Tennessee drops heartbreaker to Florida

Carter County Sports

No. 23 Tennessee fought back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game, but No. 24/25 Florida’s Hail Mary pass gave the Gators a 26-20 win on Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Tennessee (2-1, 0-1 SEC) entered the second half trailing, 6-3, and fell behind by as much as 10 points before tying the game up with less than a minute to play. Florida’s final offensive drive resulted in a game-winning Hail Mary for the Gators.

Dormady completed 21-of-39 passes for 259 yards and three interceptions while John Kelly rushed for 141 yards and caught six passes for 96 yards. Kelly averaged 7.4 yards per carry and 16 yards per reception.

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks finished 18-of-28 for 212 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Florida wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as the Gators went 65 yards down the field in 15 plays, but were held to a 27-yard field goal by Tennessee’s defense.

The SEC rivals exchanged punts the remainder of the first quarter and for the first two drives of the second before Florida settled for another field goal to move ahead, 6-0.

On the ensuing possession, the Vols answered with a 51-yard field goal by freshman Brent Cimaglia to pull within three points and close out the first half. It marked Cimaglia’s first career field goal and the longest by a Tennessee kicker since Michael Palardy made a 51-yarder at Missouri in 2013.

Sophomore defensive back Nigel Warrior then forced a fumble that was recovered by Darrell Taylor on Florida’s first drive of the second half. Tennessee went 43 yards on 12 plays, including a 22-yard pass from Dormady to Callaway, but an interception at the one-yard line ended the Vols’ possession.

Following the turnover, UT’s defense forced a three-and-out punt which Callaway returned for 39 yards to the UF-36. Tennessee then attempted its second 51-yard field of the night, but Cimaglia missed wide right.

The Gators scored the first touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter on a pick-six by CJ Henderson, furthering their advantage to 13-3.

Justin Martin then forced a fumble at the goal line that resulted in a touchback and kick started Tennessee’s scoring drive. Dormady directed a five-play, 80-yard possession that ended with a 34-yard touchdown run by John Kelly. After an extra point, the Vols cut Florida’s lead to 13-10.

With 5:13 left in the game, UF’s Franks threw a five-yard pass for a touchdown, giving the Gator’s a 20-10 edge.

On the next drive, Dormady found Kelly for a 52-yard pass before connecting with Ethan Wolf for a 28-yard touchdown. Aaron Medley’s PAT pulled the Vols within three, 20-17.

Medley then made a 27-yard field goal to tie the game up, 20-20, with less than a minute to play.

As time expired, Florida’s Franks hurled a 63-yard, Hail Mary pass to Tyrie Cleveland for a touchdown, sealing the Gators’ 26-20 victory.

Photo By Austin Perryman/Tennessee Athletics


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