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September 21, 2013Tennessee looks to end an eight game losing streak to the Gators as they travel to the heat and humidity of the Swamp. For the underdog Vols, there are several keys to pulling an upset starting with team #117's mindset following last week's beat down at Oregon. Here are four on the field keys for the Vols in what we call The Cheat Sheet.
Be physical - This is a man's game. The strengths of this Florida team is in the defensive front seven particularly the defensive line. Florida surrendered 100 yards in two games. Against Miami, the Gators gave up 50 yards on 28 carries for a 1.8 yard per carry average. Tennessee has struggled through the years running the ball against Florida. The last time the Vols rushed for over 100 yards was in 2009.
A year ago, Tennessee rushed for 83 yards. In 2011, the Vols had -9 yards rushing. In 2010, the Vols rushed for 29 yards.
Defensively, Tennessee has played spread teams. Florida will use quarterback Jeff Driskel in the run game, but they will also hit it between the tackles. Western Kentucky had ground game success with a lead blocker. Florida will show that some. Tennessee's defensive front must stop the Florida ground game. The Gators certainly like to run it more than throw it.
Be creative - Tennessee's offense is lacking explosive plays. The Vol offense has 4 plays this season of over 20 yards and two of those came against Austin-Peay. Last week, the Vols had one play of over 14 yards on offense. The Vol offense is struggling to get guys the ball in space to make plays. And arguably the most talented playmaker is Marquez North who has 8 catches on the year for an average of 8.6 yards a catch. The challenge for offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian is to find different ways to get guys the ball in space regardless of who is playing quarterback.
Defend Trey Burton - The senior receiver, who the Gators line up all over the field, has 11 catches for 133 yards. Burton is Florida's biggest weapon. He's averaging 12 yards a catch and Florida will try to get him isolated on that they feel are winning match-up's. A year ago, Burton had 2 catches for 38 yards and 3 rushes for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns. For his career against the Vols, Burton has 5 touchdowns on 15 touches.
Create turnovers - It's been the achilles for the Gator offense this season and Tennessee needs it to continue. Head coach Butch Jones said his team has to overachieve and they also need help from their opponent. Florida moved the ball up and down the field on the Hurricanes. Against the 'Canes, Florida turned it over 5 times. Tennessee's defense has been opportunistic through three games forcing 9 turnovers. The Vols are the underdog today in the Swamp and everyone knows turnovers are the great neutralizer.