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Florida Gators Lead Tennessee Volunteers 17-14 at Halftime

The No. 11 Florida Gators are facing off against the Tennessee Volunteers today in its fourth game of the season.

The No. 11 Florida Gators (2-1, 0-1) face off against the unranked Tennessee Volunteers (2-1, 0-0) today for its second SEC matchup of the season.

For the Gators, they'll look to continue building off of the momentum it started last week in a close loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

While Florida carried a lead into halftime, the Gators didn't look sharp for much of the first half, with far too many mistakes on both sides of the football. Florida entered halftime up just 17-14, a far cry from what many expected entering the contest.

Even though the Gators aren't undefeated this season, they came into this week's game with the most to gain by asserting its dominance and continuing to grow this season in anticipation of its next tough challenge of the year, the Georgia Bulldogs, next month.

Entering the game, Florida would be without its star cornerback in Kaiir Elam, who is nursing a minor knee injury. In his place, Florida would utilize freshman cornerback Jarson Marshall Jr., who is slated to receive his most playing time of the season today against the Vols. It will be the first start for the freshman this season.

Florida also had a change in its lineup offensively, with Joshua Braun starting ahead of redshirt senior guard Stewart Reese today. Reese warmed up with the team's second-team unit, so it did not appear to be injury-related, according to our Zach Goodall.

Today, Florida began its game in front of yet another sold-out crowd at The Swamp, attempting to re-create the atmosphere that provided the Florida defense with much-needed noise last week against Alabama.

Florida would start the contest on a high note, recording a quick three-and-out defensively to get the Volunteers off of the field. On offense, Florida would drive the football 60 yards, capped with a touchdown from Florida running back Malik Davis, one of the team's feature backs this season.

Davis would score on a wide-open four-yard reception from starting QB Emory Jones.

Florida made another lineup change this week with transfer kicker Jace Christmann getting the nod over Chris Howard, who struggled last week against the Crimson Tide, missing an extra point. Christmann would remain the team's primary kicker during the first half, nailing a 47-yard FG near the end of the first quarter.

The Gators may have begun the game strong on defense, but its demons from a week ago - missed tackles-, reared their head again as several players would miss tackles on the Volunteers' first touchdown of the day, a 47-yard score from the No. 1 JUCO running back in the country last year, Tiyron Evans.

Evans would score on a short pass from starting Vols QB Hendon Hooker, but it would be the longest pass play for Tennessee this year because of the run following the reception. 

Though Florida appeared like the better team prior to the contest, a blown coverage against the Volunteers would lead to a 75-yard touchdown toss from Hooker to JaVonta Payton, giving the Volts a lead with a bit over 11 minutes remaining in the first half, taking the lead over Florida 14-10.

The Gators would settle down on both sides of the football shortly following the Vols score, striking with a 23-yard rushing touchdown with RB Nay'Quan Wright. Even with momentum, the Gators continued to make mistakes, however.

With just over a minute remaining, Jones would convert a fourth-and-two play to receiver Jacob Copeland, but the redshirt junior fumbled on the play, giving the Vols the ball prior to halftime.  

Look for Florida to build on its offensive showing after halftime, attempting to pull away.

Florida ended the first half with 213 yards compared to the Vols 221 total offensive yards. Jones would finish completing 12 out of 15 of his passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, while Florida would run for 109 yards and a score on the ground.