For the third straight year, Tennessee couldn't run the ball against UF.
There are many reasons why the Volunteers were blown out by the Gators 59-20, but their inability to establish a running game proved the most deadly.
Tennessee was held to just 37 yards on the ground, its third-straight sub-100-yard showing against UF.
BWe can?t do too many things when we don?t run the football well,C tight end Chris Brown said. BIt was very disappointing. We just didn?t do what we needed to do. Florida did, they stopped the run and they won the football game.C
The Vols tallied -11 rushing yards in their 2006 loss to the Gators, and just 66 in a 2005 loss.
BThey have a nice scheme, and they do a good job with it,C Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. BThey?ve got people coming from all different places - it?s not something we haven?t seen before. The last two years we haven?t done well. They do great job coaching it and a great job playing it.C
The absence of a running game also had a big effect on the passing game.
Senior quarterback Erik Ainge was faced with outscoring the Gators by himself, and when the game turned into a shootout, it was clear that UF's Tim Tebow had much more firepower at his disposal.
Ainge finished 26 of 41 for 249 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
His numbers weren?t bad, but they weren?t enough to keep Tennessee in the game.
BI don?t think Erik ever did get into a rhythm,C Fulmer said.
BThere were a few series that were okay, but us not being able to run the football let them bring different pressures and Erik could never get into a rhythm.C
The Vols? run game did result in one touchdown - for the Gators.
After Eric Berry intercepted Tebow and returned it 96 yards for a score, Tennessee was within striking distance at 28-20.
When the UT defense forced the Gators to punt, it seemed momentum was in their favor.
That changed quickly as a handoff to Arian Foster found its way to the ground, where it was scooped up by UF linebacker Dustin Doe and returned for a touchdown.
BIt?s 28-20, and we?re talking about going for two the next time we score,C Fulmer said.
BAll the sudden the ball pops out, and it was a huge swing. It just went downhill from there.C
It was unclear whether the fumble was caused by Ainge or Foster, but an injury may have played a role.
Ainge?s broken right pinkie has forced him to hand off with his left hand.
BI handed him the ball with my left hand, that?s what we?ve been doing,C Ainge said.
BWhether it was his arm that came down on it or me getting him the ball late, I?m not quite sure. Had we gone down and scored it would have been a different ball game, so obviously that was huge.C