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September 21, 2013

Instant Analysis: Nine Straight over Tennessee

It started ugly - Louisiana-Lafayette ugly. The No. 19 Florida Gators (2-1) played a first half against the Tennessee Volunteers (2-2) that was littered with turnovers and broken plays and injuries. But a second-half offensive emergence changed the day's tune for Florida. Instant Analysis inspects the 31-17 UF victory.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Tennessee had scored a touchdown to get within two scores against a depleted UF secondary in the fourth quarter. But that was when quarterback Justin Worley badly overthrew everyone except Florida safety Jabari Gorman with 6:08 remaining in the game.

HE STOLE THE SHOW: A preliminary hat tip should go to the defense, especially sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., for turning the tide and opening opportunities for an anemic offense. But Saturday night, everyone will be talking about fourth-year junior quarterback Tyler Murphy, who went 8 of 14 for 134 yards and one touchdown while also running for 84 yards and a touchdown.

THIS STAT DOESN'T LIE: The first half of Saturday's game was an absolute comedy of errors. Each team racked up four turnovers, and on a particularly memorable play, Dominique Easley tripped up Darious Cummings as he was en route to a pick-six. The difference was what the teams did with the turnovers. Tennessee managed seven points on a Jeff Driskel pick-six but nothing else. Florida amassed 199 yards and 17 points.

WHAT A PLAY: Murphy and junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar pulled off one of the best passing plays the Gators have seen in a while. Murphy hit Dunbar on a 31-yard pass perfectly as he was sprinting toward the sideline. Dunbar got the necessary one foot in bounds and the catch withstood a review. Florida would go on to score a touchdown thanks to a four-yard Matt Jones run.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: Tennessee decided to start redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Peterman. The move was quickly proven to be a bad one, but Volunteers coach Butch Jones didn't quite catch on. He left Peterman in for nearly the entire first half. He was 4 of 11 for five yards and two interceptions and fumbled on a sack by Fowler.

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