By: Tim Chambers
Tennessees near win at Georgia two weeks ago was nothing more than fools gold.
Those that thought the Volunteers had turned the corner might want to reconsider. A 35-32 loss to the 13th ranked Bulldogs in Athens was one good reason for fans to be optimistic. They were hoping that quality football was on its way back to Knoxville. The Big Orange Nation was licking their chops.
A win over Florida would have certainly been tasty.
The struggling Gators appeared to be the perfect bait needed to stop nine years of frustration. But instead it was the Big Orange that got chomped on.
Tennessee has now lost 10 straight to one of its biggest SEC rivals. And I dont see that ending anytime soon after watching Saturdays performance.
Lets put things in perspective.
Florida has been lucky. Its apparent that the football gods are looking down on the Gators.
They dodged a bullet against Kentucky and another one on Saturday. And both times it was due to clock mismanagement.
The Wildcats are still crying foul after being robbed of an apparent win in a three overtime loss at the Swamp. And Austins Hardins 49-yard field goal which proved to be the game winner should have been pushed back another five yards for delay of game.
The play clock had clearly expired but once again a Gator prayer was answered. Thats not been the case for Tennessee.
That old saying its sometimes better to be lucky than good has held true thus far for Florida in 2014. I wouldnt be shocked if Will Muschamp won the lottery this week.
The Gators have become the Ricochet Rabbits of the SEC. Nobody is been better at dodging bullets.
Unlike the Vols who have taken on the role as Wile E. Coyote.
Thats because theyve been unable to catch up with the SEC Roadrunners like Georgia and Florida. And unless things change you can add Alabama and South Carolina to the mix.
Would Hardin have made it from 54 yards away? Its a moot point now.
But officiating did not cost Tennessee the game.
Justin Worley showed toughness and savvy in the Georgia game. He shook off an injury and almost led his team to a comeback victory.
But Saturday was a different story. This time he hurt his team.
The senior leader had three turnovers and was sacked a whooping six times. And some of those could have been avoided had he gotten rid of the football.
He threw a costly interception on the goal line to start the second half after the defense had got them the ball at Floridas 13. A touchdown at that point would have driven a dagger in the Gators. Instead, they were given new life.
The pick he threw on their final drive caused a checkerboard crowd of one hundred thousand plus to disappear.
And so did the chance of beating Florida.
Head coach Butch Jones said it best.
At the end of the day, youve got to score touchdowns in the red zone and you cant turn the football over. Thats pretty much the storyline.
The storyline is that Tennessee hasnt beat Florida in a decade. Thats 10 straight wins for the Gators.
Thats one more than the nine points scored by the Vols offense on Saturday.
Still Jones chose his postgame words wisely. He said that its a team game.
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