Vols Knock Off Florida Gators, 38-33, To Start Season 4-0

Vols Shift Attention To Gators For SEC Opener

Monday, September 19, 2022

 The 11th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers began preparations for a new challenge Monday morning following a 63-6 victory over Akron on Saturday night as the Vols gear up for their SEC opener against No. 20 Florida Saturday afternoon.

The Gators stand as the second ranked foe the Vols face in the 2022 campaign. Tennessee downed No. 17 Pitt on the road Week 2, winning 34-27 in overtime. Saturday's contest marks the first time since 2016 that both Tennessee and Florida are ranked heading into the showdown. Heupel and his team understand the challenge that lies ahead, but there is no doubt the team will be as prepared as it can be heading into the bout, UT officials said.

"Great week ahead of us and excited about the challenge that is coming to town," head coach Josh Heupel said. "It is going to be a great environment, one that our entire program is excited about. I said it earlier today, the most important thing for us is controlling our preparation and that taking us to kickoff."

The team feels locked in, too. One of the team leaders and captain Hendon Hooker discussed tuning out all the noise, because at the end of the day, the team is playing the same game at the same field, in the same stadium that rests on the banks of the Tennessee River.

"We are going to approach it the same way we approach every other game," Hooker said. "All the outside noise doesn't really matter to us. We are going to come in, we are going to gameplan how we do in a normal week, and we're going to come in and work hard."

As Heupel touched on in his postgame remarks, Vol Nation is a difference-maker for the guys on the field. In the moment, being surrounded by 101,915 of your closest friends, that's what makes Rocky Top magical.

"This is what you play SEC ball for – weekends like this," tight end Jacob Warren said.

"You want to be a part of these types of games," Heupel also noted. "You want to have an opportunity to have College GameDay on your campus and be the prime-time slot and have a sold-out stadium. We're excited to see the fan base and Vol Walk, I know will be electric. When we run out of that T, there won't be a better atmosphere in college football."

The stage is set for Tennessee and Florida to square off Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET inside of Neyland Stadium with the game broadcast on CBS. The matchup is preceded by ESPN College GameDay, beginning at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.

 

 


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