Florida Gators Defeat Vols In Thrilling Fashion 28-27
By Chris Harry, GatorZone.com Senior Writer // September 27, 2015
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA (GatorZone.com) – The Swamp made a storied comeback Saturday night.
So did the team that calls it home.
Down 13 points with less than five minutes remaining, freshman Antonio Callaway’s electrifying 63-yard touchdown reception with 1:26 play was the difference in Florida’s stunning 28-27 defeat of Tennessee before a frenzied Florida Field crowd of more than 90,527.
Volunteers kicker Aaron Medley was wide right on a 55-yard field goal as time expired, as the Gators (4-0, 2-0) maintained their mastery over their Southeastern Conference rival by defeating the Vols (2-2, 0-1) for the 11th straight time, dating to 2005, and the 24th time in the last 30 meetings.
UF quarterback Will Grier was shaky for three-plus quarters, until finding something of a groove late in the third quarter. After punting six times and throwing an interception on seven series spanning the first, second and third quarters, Grier engineered touchdown marches on three of his team’s last four possessions, with the dagger TD to Callaway coming — get this — on fourth and 13 from the Tennessee 37.
On the play, Callaway raced to the sticks and set himself up to secure the first down. But, he quickly spun away from a couple of defenders after the catch, hit the sideline, got a great block downfield from slotback Brandon Powell and raced into the end zone.
The play made Grier 23-of-42 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the game. He was 11-for-17 for 141 yards and two TDs on the final two drives.
The Vols certainly had enough time and enough playmakers to go down and win the game. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who ran through and around UF defenders in rushing for 136 yards and also catching a 58-yard touchdown on a trick play, managed to move his unit 31 yards, from the UT 37 to the UF 32, but a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 37.
Enter Medley, who appeared to have missed his shot at the game-winner — the crowd certainly thought so — but UF coach Jim McElwain called for a timeout just before the snap.
Medley second chance missed, also.
UT tailback Jalen Hurd’s 10-yard touchdown run — on third-and-goal — pushed the Volunteers ahead 27-14 with 10:19 remaining.
The Gators had done very little to that point offensively to think they would mount a comeback. Their defense had done very little at that point to suggest they could stave off another Vols’ drive.
But, Grier led UF on a 17-play, 86-yard drive, converting fourth-and-7 and fourth-and-8 along the way. The second was a 16-yard pass to Powell, who three plays later, caught a 5-yard scoring pass from Grier to make the score 27-21 with 4:09 left.
Tennessee then went three-and-out, with defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard stuffing Dobbs for a 3-yard loss on third-and-6.
After a punt, Florida took over at its 41. Here’s what the drive looked like: 4-yard loss on a screen to Kelvin Taylor; dropped sideline pass by Robinson; a second straight incompletion to Demarcus Robinson.
Then, a 63-yard touchdown.
Taylor (102 yards) had a couple of touchdowns rushing for the Gators. The Vols had both Dobbs (136 yards) and Hurd (102) eclipsing the 100-yard mark.
Tennessee finished with 419 yards of total offense, including 254 on the ground against a UF defense that allowed 166 rushing yards to its first three opponents combined.