Two SEC East opponents collide on Saturday afternoon when Florida travels to Tennessee for a matchup with the Volunteers.
Game time: September 24, 2022 at 3:30 P.M ET
TV Schedule: CBS
Location: Neyland Stadium
The Florida Gators go into this game with a lot of questions. After winning week 1 against Utah, many people in the college football world thought the Gators were back. The poor showing and loss against Kentucky made people doubt that in week 2. A very mediocre showing in a win against USF reserved the conclusion analysts reached in week 1. It seems like Florida still has a lot to prove before they can get back to the championship heights of ’08 or ’06. Beating the Volunteers this week would be a good start to that.
The Gators are led by QB Anthony Richardson. Richardson played great in week 1 but has struggled ever since. In the two games since the win against Utah, Richardson has had two interceptions per game. The sophomore was considered a Heisman candidate after week 1 but has struggled since. Unless Richardson can turn around his inconsistent play, it looks like the Gators will need to rely on RB Montrell Johnson Jr and Trevor Etienne for offensive production.
The Tennessee Volunteers go into this game with a 3-0 record. After winning a tune-up game against Ball State, they went on the road to beat Pittsburgh in overtime. After beating the Panthers in a top-25 matchup, they beat Arkon in a tune-up game. Their win against Pittsburgh was the Volunteers’ most impressive win on the season so far.
Hendon Hooker led the Volunteers in the win against Pittsburgh with an amazing 325-yard performance. In a game where special teams’ play wasn’t good and the Volunteers had 2 fumbles, Hooker and the defense stepped up to win against a reigning power-5 conference champ.
This game will have national coverage. In addition to this game being the CBS SEC game of the week, College Gameday will be going to Tennessee to host their morning show on Saturday. Hendon Hooker and the rest of the Tennessee Volunteers offense will put on a show on national television.
Tennessee’s offense is averaging 52 points per game. While two of those games have been tune-up games, they did score 34 points against Pitt. While this Pittsburgh defense isn’t amazing, it is the hardest defense the Volunteers have faced so far. Considering the Gators have allowed at least 26 points per game, the Volunteers should not have any struggles moving the ball.
Looking at the Gators, it will be hard for them to win this game if they have to depend on the running game. While the running back combo of Johnson and Etienne is very good, Florida will need Richardson to play as he did in week 1 rather than how he played in weeks 2 and 3.
Tennessee: 28 Florida: 17
I have the Volunteers winning this game. I just don’t trust Richardson enough after these last two weeks. While I think the QB will have his moments, I just haven’t seen anything to say he won’t make a crucial mistake in this game. I think Florida’s running game and the occasional good throw by Richardson will keep this game close, but I trust the Volunteers offense more. Therefore, I think Tennessee takes the win against the Gators.