The hype can’t be any bigger for this one. College Gameday heads to Knoxville, Tennessee for one of the best rivalries in the SEC. The Florida Gators travel to take on the Tennessee Volunteers this upcoming Saturday. The Gators will look to play much better after an abysmal performance against South Florida last weekend. Sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson has received a lot of criticism after his last two performances. The Gainesville native has yet to throw a passing touchdown through three games and has totaled four interceptions. However, he has a great opportunity to shift the narrative Saturday afternoon. Richardson has been a little banged up and hasn’t shown much of his ability to run since the season opener. I expect that to change this weekend. I am expecting Richardson to have a solid showing and get back on track after two poor performances.
Tennessee is 3-0 and looking to win their conference opener versus the Gators. The Volunteers haven’t played a ton of competition outside of an overtime win against a top 25 ranked Pittsburgh team. The Vols offense has shown a lot of firepower behind Hendon Hooker. The senior quarterback is following up an excellent 2021 season with a hot start in 2022. He has currently thrown for 844 yards and completed 69% of his passes through three games. He had a solid showing in 2021 against the Gators throwing for 221 yards and two scores. Yet, the Gators dominated that matchup at home behind the arms and legs of former quarterback Emory Jones.
Neyland stadium is going to be rocking this Saturday. I expect the home-field advantage to be in full effect. The Gators are going to need to have a great gameplan for this one. The offense is going to need to emphasize the ground game but can’t play too conservative. We haven’t seen many shots downfield through the first three games and will need to keep the Volunteer defense on their heels. Richardson’s legs will be key in this one. If he can utilize his athleticism to move the chains on key third-down plays, I believe the Gators have a chance of pulling off the upset. I expect to see heavy doses of a Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne in this one. One thing I expected to see more of from this offense was utilizing the running backs in the passing game. Through three games, the running back room has 4 catches for 26 yards as a unit. Getting those ball carriers in the open field will pay dividends for this offense.
I feel that Tennessee has the edge in this one with much more to gain in this one than the Gators. The availability of Ventrell Miller will be huge in the outcome of this game. I expect a senior edge rusher Brenton Cox to have a massive game against a weak pass protecting offensive line. The Gators will remain competitive in this one until the Tennessee offense is eventually too much for the Gators to keep up with. I strongly dislike having to do this given the tradition and dominance against the Vols, however I have Tennessee winning in this one. I would gladly be proven wrong from this Gator team.
Vols 37, Gators 24