Time: 3:30 PM ET
Spread: TEN -5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Florida Gators have rolled out of the gates 3-0 and are in possession of a No. 19 ranking, but traveling to face SEC rival Tennessee will still spell a big challenge. The Gators are 5-point underdogs in the game which will air at 3:30 Eastern Time on CBS.
Florida last week blanked North Texas 32-0. Gators quarterback Luke Del Rio threw 14 of 25 for 186 yards with no TDs and one interception. The Gators rushed for 255 yards on 43 attempts, led by Mark Thompson’s 85 yards on 11 carries. Wide receiver Josh Hammond caught two passes for 72 yards and DeAndre Goolsby caught three passes for 40 yards. The Gators had 216 receiving yards on 16 catches for an average of 13.5 yards per attempt, but Florida scored all four of its TDs on the ground. Thompson, Scarlett, Lamical Perine and Jordan Cronkite all had TD runs.
Del Rio has been good as a sophomore this season. He has thrown 62 of 101 (61.4 percent) with six TDs and two interceptions. His passer rating is 140.4. Del Rio had thrown for an average of 289 yards per game the first two games, prior to the letdown of sorts against North Texas. In the Week 2 victory over Kentucky, Del Rio threw 19 of 32 for four TDs and one interception. His only prior experience to this was as a redshirt freshman in 2014 when he threw just 8 of 18 for 141 yards.
Del Rio is expected to miss the next 2 to 4 weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee. That will put backup Austin Appleby in the spotlight against the Vols this week.
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Scarlett, Thompson and Perine have been running by-committee. All three are averaging 5.2 yards per carry or better and have split 84 of Florida’s 122 running attempts. Del Rio has been good for just 16 yards on eight carries, but the Gators have scored six rushing TDs this season paced by Scarlett and Thompson with two apiece.
Antonio Callaway has been huge catching the ball with 201 yards on 13 catches with two TDs. He missed last game with a quadricep injury and his status is uncertain for this game.
Brandon Powell also has two TDs and 136 yards on 14 catches. The Gators have 792 receiving yards through three games with 64 catches on the season for an average of 12.4 yards per attempt.
No. 14 Tennessee is strong this season, but it has not been overwhelmingly dominant against its mediocre schedule rune so far. Week 1 saw the Vols knock off Appalachian State 20-13, before a 45-24 trouncing of Virginia Tech in Week 2. Last week the Vols defeated Ohio 28-19.
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In the victory over Ohio, Joshua Dobbs threw 19 of 27 for 203 yards and a pair of TDs (with one interception). Tennessee rushed for 201 yards on 42 carries, with Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd leading the way with 67 and 61 yards respectively. Hurd scored a TD, and Dobbs did as well as the QB rushed for 59 yards on 14 attempts. Tennessee averaged 4.8 yards per attempt in the game and Kamara had a 35-yard rush. The Vols also had four receivers with 20 yards or more on the game, led by Josh Malone’s 69 yards on five catches and two TDs. Malone scored the only Vols receiving TDs in the game.
Dobbs has thrown 45 of 75 (60 percent) on the season for 486 yards with six TDs and three INTs. He is averaging just 6.48 yards per attempt, but the Vols have been fine moving the chains against mediocre opponents on the strength of Dobbs, Hurd and Malone. Hurd is averaging 90.0 yards per game this season and 4.2 yards per carry, and Dobbs has rushed for 161 yards from the QB position. Kamara has just 20 carries on the season but has the highest per-attempt average of Tennessee’s big three carriers, with 4.9 yards per attempt and a team-leading three rushing TDs. Malone has nine catches for 196 yards with his 21.8 yards per attempt easily leading the team. He also has a 67-yard TD catch this season and four TDs on the season.
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