KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Streak is dead and buried.
After all the talk about ducks pulling trucks, No. 14 Tennessee ramrodded No. 19 Florida with a furious second-half comeback, ending 4,390 days of anguish with a 38-28 win on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Down 21-3 at halftime, Tennessee’s defense — spearheaded by All-American defensive end Derek Barnett — suffocated UF’s offense, while Volunteers quarterback Josh Dobbs & Co. schooled the supposed D.B.U.
The comeback for the ages took heart. It took resolve. It took a certain nastiness.
“When you get to the line and look at them dudes across from you and you can see the look in their eyes that they don’t want to block you. You know you got them,” senior defensive tackle Danny O’Brien said afterward.
“We just kept coming after their ass all night.”
The Volunteers allowed just 102 yards after halftime, many coming on a prevent defense with under 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. They held the Gators without a first down for six-straight possessions. Meanwhile, the offense never took its foot off the gas, either.
Dobbs threw 4 touchdowns in just over 15 minutes against a defense that hadn’t allowed a passing score all year.
After a nightmarish first half, Tennessee players — and all of Neyland Stadium — dreamed big. The Volunteers fed off the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm, and then they buried the Gators.
“You can feel it on your skin. Everybody screaming. There ain’t nothing like that,” O’Brien said.
“I told the team before the ‘Vol Walk’ when you got a dude drowning, stick the hose in their mouth. Nobody is going to give us nothing. We went out and took it and stuck the hose in their mouth at the end.”