Florida football: All you need to know for today’s game with Tennessee

It’s a welcome back home for Florida football as the No. 8 Gators host Tennessee for a noon kickoff at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

It will be a bit of a new look for Florida football today as they take on Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee at noon.

With a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Feleipe Franks, quarterbacking duties fall to Kyle Trask and Emory Jones.

Florida is coming off a 29-21 win at Kentucky in its SEC opener while Tennessee will open its conference slate today.

Here’s all you need to know for today’s game:

Storylines

Florida: Trask, a redshirt junior, will make his first start as the Gators’ quarterback. He came into the fourth quarter last week after Franks went down with his season-ending ankle injury. Trask completed his first four passes and led the Gators on a 6-play, 62-yard scoring drive. He finished going 9-for-13 with 126 yards and helped Florida football score 19 unanswered points to win the game.

Now, the Gators look to move to 2-0 in SEC play after facing a Volunteers team that has lost 13 of its last 14 to Florida. The Gators are 14-5 against Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida’s offense is going to have to gel, and gel quickly. Trask will have to take control early to set the tone. Additionally, the offensive line is going to have to give Lamical Perine and the Florida football running game room to maneuver against a Tennessee defense that isn’t all that great.

Tennessee: Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s seat is likely getting pretty warm after dropping a season-opener at home to Georgia State and following that up with an overtime home loss to BYU.

Related Story: Bryce Thompson available for Tennessee at No. 8 Florida

The redeemer here is a blowout of FCS Tennessee-Chattanooga last weekend.

It should be pointed out that this will be the first road game for the Volunteers this season.

The offense will have to click in a hurry for Tennessee, but the Vols are 12th in the SEC in total offense and 11th in passing offense. However, running back Ty Chandler could present problems for the Gator defense as he has 248 yards on 42 carries and two touchdowns already this season.

Connections

In case you were wondering (and I know you were), Florida head coach Dan Mullen has faced off with Jeremy Pruitt before. When Mullen was the head coach at Mississippi State, he faced Pruitt when he was defensive coordinator at Alabama. The result in 2017 was Mullen’s Aggies racked up 330 yards of total offense (fourth-most allowed by Alabama) and 172 yards on the ground (the most the Crimson Tide would give up that year).

Florida football defensive coordinator Todd Grantham worked with Tennessee offensive line coach Will Friend at Georgia from 2011-13.

Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson is the only Gator from Tennessee (Brentwood, Tennessee) while the Volunteers have 12 players from the state of Florida.

How to watch

  • Time and date: Noon, Saturday, Sept. 21
  • Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — Gainesville, Florida.
  • TV: ESPN with Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky and Allison Williams.
  • Radio: Gator IMG Sports Network with Mick Hubert, Lee McGriff and Tate Casey.
  • Satellite: Sirius Ch. 119/XM Ch. 191.

The line

Our gambling expert, Derek Taylor, said Florida football is favored by as many as 14.5 points at home to a 1-2 Tennessee team. But, he also wrote that Trask and the Florida receivers will have to be ready for harder coverage against Tennessee than they faced at Kentucky. Read his gambling report here.

The weather

According to The Weather Channel, the sky will be partly cloudy at kickoff with temperatures reaching up to 87 degrees. There is a slight chance (10%) for rain. Wind will be ENE at 10-20 miles per hour.

The last line

This is a game where Kyle Trask and, possibly, Emory Jones can make big statements. Tennessee’s defense isn’t great and Pruitt’s seat in Knoxville is getting warmer by the day. Expect the Volunteers to throw a lot of different things out. The Gators have to be prepared.

The defense has to circle the wagons to stop the run while the secondary has to be ready for Volunteer receivers.

Next: Gators' Week 3 stock report

In all, this could be a potentially dangerous game for Florida football, but one I think they will pull out.

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