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Saturday September 21, 2002Gators Bring Down The Vols

Knoxville, Tenn.

 

Rex Grossman fired two touchdown passes to Taylor Jacobs and one to Carlos Perez, while Earnest Graham added a 1-yard touchdown run to give the 10th-ranked Florida Gators a 30-13 win over No. 4 Tennessee in Knoxville. The Gators compiled 418 total yards on offense as Grossman threw for 324 yards in the air.

In conditions reminiscent of last weekend’s Ohio game in Gainesville, both teams struggled in the first quarter to adjust to the heavy downpours at Neyland Stadium.

After a scoreless first quarter and a blocked Tennessee field goal by junior Ian Scott, the Gators dominated the second quarter, scoring 24 points on three touchdowns and one field goal. The momentum changed when Grossman avoided the pressure and rolled out to the right, spotting a wide-open Jacobs for a 52-yard gain to the Tennessee 1-yard line. Graham punched the ball in on fourth down, capping a 9-play 84-yard drive.

After senior Marcus Oquendo-Johnson recovered a fumble by Vols quarterback Casey, Grossman threw a picture-perfect pass to Perez for a 28-yard touchdown to give the Gators a 14-0 lead.

Just before the end of the half, Grossman fired his second touchdown pass of the first half, capping a 57-yard, 6-play drive with a 7-yard strike to Jacobs to put the Gators up 21-0.

In an unusual play prior to the end of the half, Clint Mitchell stripped the ball from Tennessee running back Troy Flemming, returning it to the Volunteer 24-yard line with :02 remaining on the clock.

Matt Leach drilled a 41-yarder through the heavy rains as time expired to provide the final scoring of the half.

Tennessee scored all of their 13 points during the third quarter. With 9:51 left in the third, sophomore Derrick Tinsley caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Vols quarterback Casey Clausen. Fellow sophomore tailback Jabari Davis scored Tennessee's second touchdown on a one-yard run into the endzone.

With 10:49 left in the game, Grossman threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jacobs to seal the win for the Gators.

Florida Head Coach Ron Zook is the first, first-year Gator head coach to beat a top-five team on the road.

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