Tennessee Football lost to SEC rival Florida 31-19, but the blowout loss isn’t as bad as it looks as Harrison Bailey looked impressive in his first start.
Tennessee football wasn’t necessarily impressive in their 31-19 loss on Saturday against Florida, but it’s hard to argue that they played horribly either. There were some very good moments from both the offense and defense and some bad moments as well.
Throughout the past six losses, the big eyesore for Tennessee has been the offense. With the offense unable to perform, the defense was forced into bad situations. Things were a bit different this week, though, as Tennessee held their own for the most part.
I could have more positive than negative thoughts about this game because I expected the score to be a lot worse than it was, so the fact that Tennessee mostly held their own might have impacted my opinion on their performance.
Even though Tennessee didn’t have any impressive drives to force the Gators into a corner or show the offense has the ability to be elite, the offense still put together some solid drives and moved the ball well enough to get into the endzone twice. On the flip side of that, Tennessee had six drives where they gained less than ten total yards.
That could be attributed to freshman Harrison Bailey‘s first career start as he tried to get acclimated to the offense in his first meaningful minutes of his career. Before being pulled, Bailey went 14-for-21 passing for 111 yards and one touchdown.
Obviously, you want your offense to throw more than 100 yards, but if he connected with one or two of the deep passes he threw, then Tennessee could’ve had at least one more touchdown, and he would’ve finished with much more impressive numbers.
I was upset that Bailey was pulled, but the coaching staff wanted to give JT Shrout a shot at running the offense, and Shrout impressed. In Shrout’s two drives, he took Tennessee down the field for two touchdowns.
Everyone expected Bailey to be the starting quarterback moving forward, but it looks like we might have a quarterback battle between Bailey and Shrout for the last two weeks of the season.
I’m sure we’ll see both of them run the offense over the next two games as the coaches try to figure out who will be the starter going into next season.
The coaching staff also could’ve taken an extra gamble in the second half and gone for it on fourth down on Florida’s side of the field, but the coaching staff opted to play it safe. In my opinion, when you’re down by 17 and it looks like you’re about to lose your sixth-straight game, you can add an extra gamble or two.
Speaking of gamble, the fake punt was a near-perfectly executed fake punt. If Jimmy Holiday catches the ball, Tennessee gets a first down, and the offense has a little bit of momentum. I don’t know if it would’ve ended in points, but it’s something to think about.
As for the defense, the first half wasn’t great, but they were able to make adjustments at halftime and shut down a dominant Florida offense for most of the second half. If Tennessee could go into halftime with the lead or keep the score within one possession, I thought the Vols had a chance at winning.
The Vols went into halftime down ten but no points in the third quarter pretty much ended the Vols’ chances at winning after Florida scored a third-quarter touchdown to go up by 17.
I expected Florida to put up at least 40 points against Tennessee’s defense, and it looked like that’d be possible after the first half. I have to give credit to the Vols defense for not allowing that to happen in the second half and only giving up two touchdowns in the second half.
Tennessee suffers its sixth-straight loss, which makes Tennessee’s losing streak the fifth-longest losing streak in the country, but there are some positives to take out of this game. I would love to see the Vols continue to improve on those positives next week against Texas A&M and give the fans something to look forward to in the season finale against Vanderbilt.