Feleipe Franks threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth Saturday night while Florida’s defense forced six turnovers as the Gators routed sloppy Tennessee 47-21 in a Southeastern Conference mismatch at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
Franks completed 9 of 18 passes for 172 yards, hitting R.J. Raymond, Freddie Swain and Tyrie Cleveland for scores. Franks also added a 1-yard touchdown run that gave Florida (3-1, 1-1) a 14-0 lead with 4:52 left in the first quarter.
It was a 180-degree turn from last year’s meeting in Gainesville, where Franks and Cleveland connected on a miracle 63-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Gators a 26-20 win. This one was never close, in large part because the Volunteers (2-2, 0-1) made almost every mistake in the book to ruin the SEC debut of first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano ended their first two possessions with a fumble and interception, respectively, that set up touchdowns. After a safety in the second quarter made it 16-3, Florida scored on the first play after the free kick on Franks’ connection to Swain.
Trailing 23-3, Tennessee appeared to pull off a big fourth down play when Guarantano hit wide-open tight end Austin Pope down the right sideline for a 51-yard gain. But Pope fumbled the ball at the 4 and it rolled through the end zone for a touchback.
Scattered boos ushered the Volunteers off the field at the half. Some of the crowd of 100,027 headed for the exits after the Gators turned a fumble recovery on the second half kickoff into a 19-yard touchdown run by Jordan Scarlett.
Guarantano completed 7 of 18 passes for 163 yards, but he tossed a pair of interceptions and was hassled consistently by the Florida pass rush. Backup Kellen Chryst relieved Guarantano for a brief stretch in the first half before taking over for good in the fourth quarter.
Madre London rushed 11 times for 66 yards and a touchdown for Tennessee.
—Field Level Media