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Tennessee Vols Football takes on #6 Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium, Saturday

 

Tennessee (2-5) vs. #6 Florida (7-1)

Saturday, December 5th, 2020 | 2:30pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Neyland Stadium

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The Tennessee Vols Football team is back on Rocky Top this Saturday for its first home game in six weeks as the Vols welcome SEC East rival No. 6 Florida to Neyland Stadium for a late afternoon showdown that will be broadcast nationally on CBS.

The Big Orange have not played a home game since their October 24th contest against Alabama, which will be a span of 42 days when Saturday’s game kicks off. UT did not play a home game during the entire month of November due to postponements and schedule reshuffling, marking the first time that has happened since 1891.

Tennessee Vols Football hosts the Florida Gators this Saturday. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee Vols Football hosts the Florida Gators this Saturday. (UT Athletics)

Gates open to the public two hours prior to kickoff at 12:30pm. Please note that parking passes issued for this season did not include opponents on them, therefore, those with parking passes should use the pass labeled “Game 4” for Saturday’s contest.

Saturday’s game will be televised nationally by CBS with Carter Blackburn (PxP), Aaron Murray (analyst) and Jenny Dell (sideline) on the call. Kickoff is slated for 2:40pm CT.

Fans can also listen to Tennessee’s official radio broadcast on the Vol Network (WIVK-FM 107.7/WNML-FM 99.1) and satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 106, XM Ch. 191, Internet Ch. 962). A live audio stream of the broadcast will also be available on UTSports.com? and the Official Gameday App.

Bob Kesling (PxP), Tim Priest (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action, with Kasey Funderburg handling sideline duties. The “Kickoff Call-In Show” begins at 1:00pm.

Gameday Health & Safety Measures

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, numerous procedures and protocols have been put in place for Tennessee football home games at Neyland Stadium. Relying on the expertise of public health authorities, the state of Tennessee, appropriate university and government agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we are implementing a number of new initiatives on Tennessee football gamedays this fall. The well-being of our student-athletes, fans and staff are our top priorities and guide our decisions.

Stadium capacity will be limited to no more than 25% and capacity will also be limited in all merchandise shops. Merchandise stores and stands will only be accepting credit cards for payment. Cash will not be accepted. 

Face coverings (over the nose and mouth) are required for all guests as they enter, exit and move around Neyland Stadium, as well as any time guests are unable to maintain the recommended physical distance from others who are not in their same household.

Physical distancing measures have been put in place, including physically distanced line queues, marked barriers and social distancing reminders. A significant number of hand washing opportunities, including hand sanitizers and portable hand-washing stations have been added inside Neyland Stadium. Additional cleaning and sanitization measures have been implemented. This includes high touch-point areas being cleaned more frequently and providing additional hand-sanitizing locations.

For a complete overview of this season’s health and safety measures, please visit the Tennessee Football Gameday Information page on UTSports.com.

 


Offensive Output

Tennessee racked up a season-best 464 yards of total offense in a tough 30-17 loss at No. 21 Auburn in its last game. It represented the Vols’ highest offensive output against the Tigers since putting up 502 yards in the 1997 SEC Championship Game and was also UT’s most against a ranked team since posting 521 yards against No. 24 Nebraska in the 2016 Music City Bowl.

The Vols outgained Auburn by 79 yards, were 9-of-15 on third down and tallied 222 rushing yards, led by a season-high 173 yards on 22 carries from Eric Gray. Gray averaged 7.9 yards per carry and finished with 222 all-purpose yards. UT recorded 28 first downs, representing the most in a game in the Jeremy Pruitt era (previous high: 26 vs. Missouri in 2019 & 2020).

Gray Shouldering the Load

Sophomore running back Eric Gray has been the engine that makes Tennessee’s offense go this season. The Memphis native has gone over 100 yards rushing four times this year (ranks second in the SEC), including back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Gray ranks fifth in the SEC in total rushing yardage (651), fourth in yards per game (93.0) and 10th in rushing touchdowns (four).

During the month of November, Gray averaged 148.0 yards per game on the ground, which led the SEC and ranked sixth in the FBS. In his last nine games dating back to last year’s Vanderbilt game, Gray is averaging 109.2 yards per game on the ground. Gray is the first Vol with running consecutive 100-yard rushing games since John Kelly in 2017 (141 vs. Florida, 101 vs. UMass), and he’s the first UT players to do it in back-to-back conference games since Joshua Dobbs in 2016 (147 vs. Kentucky, 190 vs. Missouri).

December Football

Regular season contests in the month of December are a rare occurrence for Tennessee football. Saturday will be Tennessee’s 34th regular season game played during the month of December and first since December 1st, 2001, a game that was rescheduled following the events of 9/11.

The Vols defeated No. 2 Florida, 34-32, in Gainesville that day. UT has been very successful in December regular season games all-time, boasting a 29-3-1 record in such contests. The only losses: December 5th, 1953 at Houston (L, 33-19), December 9th, 1933 at LSU (L, 7-0) and December 3rd, 1905 vs. Grant in Chattanooga (L, 5-0).
 
This will be the 14th December game played in Knoxville, 13th in Neyland Stadium and first since December 2nd, 1989 vs. Vanderbilt (won 17-10). The Vols are 13-0 in those contests. Including postseason games, Tennessee owns a 43-14-1 (.750) record during the month of December. The last time the Vols played any game during December was a 38-24 win over No. 24 Nebraska in the 2016 Music City Bowl.

 


Series History

Gators lead series, 29-20
Tennessee dominated the series early on, winning the first 10 games between the two programs. However, Florida has had the upper hand recently, winning three straight and 14 of the past 15 meetings. The Vols’ lone victory in that span came in 2016, when the Big Orange erased a 21-0 first half deficit to defeat the Gators, 38-28, in Knoxville.

About the Florida Gators

The Gators sit atop the SEC East standings entering Saturday’s game with a 7-1 record and are No. 6 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings. They are coached by Dan Mullen, who is in his third season leading the program and is 28-6 since taking over as Florida’s head coach.

UF has one of the nation’s most explosive offenses this season, ranking 10th nationally and second in the SEC in scoring offense (43.4 points per game) while averaging 509.2 yards of total offense per game, which ranks 12th in the country and third in the conference. Heisman frontrunner Kyle Trask is the triggerman behind UF’s high-powered attack with 2,810 passing yards and 34 passing touchdowns.

Trask leads the SEC and ranks second nationally with 351.2 passing yards per game while his 34 touchdown passes leads the FBS. Senior wide receiver Kadarius Toney and junior tight end Kyle Pitts have been Trask’s top targets in the passing game. Toney leads the team with 45 catches and 541 receiving yards to go along with seven touchdowns, while Pitts ranks fourth in the nation with 11 touchdown receptions despite missing two games.

Despite struggling at times this season, Florida’s defense has playmakers at every level. Redshirt junior linebacker Ventrell Miller leads the team with 54 tackles (4.5 TFLs) while redshirt sophomore linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. has been extremely effective at getting into the backfield with a team-high seven tackles for loss and four sacks. Sophomore defensive back Kaiir Elam leads the Gators’ secondary with two interceptions and nine pass breakups on the year.


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