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Florida vs. Tennessee Stat and Score Predictions
3:30p, CBS
Posted: Saturday, September 24th, 2016, 9:14 AM • Permalink
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Despite another hot Saturday in God's country, you can tell fall is officially here. Leaves are changing, college football is in full swing, and pumpkin flavoring is ubiquitous. Now if we can only get these 80+ degree days to go away. And this ridiculous 11-game losing streak. Speaking of...

We all know this week's opponent. The hated Florida Gators come to Knoxville full of trash talk, confidence, and a winning streak that is tied for the longest of any annually played rivalry between two SEC "Power 6" teams. Despite a spate of injuries to our beloved Volunteers and a Florida defense that ranks #1 in the country, there's no way the Gators actually set the record this weekend.

Right?

Vegas seems to the not. As Beano likes to say, they don't build all of those big hotels and casinos on the strip on credit. They pay for them in cash--cash made off the betting American public. And despite 80% of the action falling in Florida as 7.5-point underdogs to our Vols, Vegas has held its ground, and it's line. Sure, you can point to home field advantage and the Gators being without their starting QB, but there's also the Vols' Offensive Line struggles, mounting injuries, and recent historical (and mental) struggles against Florida. Plus you can always factor in Butch Jones' uptight demeanor, goofy game management, and obstinate unwillingness to make simple, obvious improvements. But the bottom line is, Vegas knows something. If you don't believe me, check out the lines and over-unders for the last 5 years (see Tony's Friday blog for an example). They've been dead on with their Florida-Tennessee numbers in the last 5 years. Do you really think they've suddenly forgotten how to make money?

Yeah, neither do I.

Expect Josh Dobbs to continue to struggle with the pass but to connect with Josh Malone on one big play of 40+ yards to move the Vols from deep in their own territory to around mid field. Also, like last year, expect Josh Dobbs to sacrifice his body in an attempt to win this game and break the streak. Accordingly, expect him to lead the team in rushing yards once again. And while I am hopeful he will avoid enough direct contact and have enough accuracy to lead the team in passing yards, I am even more hopeful he will NOT lead the team in receiving yards.

Expect the following stats from Dobbs: 12-27 passing for 148 yards, 18 carries for 122 yards and 1 TD.

Expect Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara to struggle to find rushing room today due as much to our offensive line struggles as the Florida defense. Expect Hurd to get 86 yards on 22 caries. Expect Kamara to scrap for 45 yards on 8 carries to go with 2 catches for 13 yards.

Look for Josh Malone to garner 3 catches for 67 yards. Look for TE Jason Croom to pose matchup problems for the Florida defense but to be underutilized by Butch Jones and Mike DeBord anyway. He'll still manage to amass 42 yards on 3 catches. Expect Preston Williams, Josh Smith, and Ethan Wolfe to catch one ball each, but for all 3 go result in first downs.

Look for the injury-riddled Volunteer secondary to finally get some interceptions in the book, thanks to Florida QB Austin Appleby's inability to KISS and prevent offensive implosion. Look for one especially crucial pick from either Todd Kelly or Micah Abernathy to seal the game late, thanks to Appleby getting "blowed up" by Super Shy Tuttle.

Even though Evan Berry hasn't had a chance to show off yet this year, don't be surprised if Florida is just cocky (read "foolish") enough to try to prove they can tackle him in space by kicking to him rather than away from him or out of the endzone (despite a PK who has the ability to do it). Expect Kamara to have 0 PR attempts thanks to being forced into fair catches by 1 of the 2 best punters in the country, Florida's Tommy Townsend. (#1 and #2 punters in the country facing off in this game. Exciting?)

Look for Aaron Medley to have a decent but busy day, going 5/7 on FG attempts, keeping pace with Florida's PK who will go 3/3.

And look for a final score of...

Florida 16, Tennessee 22

Yes, another awkward, anxiety-ridden nail biter. But expect the Vols to make the play to prevent a last-minute Florida comeback this year, validating Butch's hire of DC Bob Shoop.

Go Volunteers!!!






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