8. Sept. 24, 2016
No. 19 Florida Gators at No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers
Final score: Tennessee Vols win 38-28
One week before Tennessee football’s Hail Mary to beat the Georgia Bulldogs, they unleashed a decade of frustration in one half. At 3-0 heading into the game, the Vols had blown two fourth quarter leads to the Florida Gators the previous two years to lose by one point each. They had done that three times overall in the midst of an 11-game losing streak to UF.
So entering this game, nerves showed. Florida jumped out to a 21-0 lead, UT failed to convert on four plays from inside the two-yard line, and Joshua Dobbs threw an interception on another trip inside the five. Given the series history, it was clear this game was over. Alvin Kamara dropped a pass late in the first half, forcing the Vols to settle for a field goal to make it 21-3.
To open the second half, Dobbs threw another interception after crossing midfield. So it was going to be another loss, right? Well, that’s when UT’s defense came to life…thanks in large part to Jim McElwain’s horrible incompetence when it came to play-calling. The Vols got a stop and responded with a touchdown pass from Dobbs to Jalen Hurd.
After that, both teams traded punts. But when Florida got the ball back, the Vols got their third straight stop of them without allowing a first down in the second half. They responded with a drive that ended with Dobbs hitting Ethan Wolf for a touchdown. Then Derek Barnett’s second sack of the game got them the ball back.
That’s when Dobbs went for the jugular. He hit Jauan Jennings down the sideline for a touchdown to put them up 24-21 in the fourth quarter. Tennessee football followed that with a Todd Kelly Jr. interception and then a touchdown pass from Dobbs to Josh Malone. Finally, after another stop, Dobbs used a long drive to score another TD.
All of a sudden, 21-0 became 38-21. The Vols scored on four straight drives and had not allowed a first down in the second half. They then played soft coverage, allowing the Gators to score a TD, but it took a lot of time off the clock, and things were too late. UT ended the streak thanks to an epic performance by Dobbs, who had five total touchdowns and over 400 total yards.