GAME 3: Vols Play Host to Florida in SEC Opener
TENNESSEE-FLORIDA SERIES HISTORY & NOTES
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Florida 19-18, dating to 1916. The Gators have won the last three overall meetings in the series, but the Volunteers hold an 11-8 all-time edge in Knoxville.
UT head coach Phillip Fulmer owns a 5-11 career record against Florida.
Tennessee and Florida are two of the three Southeastern Conference schools that have won national championships during the BCS era (1998-present). The two programs have combined to represent the SEC Eastern Division in the league title game 13 of a possible 16 times.
Seven players on Tennessee's 2008 roster--Art Evans (Lakeland), Quintin Hancock (St. Augustine), Daniel Lincoln (Ocala), Demetrice Morley (Miami), Vladimir Richard (Sunrise), Jake Storey (Titusville) and Gerald Williams (Lauderdale Lakes)--hail from the state of Florida. Lincoln and Morley are UT's starting placekicker and free safety, respectively, and Richard is listed as a potential starter at either offensive guard position.
First-year Tennessee running backs coach Stan Drayton spent the last three seasons at Florida under the same title. Vols defensive line coach Dan Brooks worked as an assistant coach at UF from 1983-87.
Florida returns 52 lettermen and 18 starters from last season's 9-4 squad and is off to a 2-0 start this season under fourth-year head coach Urban Meyer. The Gators are coming off an open date.
WAVE OFF HUNGER WITH A UT POWER TOWEL
The 17th Annual Tim Kerin Memorial Drive will be held on Saturday, September 20th before the UT vs. Florida home game. Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, volunteers, staff and the students of the University of Tennessee Ministers Council will be collecting donations and distributing the UT Power Towel for a suggested $5 donation.
The orange and white Power Towels will be available outside of every gate at Neyland Stadium two hours prior to kickoff. Second Harvest Food Bank is asking fans to make a donation in exchange for the Power Towel or give $1, enough to provide 3 meals.
Tim Kerin made a huge impact on UT and the Knoxville community. He came to UT in 1976 as the Head Athletic Trainer. Kerin was honored as Trainer of the Year by the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society in 1992 and was elected posthumously into The National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame in 1993.
TENNESSEE RANKS HIGH AMONG FBS SCHOOLS IN NUMEROUS CATEGORIES
The Vols are breaking in a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator this season, but after three weeks still lead the Southeastern Conference and are 23rd nationally in total offense, averaging 457.0 yards per game.
Tennessee is 20th in the nation and third in the SEC in rushing offense with 221.5 yards per game.
The defense also is getting into the act as John Chavis' troops are 12th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (89.7) and 20th in rushing defense, allowing just 68.5 yards per game.
The Vols defense is giving up 15 points per game which is tied for 27th in the nation. If you take away the seven points UCLA scored on a blocked punt in the season opener, UT is only giving up 11.5 points per game and would rank tied for 17th. Overall, the defense is allowing 281.5 yards per game, which is ranked 30th.
One of the only team defensive stats the Vols aren't in the top-30 in is passing defense. UT gives up 213 yards per game through the air and is ranked 69th. The Vols offset this stat with seven interceptions to tie for second nationally.
VOLS RANK SECOND NATIONALLY WITH SEVEN INTERCEPTIONS
Through three weeks of NCAA play, Tennessee ranks tied for second nationally among FBS teams with seven interceptions. The Vols are averaging 3.5 interceptions per game and an average of 10.0 yards per return.
Five different Vols have recorded a pick thus far, but sophomore strong safety Eric Berry and senior cornerback DeAngelo Willingham lead the way with two apiece.
Texas Tech leads the nation with nine interceptions. Joining the Big Orange with seven are Iowa, Iowa State, NC State and Troy. Tennessee and Troy are the only teams among the six that have not yet played three games.
FOSTER IS SEC'S ACTIVE CAREER LEADER FOR CARRIES, RUSHING & ALL-PURPOSE YARDAGE
Tailback Arian Foster is the Southeastern Conference's active career leader in three separate offensive statistical categories.
The San Diego, Calif., native boasts a league-high 544 carries, 2,590 net rushing yards and 3,374 all-purpose yards.
Through his first three playing seasons on Rocky Top, Foster averaged 173 carries per year, 798 net rushing yards per year and 1,048 all-purpose yards per year.
THREE MEMORABLE VOL PERFORMANCES vs. FLORIDA
In Tennessee's 37 previous clashes with Florida, there have been several memorable Vol performances. Here are three of note:
TOT-AL DOMINATION: AL WILSON, 1998: When the Vols squared off against the Gators in the second game of the 1998 season, who knew that UT would end up going a perfect 13-0 and bring home the sixth national championship in school history? The Vols defeated Florida 20-17 in overtime but would not have gotten there without the defensive play of Al Wilson. Wilson earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after his other-worldly outing that included nine tackles, three assists, a tackle for loss, a broken-up pass and a school-record three forced fumbles.
RUNNING DOWNHILL IN THE SWAMP: Travis Stephens, 2001: When the Volunteers traveled to Gainesville to take on the Gators in 2001, UT had not won a game at "The Swamp" since 1971. Travis Stephens didn't care about all that. He rushed 19 times for 226 yards and two touchdowns to lift Tennessee to a 34-32 triumph. Stephens ran for 75 yards in the first half and nearly doubled that on runs of 35, 34, and 68 yards in the second half. His first carry of the third quarter was for six points, lifting UT to a 21-20 advantage. He later set up a pair of Jabari Davis short-yardage TDs that put Tennessee up 34-26 with 8:30 left to play. Tennessee out-rushed Florida 242-36 that day, with the gutsy Stephens accounting for all but 16 of those yards.
FAB FROSH: Erik Ainge, 2004: Quarterback Erik Ainge helped Tennessee capture a 30-28 victory over the Gators with his strong play in the fourth quarter of the 2004 clash. Ainge played the entire fourth quarter after splitting time with fellow freshman Brent Schaeffer. Ainge took over in the final quarter with UT trailing 14-21, but quickly tied the game with a 23-yard TD pass to Bret Smith. When UT was later trailing 28-21, Ainge marched the Vols 80 yards while converting three third downs and one fourth down. He found Tony Brown for a 32-yard gain on a fourth-and-6 before hitting Jayson Swain for a 13-yard TD strike that brought the Vols to within 28-27 with 3:25 remaining. Ainge then led the team back down the field to set up James Wilhoit's game-winning field goal. Ainge finished his SEC debut affair 16-of-24 for 192 yards and three touchdowns.
TAYLOR RIDING RECEPTIONS STREAK, LEADING SEC IN RECEIVING YARDS PER GAME
If he catches a pass against Florida, senior wide receiver Lucas Taylor will move into a tie for eighth-place on UT's all-time list for consecutive games played with a reception with 17.
He has caught a pass in 16 straight games played entering the clash with the Gators and has totaled 86 receptions during that span.
The Carencro, La., native is averaging 84.5 receiving yards per game so far this season to tie for the SEC lead.
JEFF HALL TO CHAT FRIDAY ON UTSPORTS.COM
Three-time All-SEC placekicker and UT's all-time leading scorer Jeff Hall (1995-98) will be the featured guest during a live online chat Friday, Sept. 19, from 1-2 p.m. ET on UTsports.com.
Friday marks the 10-year anniversary of Hall's clutch, game-winning 41-yard field goal during overtime of UT's 20-17 win over Florida in 1998.