The Florida Gators take on rival Tennessee in prime time in the Swamp Saturday night. The Vols haven’t beaten Florida in Gainesville since 2003. There’s a lot on the line in this one as Billy Napier has failed to win any of Florida’s rivalry games thus far.
The following are our staff’s predictions for Florida vs Tennessee:
Carson Euverard – Josh Huepel’s offense has stumbled out the gate so far with limited experience in their receiver room and Joe Milton taking over the offense. The Swamp will play a factor as the crowd will try to affect their rhythm and make it tough on the young Volunteers.
The Gators’ Kingsley Eguakun will be making his return to UF’s offensive line, which will help establish the run game early on. The Volunteers have talented edge rushers and the offensive line will need to limit the pressure on Graham Mertz. This will be a close game that comes down to the trenches. Tennessee escapes 30-27 for their first win in the Swamp since 2003.
Alyssa Britton-Harr – I believe this game is going to be a tough battle on both sides. Graham Mertz and the Gators pulled off an impressive game in week two against McNeese, however, against teams like Tennessee their defense is going to come at Florida a lot harder. Florida has a young team and some powerful players that have begun to show out in the season. Though Tennessee is favored in this game by six points, I believe if Florida starts with a quick start in the first half they could have a chance. The Gators played well in week two, but against teams like Tennessee their run-first operation is going to be prominent, and with a young team I’m not sure they can pull off a win. I do think Florida will get points on the board, but in the end it’s going to be Tennessee to take the win, 30-24.
Hugh Green – This game is going to be a dog fight from the start. Both teams will try to establish their dominance over the other in the trenches in hopes of winning the running battle. Tennessee might have an advantage in that sense being that four out of their five offensive linemen are seniors or fifth years.
The Volunteers struggled early in their game last week against Austin Peay, but still came away victorious. Florida is coming off a dominating performance against a McNeese State team that looked defeated after the first drive.
Tennessee hasn’t won a game in Gainesville in 20 years, which is mainly due to the crowd noise in the Swamp. This will be on full display on Saturday night under the lights. However, I believe that the defense of the Vols will be too good for a Gator offense that is still trying to find its identity. Tennessee 28-20.
Brian Fox – At the time of writing this, Tennessee is a 6.5-point favorite to beat the Gators in the Swamp. Joe Milton is easily the best QB the Florida defense has faced this year as he can throw the ball all over the football field. But, Tennessee tends to find ways to lose these games, whether by blow out, or a clutch 4th and 14 catch and run, or a Hail Mary finish. That said, Josh Heupel is a good coach and his offense has the ability to score, and do so quickly. I think the Vols find the end zone early and often, Tennessee 38-17.
Florida and Tennessee kickoff at 7:00 PM. ESPN will be broadcasting the game live.