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Gators Chomp Volunteers

The Florida Gators earned a big time 29-16 win over the #11 Tennessee Volunteers. The crowd played a huge role as Tennessee wasn't really able to get into any kind of consistent rhythm for the entire game. This was by far the biggest win of Billy Napier's tenure so far, and a much needed win for the program. A win like this could potentially be what helps get Florida football back to where they need to be.

Florida didn't get off to the ideal start they wanted to. They had a great drive, moving the ball down the field and controlling the clock, but the drive ended with a blocked Adam Mihalek field goal. Eugene Wilson III was getting involved early and often with 6 catches for 44 yards, but had to leave the game early with a bruised clavicle. Billy Napier will have an update on him on Monday. Joe Milton and Tennessee then took over and drove the ball down the field to take an early 7-0 lead. Graham Mertz and the offense responded with a 4 play 75 yard drive that ended with a 62 yard touchdown run, although Tennessee still lead 7-6 after a blocked extra point.

Both Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne had a rushing touchdown, but Etienne was the best player on the field. He had 23 carries for a career high 172 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 7.5 yards per carry, including 5.17 yards after contact. Johnson had an 18 yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter. They're one of the best running back tandems in the country and continue to prove it every week.

The defense turned up the heat on Milton and the Tennessee offense. They were able to get in the backfield and keep Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small from getting anything going. They got pressure on Joe Milton and forced him to heave a pass in the air as he was hit, which was intercepted by Devin Moore. The Florida Gators dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and took a 26-7 lead into halftime.

Billy Napier admitted during his postgame press conference that they got too conservative in the 2nd half. They wanted to continue to run the ball and control the time of possession. Tennessee was able to put together a couple of drives, but the Gators defense continued to step up when they needed to. The offensive line played their best game as they were able to get a consistent push on a Tennessee defensive line that had been really good this season. Kingsley Eguakun returning to the lineup made a huge difference. The turnaround from how they looked against Utah compared to last night was very impressive.

The Gators return to The Swamp next Saturday night as they host the Charlotte 49ers. It'll be another opportunity to clean a few things up and get some of the young guys some playing time. The win over Tennessee gives the team a lot of momentum going forward. The fan base has been waiting for a game and a win like that and it was refreshing for them to see it. The electricity in The Swamp last night is what we remember it to be when the team is playing at a high level. If they can continue to put together wins like they did last night, it'll be another step to getting the program back to being an SEC and national championship contender.

Stay tuned to for more on the Florida Gators.

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