KNOXVILLE - Although the final play of the game crushed the spirits of many in Vol Nation, not everyone in Big Orange felt the sting of defeat.
"I'm a little piece of blue in a big sea of orange, but it's all in good fun," Elizabeth Watkins said.
Watkins is a member of the Knoxville Gator Club, a group of University of Florida Alumni and fans that gather for watch parties and other events throughout the year.
Watkins moved to East Tennessee last year and says the communities response after Hurricane Irma was inspiring.
"It's been really touching to see the response from Tennessee, especially in Knoxville, to give back with what's be going on in Florida with the hurricanes and resiliency," Watkins said. "To see people come together even though there's a heated rivalry has been really incredible."
For lifelong Vols fan Cody Owens, the hurricane hit close to home. His brother evacuated Miami because of the storm.
"It's a very important game, but it's just a game," Owens said. "I mean, obviously what's going on in Florida and throughout the Southeast is much more important than some football game."
Despite the hard times, Owens doesn't cut Florida Gator fans any slack.
"It's pretty much like outside of Alabama fans, the worst human beings on the earth," Owens said. "I feel for the people of Florida, but I don't feel for Florida fans at all - but I wish them Godspeed at the same time."
Watkins said even though the rivalry is as intense as ever, East Tennessee's response to the disaster makes her feel encouraged about the community.
"It does make it tad easier to know that this is just a game, but outside of these four hours, the people of Tennessee really care about what's going on in Florida and that feels good," Watkins said.
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