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Game Balls: Tennessee-Florida

The VR2 on SI staff gifts three Vols ‘game balls’

Tennessee lost to Florida 38-14 in Week 4 of the college football season. Although the deficit is a sizable one, the Vols were able to display some explosiveness in the first half. Three Vols in particular kept that same energy for the full 60 minutes, earning them game balls.

Offense: Tiyon Evans 

Tennessee’s bruiser in the backfield had an impressive Saturday night in all facets of the game. No. 8 finished the night with 11 carries for 50 yards, resting at a pretty 4.5 yards per carry, in addition to three catches for 71 yards and a score. Evans’ touchdown reception was the Vols first score of the night, and it showed the capability from Evans and this Tennessee offense as a whole to make big plays. Evans' touchdown can be seen by clicking here.

Saturday night saw both Tennessee running backs in Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small on the field together for the first time since Week 1, and Small had a productive night as well. However, Evans ability to become more involved in the passing game against Florida along with the long score gives him the game ball on offense. 

Defense: Trevon Flowers/Alontae Taylor 

One thing that’s been consistent from the Tennessee defense this season is the fact that a defensive back has made an impact all over the field. For the first couple of weeks it was Theo Jackson, and last night it was Trevon Flowers. No. 1 had 15 total tackles against the Gators, as the senior quite possibly had a career night since he started wearing orange and white. 

Flowers made the biggest impact consistently over the course of the entire game against Florida, but the defensive game ball will be shared with fellow defensive back Alontae Taylor. The Vols have only forced a turnover against lowly Tennessee Tech, but they were able to add the Gators to that list courtesy of Taylor’s strip in the second quarter. 

The play, at the time, could’ve been a big momentum killer for Tennessee, as Florida was going down the field threatening to go up two scores. When a fourth down presented itself for Florida in Tennessee territory, Dan Mullen made the call to go for it. Emory Jones’ pass to Jacob Copeland was good enough to move the chains, but Taylor came in and stripped the ball away from the Gator receiver. The Vols were not able to capitalize on the turnover, but at the time in the game it was a big momentum swing that the Vols needed. Taylor’s game ball performance included six tackles as well, and the senior corner will look to continue to be a leader in this Tennessee defense moving forward. 

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