No. 11 Vols try to snap skid in rivalry with No. 20 Florida
No. 20 Florida (2-1, 0-1 SEC) at No. 11 Tennessee (3-0, 0-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Line: Tennessee by 10 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Florida leads 31-20.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Tennessee is off to its first 3-0 start since 2016, and a win Saturday would give the Vols their first undefeated September since that year. This starts a stretch of three tough games for Tennessee starting with Florida, an open date and then LSU and Alabama. Florida already has a loss in the SEC to Kentucky two weeks ago. The Gators have to avoid digging themselves even lower in the division standings in coach Billy Napier’s first season.
Tennessee defensive ends Byron Young and Tyler Baron must seal the edges to contain Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. The Gators quarterback rushed for 106 yards in a win over then-No. 7 Utah, but struggled with just four yards in the loss to then-No. 20 Kentucky. Quarterbacks have struggled to run against the Vols’ defense through the first three games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Florida: RB Montrell Johnson Jr. He has rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns this season and is a big part of a Gators run offense that averages 212 yards a game.
Tennessee: RB Jaylen Wright. Jabari Small hurt his right arm on the second snap of the Vols’ win over Akron, and Wright ran for 96 yards and two TDs. Being able to run is a big key to the Vols’ tempo offense’s success, and Tennessee averages 182.3 yards rushing per game.
FACTS & FIGURES
Florida leads the series 31-20 and has won five straight and 16 of the last 17 against Tennessee. ... This is the 25th game where both Florida and Tennessee are ranked. The last was in 2017. ... Florida is 16-8 in ranked games against Tennessee, including 5-1 since 2005. ... Tennessee will have a sold-out crowd for a second straight week for the first time since 2016. ... Florida is the only team to play three teams ranked in the Top 20 through the first month of the season. ... T he Gators have not thrown a touchdown pass yet in three games. … Florida is averaging 6.4 yards per rush, second in the SEC and fifth in the FBS. ... The Vols lead the SEC and rank fourth nationally averaging 52 points a game. .... Tennessee has nine TD passes, six from QB Hendon Hooker who has thrown a TD pass in 15 straight games. … Hooker has thrown 189 consecutive passes without an interception.
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