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A house of horrors for Tennessee: Looking back at Vols’ past 6 games at Florida

Florida-Tennessee
COURTESY OF FLORIDA ATHLETICS

Tennessee hasn’t beaten Florida in Gainesville since 2003, when Casey Clausen directed the “Pride of the Southland Marching Band” after the game. That was actually the second straight victory for the Vols in Gainesville.

Since then, the Vols have met with nothing but frustration in the Swamp. Let’s look back at those games.

2005: Florida 16, Tennessee 7

The buzz: This contest turned on two plays. Late in the first half with the game tied at 7, Tennessee QB Erik Ainge connected with Bret Smith for a first down at the Gators’ 1. But instant replay (which began in the SEC that season) brought back the big play, forcing the No. 5 Vols to attempt a field goal that was blocked.

In the third quarter, with No. 6 Florida leading 10-7, Tennessee was lined up to punt when P Britton Colquitt thought he saw an opening. He made the decision on his own to try to pass for the first down on fourth-and-10, but Tony Joiner broke up the play. Florida took over on the Vols’ 31, kicked a field goal and came away with the win in Urban Meyer’s first season in Gainesville.

2007: Florida 59, Tennessee 20

The buzz: Incredibly, this was a one-score game midway through the third quarter after Eric Berry picked off a Tim Tebow pass and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 28-20. But on Tennessee’s next possession, Erik Ainge and Arian Foster couldn’t connect on the hand-off, and UF linebacker Dustin Doe ran it back 18 yards for a touchdown for the No. 5 Gators.

This game also is remembered for a garbage-time touchdown drive by Florida, in which a backup quarterback named Cameron Newton bowled over Tennessee defender Dennis Rogan.

2009: Florida 23, Tennessee 13

The buzz: Just call it “The Lane Kiffin Game.”

During his introductory news conference, new Vols coach Lane Kiffin boasted that Tennessee would be “singing ‘Rocky Top’ all night long” after beating Florida that season. Two months later, Kiffin falsely accused Meyer of NCAA recruiting violations.

There was a big time buzz around this game, as many experts predicted an epic beatdown by the top-ranked Gators over a rebuilding Tennessee team. But the undermanned Vols played Florida close.

It was a moral victory for a Tennessee program that certainly was on the upswing with a brash young field general in charge.

Wait …

2011: Florida 33, Tennessee 23

The buzz: The Vols, like the No. 16 Gators, entered the game 2-0.

Tennessee QB Tyler Bray threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Slight problem, though: The Vols couldn’t run the football. At all. Tauren Poole led Tennessee with 18 rushing yards, and as a team the Vols ran for minus-9 yards. It’s hard to win football games that way.

Florida’s Chris Rainey has more than 100 yards rushing and receiving.

A couple of late Vols scores made the final tally look better than it was, as Florida’s win was never really in doubt.

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