Nightmare in Gainesville: Vols cost themselves shot at beating Gators

After a week that began with uncertainty of where Tennessee and Florida would play, the Vols and Gators renewed their rivalry Saturday for the 47th time.

And Tennessee had every opportunity to make it back-to-back wins over the Gators.

But the game went along the same lines as several others.

Ultimately, Tennessee made too many mistakes and not enough plays to put away Florida on a day the Gators’ offense was quiet for three-plus quarters.

The Vols lost on a last second 63-yard Hail Mary walk-off touchdown that will be remembered forever.

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What goes around, comes back around. And for Butch Jones to live off a Hail Mary victory in his own right last season over Georgia, his fate was reversed in The Swamp.

Jones could have four consecutive victories over the Gators, but instead he lost a 9-0 fourth-quarter lead in 2014, a double-digit fourth quarter lead in 2015, a victory overcoming a 21-0 deficit last season, and now a game in which his team lacked a killer instinct when the moment called for it.

Both offenses struggled during the first half, which ended with Florida leading 6-3.

Running back John Kelly provided most of the Vols highlights, but he was limited to 25 touches (19 carries for 141 yards and a score, and six receptions for 96 more yards).

Florida had no answer for Kelly, but the Vols couldn’t finish enough drives to put Florida away early.

But it was too late after finally moving the ball under Kelly in the second-half. The Vols could not overcome questionable calls going away from the workhorse in the backfield in a second half goal line situation.

Former Vol players questioned the play-calling, as well.

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The offense was not able to turn to former quarterback Josh Dobbs and his legs to create plays and first downs when the passing game was not effective. Quinten Dormady could not provide that in The Swamp and back-up quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was not called on to do so.

Jones mentioned throughout fall training camp an the first two weeks of the season about playing two quarterbacks and two kickers.

He did so with Aaron Medley and Brent Cimaglia, who missed 2 of his 3 attempts Saturday. He hasn’t called on Guarantano for critical moments in the Georgia Tech and Florida games.

There is still time to right the ship, but that will need to be fast and create an identity with the personnel offensively that is effective. Time is of the essence.

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Source: Saturday Down South

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