Gators gunning for ninth straight win over Tennessee

Published on Wednesday, 9/18/13, at 11:58 a.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

In honor of Florida-Tennessee week, we take you back to 1995 when Lawrence Wright introduced himself to Joey Kent. (2:15 mark)

Florida will be seeking its ninth consecutive win over Tennessee when these bitter SEC East rivals square off Saturday at The Swamp in Gainesville.

Most books opened Florida (1-1 straight up, 0-2 against the spread) as a 14.5-point favorite Sunday night. However, by late Wednesday morning, most shops had the Gators favored by 17 with a total of 47.5. Gamblers can take the Volunteers on the money line for a +600 return (risk $100 to win $600).

Will Muschamp’s team has had two weeks to shake off a gut-wrenching 21-16 loss at Miami as a three-point road favorite. UF nearly doubled up the Hurricanes in total offense but went down nonetheless due to five turnovers, including three in the red zone. The Gators also got stopped on downs at the UM 17.

Tennessee (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) took a 59-14 shellacking last weekend at Oregon. The Vols failed to cover as 28-point underdogs. It was the most lopsided defeat for UT since 1910!

Butch Jones wasn’t pleased with his offense producing only 316 yards. In fact, he decided to open up the quarterback competition and stated that whoever was most impressive at practice this week would start. Justin Worley has started the first three games, throwing five touchdown passes compared to only one interception.

However, Worley hasn’t passed for more than 142 yards in a game. His longest completion of the season was a 15-yard throw turned into a 51-yard play by freshman WR Josh Smith. In six career starts, Worley has 962 passing yards and a 6/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

When these schools met at Neyland Stadium last season, UF dropped UT by a double-digit margin for the sixth straight time. The Gators racked up 555 yards of total offense behind Jeff Driskel, who completed 14-of-20 throws for 219 yards and two TDs without an interception. He also ran for 81 yards on eight carries, while Trey Burton rushed for 91 yards and a pair of scores on only three totes.

UF captured a 33-23 win over UT as a 10-point home favorite in the last meeting at The Swamp in 2011. The Gators allowed a 30-7 lead to get away as the Vols hooked up their supporters with a backdoor push.

Driskel and Burton will both be looking to make amends for critical errors in the loss at Miami. Driskel had a pair of horrible interceptions, while Burton coughed up a fumble in the red zone right before halftime.

Driskel suffered a sprained knee against the ‘Canes, but he will start against the Vols. UF will get starting offensive guard Jon Halapio back into the lineup after he missed the first two games with a strained pectoral muscle.

Tennessee will be without starting DT Mo Couch for a second straight week. Couch is ineligible while the school investigates whether he took extra benefits from an agent, as a Yahoo! report suggested last week.

Tennessee is an abysmal 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games as a double-digit underdog. During Muschamp’s three-year tenure, Florida has compiled a 5-7-1 spread record as a home favorite. UF is 3-7-1 ATS as a double-digit home ‘chalk’ on Muschamp’s watch.

The ‘over’ is 2-1 for UT, but the ‘under’ is a perfect 2-0 for the Gators. UF’s two games have had combined scores of 30 and 37 points. The ‘over’ has hit in three straight head-to-head meetings between these schools.

CBS will have the telecast at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

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