Florida To UT: Our Back-Up QB Better Than Your Two And 31-17 Win Proves It

Gators' Murphy Valuable After Driskell Lost For Season With Broken Leg Early

Saturday, September 21, 2013 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com

Justin Worley may not be the long-term answer.

It’s for sure that redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman wasn’t a short-term fix for Tennessee’s quarterback problem.

Peterman started Saturday’s game, but failed miserably. He completed 4-of-11 attempts to Vols receivers for 5 yards and two more went to Florida defenders. He had three turnovers in a 17-minute span in the first half and was benched at the break.

Worley, unseated for the starting job during the week, came on and put up a few yards – and one touchdown – but threw a terrible interception on an ill-advised throw with 6 minutes left after the Vols had cut Florida’s lead to 14 points. Worley then ended the game with his second pick.

Meanwhile, Florida coach Will Muschamp dialed 911 when starter Jeff Driskell threw an interception and suffered a broken bone in his lower right leg on the play and will miss the rest of the season. The injury will require surgery.

Junior Tyler Murphy picked up the phone.

A junior from Wethersfield, Conn., who had not previously thrown a college pass, sparked the Gators to a convincing 31-17 victory – their ninth in a row in the one-sided series – before 90,074 fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

It was Tennessee’s 18th consecutive loss to a ranked opponent. The Vols are 2-2 and 0-1 and have lost the last seven games against Florida by double-digits – the Gators are this year’s No. 1-rated SEC defense and were going against Tennessee, the league’s 13th-ranked offense.

“There is no panic,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said in quotes posted on the school’s athletic website. “We’re 2-2 and a lot of football teams would like to be 2-2 right now. We have to keep things in perspective as we build this football team and learn what it takes to play winning football.”

Coming on the heels of a 59-14 blowout against No. 2-ranked Oregon, the Vols appear to be a good distance from playing the type of football that can beat the upcoming Southeastern Conference schedule – nationally ranked powers Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

The Vols host South Alabama next week and are favored to win that one.

“You’ve got to keep believing,” receiver Alton Howard said. “You’ve got to keep fighting. You’ve just got to leave it here.”

Murphy went 8-of-14 for 134 yards and a 52-yard touchdown to Solomon Patton, but more importantly the seldom-used reserve committed zero turnovers. He also scored a 7-yard rushing touchdown and picked up 84 yards on 10 carries.

"Tyler didn't just manage the game," Florida coach Will Muschamp told Gatorsports.com. "He made plays in critical situations."

The Gators (2-1, 1-0) had 382 yards of total offense, 215 on the ground.

“Tyler is our quarterback since Jeff will be out for the remainder of the season,” Muschamp said. “I hurt for (Jeff) and I hurt for us. He’s a guy that’s won a lot of ballgames here.”

Said Murphy, “It wasn’t the way I wanted (to get on the field), but an opportunity is an opportunity.”

Peterman, who is from Fruit Cove, Fla., about 70 miles from Jacksonville, was 4 of 11 for 5 yards with two picks while dozens of friends and family sat in the stands watching his first collegiate start.

“Everyone wants to point to the quarterback,” Jones said, “but I didn’t think we did a good job protecting the quarterback and were behind the sticks. Against Florida, if you get third-and-long you’re in trouble.”

Worley went 10 for 22 for 149 yards and a touchdown with the two errant throws.

Rushing is a key statistics between these two teams, since the winner of the rush has won 23 of the last 24 games. Mack Brown rushed for 86 yards and Murphy had 84 – both totals outdistancing the entire Tennessee backfield.  

Tennessee gained 66 on the ground, Rajion Neal leading the way with 42 yards on 12 carries. The Vols had 83 rushing yards in a 37-20 loss to Florida in 2012.

This time around the Vols managed 220 yards of total offense, 154 through the air, but that wasn’t nearly enough when trying to play catch-up against the Gators.

Florida’s secondary became a patch-work bunch as the game progressed.

Cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) did not play. Cornerback Louchieiz Purifoy sustained a hip injury returning a deep thigh bruise on a second-half kickoff. Defensive back Brian Poole was flagged for targeting a Vol receiver. Poole will miss the first half of next week’s Kentucky game.

Tennessee managed to out-sloppy 19th-ranked Florida in The Swamp and fell behind 17-7

The Vols had four turnovers at the break – two interceptions by Peterman and two fumbles. The Gators had three miscues – a botched center snap on a punt and two interceptions. They wound up with six and Florida played turnover-free in the second half when they gained control.

When it was over Tennessee had six turnovers: four interceptions and two fumbles.

“We can’t make catastrophic mistakes,” Jones said. “If you can’t get off the field on third down, you have no chance.”

In two quarters, Tennessee managed 31 yards of offense, a mere 5 through the air. Florida put up 199 yards, 95 on the ground.

After the Vols took a 7-0 lead on Devaun Swafford’s 62-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter, they managed just 31 yards on 25 plays. Peterman, who is from the Jacksonville, Fla., area, was 4-for-11 for 5 yards with the two picks.

For Swafford, a freshman walk-on defensive back, the catch produced his first interception and first touchdown. He’s the third Vol this season with a touchdown-scoring pick and it was the team’s longest pick-six return of the season.

The Vols came into the game ranked second nationally with six interceptions, two behind Northwestern.

