Florida vs. Tennessee: Tons of former Gators react as The Swamp erupts after upset of No. 11 Vols

By OnlyGators.com Staff
September 16, 2023
Florida vs. Tennessee: Tons of former Gators react as The Swamp erupts after upset of No. 11 Vols

Image Credit: UAA

In what may well be the signature win of head coach Billy Napier’s career to this point, the Florida Gators put together a dominant 29-16 victory over the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The win was the Gators’ 10th straight over the Vols in The Swamp, a streak that dates back to 2003, and UF has now won 17 of the last 19 meetings against its long-time SEC East rival.

Sophomore running back Trevor Etienne was the star of the show, taking 23 carries for a career-high 172 yards including a 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Junior Montrell Johnson Jr. was less effective but still achieved 41 total yards on 13 touches with two touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving.

Redshirt junior quarterback Graham Mertz went 17 of 20 in the first half and finished 19 of 24 for 166 yards and a touchdown, making a number of key third-down conversions in the opening 30 minutes and battling through injuries to both hands in the second half.

The defense ate as well. Sophomore cornerback Devin Moore grabbed an interception for Florida’s first takeaway of the season, returning it 39 yards with a 15-yard penalty tacked on allowing the Gators to start a would-be scoring drive at the Vols’ 9-yard line. Freshman safety Jordan Castell also had a breakout performance, and the defensive line created consistent pressure all night.

Let’s take a look at how a ton of former Florida players reacted to seeing their team pick up a huge win over Tennessee in The Swamp on Saturday night.

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