By: Josh Woodward
September 19, 2010
Derek Dooley said all week he wanted his team to compete for 60 minutes. Tennessee did just that by going to the wire with the No. 10 Florida Gators in a 31-17 loss.
The score doesn�t indicate how close the game was. Tennessee cut the lead to 24-17 in the fourth quarter with a long touchdown pass from Matt Simms to Justin Hunter on a busted coverage by the Gator secondary.
On the ensuing kickoff Senior Chad Cunningham�s kick sailed out of bounds to give Florida the ball at the 40-yard line. It was supposed to be a bloop kick that would be caught by a Florida up back.
�We were pooching it; we were trying to put that thing on the 20-25 yard line, maybe get their defensive lineman to try to field it," Dooley said. �It was just an alternate kick and we didn�t execute the kick and kicked the thing out of bounds.�
Florida capitalized on the short field, driving 60 yards for a touchdown to take the 31-17 lead.� The Vols were making progress with a 31-yard pass to Tauren Poole moments later but Poole was gang tackled and stripped of the football and Florida recovered.
Tennessee got one last chance with three minutes to play only to be stalled by an illegal-formation penalty. The penalty cost Tennessee 21 yards on the play since the five-yard penalty negated a 16-yard catch by freshman Da�Rick Rogers.
One week after unraveling in the fourth quarter of a 48-13 loss to Oregon, Dooley thought his team handled adversity better this time.
�We should do that.� I�m proud of them for that, but that�s what we should do every game. That�s kind of a bottom-line standard," he noted. �All that does is give you a chance, and it proved out. It was bleak there and the next thing you know you just keep fighting and get the turnover and make a play and cut it to seven."
The Volunteers, now 1-2 on the season, will face the University of Alabama Birmingham on Saturday at Neyland Stadium for a 12:21 kick-off.