Get to know your opponent: Florida Gators

Sept. 19, 2016: When No. 14 Tennessee hosts No. 19 Florida, the Vols will have a chance to shake several losing streaks connected to the Gators, ESPN College Gameday, and fans checkering Neyland Stadium orange and white.

KNOXVILLE - No. 14 Tennessee will attempt to snap an 11-year losing streak to No. 19 Florida on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s game marks the first meeting between Tennessee and Florida since 2012 in which both teams enter the game ranked and unbeaten.

Here’s what you need to know about the Gators.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Sept. 22, 2016. It has been corrected to properly show Florida's 2016 record at the time. The AP Top 25 Poll is used for the rankings in this story.

Overview: Second-year head coach Jim McElwain and the Gators are coming off of a 32-0 victory against North Texas 32-0.

Florida beat Kentucky 45-7 on Sept. 10, and beat Massachusetts 24-7 on Sept. 3.

Date: Sept. 24

Game Time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time


Site: Neyland Stadium


Nickname: Gators

2016 Record: 3-0 (1-0 SEC)

Coach: Jim McElwain

School Location: Gainesville, Fla.

Series against UT: Florida leads the all-time series 26-19. Saturday marks the 46th contest between the two schools.

Florida won 28-27 last year, coming back from a 13-point deficit with 14 points in the final four minutes.


Things to know about the game:

1. Vols tackle multiple curses: Vols fans know all about the 11-year losing streak to Florida.

ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Knoxville on Saturday, which marks the ninth time the show has covered a Vols-Gators game, making it the show’s most-covered rivalry.

Tennessee just beat Virginia Tech a couple of weeks ago when GameDay was in Bristol.

The Vols also have several victories as the road team in GameDay matchups.  However, UT is only 2-6 when GameDay sets up its stage in Knoxville.  That includes five straight losses consisting of defeats to Florida in 2012, Auburn in 2004, Florida and Miami in 2002, and Florida in 2000.

The Vols last won when GameDay came to Knoxville against Notre Dame in 1999.

Tennessee is also 0-2 in “Checker Neyland” games, and are 1-2 while wearing its “smokey grey” uniforms.

2. Injuries on both sides: While Tennessee has its own injuries to worry about, Florida will be missing starting quarterback Luke Del Rio.

Del Rio injured his left knee in a 32-0 victory against North Texas last week.

Appleby, who played 17 games and made 11 starts in four seasons at Purdue, has 19 career touchdown passes and 19 interceptions. He also has nine touchdown runs.

3. Gators strong defensively: Florida has allowed 14 points through three games this season. The total is the fewest surrendered in its first three games of a season since 1966.

The Gators have held their first three opponents to less than 200 total yards.

Florida is one of two FBS teams who has not surrendered a passing touchdown this season.

4. Florida converts on third down: The Gators offense has converted on 28-of-50 (58 percent) of its third downs this season, which ranks third in the country and best in the SEC.

5. Three-headed rushing attack: Mark Thompson, Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine all carried the ball 11 times and rushed for at least 57 yards and a touchdown in last week's win over North Texas. Each of them are averaging between 53.7 yards and 58.3 yards per game.

Four Gators running backs scored against North Texas.

USA TODAY contributed to this story.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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