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Florida Players Not Ready For UT Streak to End

Justin Worley-1-31HOOVER, Ala. – The names have changed in the Tennessee-Florida rivalry, but the outcome has remained the same over the past decade.

Florida has won 10 straight, dating back to 2004. It’s been 11 years since Tennessee’s been to The Swamp, where the 2015 matchup will be held, and claimed a win.

With the Jim McElwain era underway now in Florida and the Gators facing major questions on the offensive side of the ball, is 2015 the year that the streak ends for the Gators? Tennessee opened as a four-point favorite for the Sept. 26 matchup. The Florida players representing the Gators in Hoover are expecting another tight contest, similar to their 10-9 win in Knoxville last season.

“I’m not sure if Coach Mac is even into the streaks and the accolades that come with the teams and the history and stuff like that,” said Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. “We have to focus on what we’re focusing on now. Playing Tennessee – anything can happen. Obviously last year’s game, we got the pick at the end to win it, but it went down the wire. I expect the same thing this year.”

Senior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard returned for one more season in Gainesville. It’s been an up-and-down few years for him, but beating Tennessee has been one of the few constants. He feels some of the weight of the responsibility to keep that streak alive while he’s still there.

“I don’t have a lot to say about my career here as far as winning, but that’s one I don’t want to mess up this year,” said Bullard, who also discussed the 2014 matchup. “We just the drive we had to win, the will we had to win. The players stayed on the same page. (We were) not arguing when we got down. The bond we had showed and got us through that game and we could do it. We didn’t always do that all year. But that game we came together and decided we were going to win the game, and we did.”

Receiver Brandon Powell has a slightly different perspective after spending some time as a Tennessee commitment in 2013 before ultimately ending up with the Gators. Powell missed last year’s game due to injury, but is looking forward to getting his chance to extend the streak in 2015.

“I was looking forward to that (2014) game,” he said. “I couldn’t play last year because of my hamstring, but this year that’s one of my games I’m circling on my calendar.”

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