Game Balls: Florida 26, Tennessee 20

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    Tennessee’s offense looked ugly for three quarters against Florida’s defense, and the Vols’ defense was doing a good job bottling up the Gators’ offense. Both of those things changed in the fourth quarter, however.

    The Vols had just 211 offensive yards through three quarters of play on Saturday, but they put up 231 yards of offense in the fourth quarter alone. Conversely, the Vols’ defense had held Florida’s offense to just 191 total yards of offense through three quarters before allowing them to rack up 189 yards in the final quarter.

    When you lose a game on a 63-yard pass as time expires, fail to utilize players correctly on offense, and miss three field goals, it makes it difficult to hand out game balls. But there were still some standout individual performers from Saturday’s game, even if the end result from the team was ugly.

    Here are our game balls for the Vols’ top performers in all three phases from Saturday’s game.

    Offense – John Kelly, RB

    As sloppy and turnover-prone as the Vols’ offense was against the Gators, John Kelly was the one consistent and reliable source of offense. He started slow, but once he ripped off a 38-yard run on the final possession of the second half, he got it going. Kelly finished with 237 total yards of offense, rushing for 141 yards and a score on 19 carries while amassing 96 receiving yards on six receptions as well.

    Kelly was the workhorse on offense and kept the Vols alive on drives and in the game. He should’ve gotten the ball more, especially in the red zone.

    Defense – Rashaan Gaulden, DB

    Darrell Taylor had a strong game, especially in the first half. But defensive back Rashaan Gaulden played a solid game all day, and he was all over the field. Gaulden was one of the few defensive backs who didn’t get beat on deeper passes and was physical for the entire game. He finished with a game-high 10 tackles and hauled in the interception that led to the game-tying field goal for the Vols in the fourth quarter.

    Special Teams – Marquez Callaway, PR

    There weren’t many positives from special teams in this game. Trevor Daniel didn’t have his usual phenomenal performance, the kicking game was one of the main reasons the Vols didn’t win the game, and nobody returned a kick for Tennessee.

    That doesn’t leave many options. But Marquez Callaway gets the game ball because he made smart decisions as a punt returner and also ripped off a 29-yard return on his lone return. That big gain set the Vols up in Florida territory as well.