So, Adele Gator-chomped last night in Madison Square Garden. This had direct bearing on the 38-28 Tennessee victory over Florida. It’s science.
Mary got her to do the GATOR CHOMP!! They are BFFs now!Posted by Nick Schmidt on Friday, September 23, 2016
Adele here, by request from a fan in the front row, does the chomp. Her confidence turns into uncertainty as she realizes she might be doing it wrong. It works at first, so she goes with it, but as it gets awkward she stops. That’s the metaphor for this game. It’s almost as if both teams realized what was happening at halftime. That what they were doing started to look familiar (Florida pasting Tennessee) but that couldn’t continue so it didn’t.
“Don't underestimate the things that I will do.”
Things started out pretty great for Florida. Not only was Austin Appleby capable under center, he looked downright good to the tune of 10-of-16 for 213 yards at the half. The forward pass was not just a thing, it was practically en vogue for the Gators on Saturday with Appleby triggering the attack.
With completions of 51, 43 and 36, Appleby had more connections over 30 yards with receivers in the first half than Florida had in the first three games of the season combined. Antonio Callaway still had a gimpy wheel en route to 134 yards receiving. Callaway did his damage on two big catches of 51 and 43 yards and then went silent, much like the rest of Florida’s offense.
“Hello, it’s me.”
This is what Florida’s defense said early and often, particularly its front four. The Vols were correctly afraid of the fearsome Florida pass rush and did quite a bit to move the pocket and get Josh Dobbs mobile so as not to let him stand in a collapsing pocket and get absolutely shellacked.
The Gators only sacked Dobbs once, but at halftime, he was 7-21 through the air with a costly red zone interception as the Vols attempted to claw back from a 14-0 deficit. The Gators would score on the ensuing drive and the Vols looked buried, 21-3, at the intermission.
“There's such a difference between us / And a million miles.”
The teams were diametrically opposite in the first half, and then they flipped.
By the time you looked up, Florida had regressed back to what we thought they’d be pregame and Tennessee was doing everything right.
The Gators gained eight total yards in the third quarter. Six straight drives ended with either a punt or a turnover before the Gators scored an inconsequential touchdown late in the game. Meanwhile, Dobbs threw four touchdown passes and ran in another to score five TDs in six drives. The only fight Florida showed was the wrong kind, when Brandon Powell was ejected for throwing a punch early in the fourth, and even that was a lie.
“We could have had it all / Rolling in the deep”
It was all there for the Gators, but 11 straight wins would not turn into 12. It was instead a career high through the air for Dobbs, who finished the day with 319 yards. The QB who was so maligned for his passing went 9-12 for 235 yards in the second half, finally stepping up for what will go down as his biggest moment to date as Tennessee’s signal-caller.
“When we were young.”
After 12 straight victories, this rings the truest. The freshmen on these teams were barely in elementary school the last time the Vols beat the Gators. As a program, Tennessee has built to this for over a decade. The noise you heard as Neyland Stadium grew louder and louder throughout the second half was not merely cheers. It was the collective exorcising of an orange and blue demon.
Butch Jones called a timeout with five seconds left to salt an open Florida wound and let his fans savor it for just a little while longer, a generation of Tennessee fans got to do something that hadn’t be done for so long. They were able to exhale because finally their team had beaten Florida.
Maybe Florida could get Adele to sing “Rocky Top” next year?