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Game Preview: Tennessee football looks to get back in win column against Florida

Vols host Florida on Saturday, as they try to top the Gators for the first time since 2016.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 11 Tennessee football's Top-25 matchup against No. 20 Florida on Saturday is one of the most highly-anticipated battles in the Vols' recent memory. It has a lot to do with how UT began the season, and how the Vols' have fared against the Gators for the better part of two decades.

The Vols have not beaten Florida since 2016 and that victory is a small orange-and-white blemish on an otherwise dominant stretch for Florida. The Gators have earned victories over Tennessee in 16 of the last 17 meetings.

ALL EYES ON NEYLAND STADIUM

The home of the Vols will also be home of the hub for college football action on Saturday. ESPN's College Gameday returns to Knoxville for the first time since 2016 when Tennessee defeated Florida.

TENNESSEE'S OFFENSE VS. FLORIDA'S DEFENSE

The Vols continue to light up the scoreboard this season. They currently rank third in the nation in total offense and average 43 points per game.

Florida has only allowed 26.7 points per game to their first three opponents which were No. 13 Utah, No, 8 Kentucky and South Florida.

MUCH DIFFERENT STORIES AT QUARTERBACK

Tennessee's offense has been led by stellar senior quarterback Hendon Hooker, who already looks to be in midseason form. Since becoming the Vols' starter in week three of 2021, Hooker has thrown 37 passing touchdowns versus just two interceptions. This season, he has thrown for six touchdowns, zero interceptions, and rushed for two more scores.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is having a different relationship with his touchdown-to-interception ratio. The sophomore has not accounted for a Florida touchdown in the last two games and has thrown four interceptions in that span. Richardson has three total touchdowns this season, all rushing.

CEDRIC TILLMAN QUESTIONABLE FOR SATURDAY

Tennessee star wide receiver Cedric Tillman is questionable for Saturday's matchup against Tennessee after suffering an apparent ankle injury against Akron. His absence would be a big one against Florida, and that spot may be filled by a committee of Ramel Keyton, Jimmy Holliday and/or Walker Merrill. 

That trio has shown nice flashes in Tennessee's two home games this season, but none of them caught a pass in Tennessee's victory against Pittsburgh in week two.

TENNESSEE IS A HEAVY FAVORITE AGAINST THE GATORS

The 11th-ranked Vols are a double-digit favorite against Florida heading into this contest. This is the first time since 2016 that the Vols are the higher-ranked team and are a betting favorite.

WHERE AND WHEN TO WATCH

Fans can watch Tennessee battle Florida at Neyland Stadium at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. If you could not secure a ticket for the sold-out contest, it will be broadcast on CBS.

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