murphy: 4 rushes, 35 yards
Dante Fowler: 1 sack, two tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
TENNESSEE 10, FLORIDA 17: Tennessee took the opening kickoff of the second half and put together a 48-yard drive that resulted in a 44-yard Michael Palardy field goal with 13:10 left in the third quarter.
FLORIDA 24, TENNESSEE 10: Florida responded to the Tennessee field goal with an 11-play, 79-yard scoring drive that took 5:09 off the clock. Key plays on the drive were a nifty 13-yard run by Mack Brown, a 31-yard completion from Murphy to Quinton Dunbar, who made the over the shoulder catch and got one foot down, and a nifty 13-yard run by Murphy on a zone read. The drive was capped off by a a 4-yard run by Matt Jones, who got into the end zone with 7:08 remaining in the quarter.
FLORIDA 31, TENNESSEE 10: On a drive that began in the third quarter, the Gators moved 84 yards on 11 plays for their final touchdown, taking 5:26 off the clock. Murphy got the score on a 7-yard quarterback draw with 13:53 left in the game. Key plays on the drive were a 27-yard scramble by Murphy, a 12-yard completion to Patton on a third down and a 20-yard connection to Dunbar.
TENNESSEE 17, FLORIDA 31: The Vols only touchdown drive of the day needed seven plays to go 79 yards, the score coming on an 18-yard pass from Justin Worley to Pig Howard with 11:15 to go in the game.
Final Game Superlatives:
Tyler Murphy: 8-14, 134 yards, 1 TD passing; 10 carries, 84 yards, 1 TD rushing
Solomon Patton: 3 catches 73 yards, 1 TD receiving
Mack Brown: 24 carries, 86 yards, 1 TD rushing
Matt Jones: 12 carries, 49 yards, 1 TD rushing