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Tennessee’s first road trip of the 2021 season ended on a losing note as Florida’s second half rally would prove too much for the Volunteers to overcome.
Gators’ quarterback Emory Jones led Florida to a 38-14 victory over the Vols at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday night.
Jones totaled 209 passing yards and recorded touchdown passes to Malik Davis and Nay’Quan Wright. Jones also rushed for 144 yards in the contest to lead Florida (3-1, 1-1 SEC) to a comeback victory over the Vols (2-2, 0-1 SEC).
The Gators scored first, but Tennessee would answer when starting quarterback Hendon Hooker tossed a 47-yard screen pass to running back Tiyon Evans to tie the game.
After Florida’s Jace Christmann kicked a 47-yard field goal to give the Gators a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter, the Vols answered early in the second stanza when Hooker threw a 75-yard scoring strike to JaVonta Payton to put UT ahead 14-10.
Hooker’s two touchdown throws were the Vols’ longest two pass plays during the season.
The Gators never relinquished its lead after Jones’ 23-yard pass to Wright with 4 minutes, 17 seconds remaining until halftime.
Tennessee forced a turnover when Aaron Beasley recovered a fumble a short time later, but the Vols could not produce points as Chase McGrath missed a potential game-tying field goal on the final play of the second quarter.
The Gators were dominant after halftime, scoring 21 unanswered points. Davis recorded a 9-yard scoring run and Rick Wells Jr. caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jones.
Florida also scored on a double pass when Trent Whittemore found Kenmore Gamble from 13 yards out to make it 24-14 early in the third quarter.
Joe Milton III relieved Hooker in the fourth quarter after he suffered an injury.
Milton III was 2-for-8 for 54 yards as he closed out the game.