On Swafford’s defensive gem, Driskel was tackled by Marlon Walls form behind as he threw the ball. Driskel rolled to his left, tried to get up, dropped back to the ground and immediately called for trainers.

He left the field on crutches.

Murphy came on with the confidence of a grizzled veteran.

He led the offense to a field goal and four touchdowns in nine drives. The touchdown drives covered 56, 40, 79 and 84 yards.

Tennessee’s lone offensive touchdown came on a 79-yard, seven-play drive.

The Vols took the early 7-0 lead, but Florida scored the next 17 points. Tennessee got a third-quarter field goal from Michael Palardy only to watch the Gators get touchdowns by Matt Jones and Murphy to open a 31-10 lead.

Worley’s 18-yard touchdown to Alton Howard with 10:20 left in the game was way too little to late.

GAME SUMMARY

Tennessee                     7 0 3 7 — 17

 

Florida                         3 14 7 7 — 31

 

First Quarter

 

TEN – Devaun Swafford 62 interception return (Michael Palardy kick), 9:23

FLA – FG Austin Hardin 23, 1:42

 

Second Quarter

 

FLA – Solomon Patton 52 pass from Tyler Murphy (Hardin kick), 13:23

FLA – Mack Brown 3 run (Hardin kick), 0:37

 

Third Quarter

 

TEN –  FG Palardy 44, 12:17

FLA – Matt Jones 4 run (Hardin kick), 7:08

 

Fourth Quarter

 

FLA – Murphy 7 run (Hardin kick), 13:52

TEN – Alton Howard 18 pass from Justin Worley (Palardy kick), 10:20

 

ATT – 90,074

 

YARDSTICK

                                                  TEN                 FLA

First Downs                            12                    20

Rushes-Yards                        23-66             56-215

Passing Yards                       154                 167

Total Plys-Yards                     57-220           76-382

Com.-Att.-Int.                          14-34-4          11-20-1

Fumbles-Lost                        2-2                  6-2

Punts.-Avg.                             3-41.7             3-37.0

Penalties-Yds.                       3-25                6-44

 

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

 

RUSHING — Tennessee: Rajion Neal 12-42, Malin Lane 5-16, Marquez North 1-9, Alton Howard 2-2, Nathan Peterman 3-minus 3; Florida: Mack Brown 24-86, Tyler Murphy 10-84, Matt Jones 12-49, Loucheiz Purifoy 1-15, Solomon Patton 2-5, Kelvin Taylor 1-3, Team 5-minus 12.

 

PASSING — Tennessee: Worley 10-23-2-149, Peterman 4-11-2-5; Florida: Murphy 8-14-0-134, Jeff Driskel 3-6-1-33 .

 

RECEIVING — Tennessee: Howard 4-75, North 4-43, Jason Croom 2-31, Neal 1-9, Tom Smith 1-2, Brendan Downs 1-0, Lane 1-minus 6; Florida: Patton 3-73, Quinton Dunbar 4-63, Tre Burton 3-27, Jones 1-4.

 

TACKLES (UA-A-TOTAL) – Tennessee – Brian Randolph 8-3-11, A.J. Johnson 7-3-10, Dontavis Sapp 3-6-9, LaDarrell McNeil 5-2-7, Brent Brewer 5-1-6; Florida – Jaylen Watkins 5-2-7, Antonio Morrison 6-0-6, Michael Taylor 2-2-4, Brian Poole 2-2-4, Dante Fowler 3-0-3.

 

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)

 




Prep Volleyball Schedule

Aug. 27  Baylor at Signal Mountain Warren County at Grundy County Aug. 28 Bledsoe County at Notre Dame Boyd-Buchanan at CGLA Bradley Central at East Hamilton Howard at Central CCS at Hixson CSAS at Copper Basin Grace at Silverdale Grundy County at Whitwell Lookout Valley at Sale Creek Central, Ooltewah, Sequoyah at McMinn Central ... (click for more)

Youthful GPS Uses Strong Comeback To Beat Red Bank

It’s been a roller-coaster season so far for the GPS volleyball team and they haven’t even gotten through the first month of competition. Injuries, illness and youthfulness have all taken its toll on the Bruisers.   Their record was 3-7 prior to Wednesday’s match at home against Red Bank. The Bruisers can and will get better.   ... (click for more)

General Motors To Invest $185 Million In Engine Plant, Build New Cadillac SRX In Spring Hill

General Motors will invest $185 million to make small gas engines at its Spring Hill manufacturing complex, officials said Wednesday.  GM also identified the next-generation Cadillac SRX as a future mid-size vehicle to be produced at Spring Hill. “We want to congratulate GM on this important investment in its future in Spring Hill and Middle Tennessee,” Governor Bill Haslam ... (click for more)

Concurrent Grand Jury Says Mental Health Court Is On The Way

Members of the Concurrent Grand Jury said in a final report they have been advised that a Mental Health Court is on the way. The report says: "We were pleased to hear from some of our Judges that a mental health court is in the works. As stated in past reports, the need to have such a court is very clear. "We feel it would serve to break the cycle of arrest to those who are ... (click for more)

Vote No On Health Insurance Changes Affecting County Teachers

Our Hamilton County School Board will vote on insurance changes effecting both active employees and retirees, who are not on Medicare at this time.  HCEA strongly objects to changes being made at this time and urges a “No” vote.  Insurance had been frozen three years by negotiations.  Since the Educators Professional Negotiations Act was nullified by the 2011 Legislature, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)