At the half in Knoxville, Tennessee, things were not look good for the home team, to say the least.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs had just 39 passing yards thanks to an incredible number of drops, Tennessee looked lethargic on both sides of the ball and Florida held a commanding 21-3 lead. In fact, those three were only salvaged by a field goal late in the half.But whatever team trotted into that tunnel after 30 minutes failed to return to the field, as the Vols decimated the Gators in the second half to secure their first win in the rivalry since Sept. 18, 2004 — a day when "Goodies" by Ciara featuring Petey Pablo was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Top 100.
The first drive of the second half actually started with a Dobbs interception, but it was all business from there. Let's look a little closer and see how it all unfolded.
Tennessee started with the ball at its own 36 and moved efficiently down the field, finally finding the end zone on a 23-yard wheel-route pass to Jalen Hurd more than 37 minutes into the game.
It was a monkey off the Vols' back and allowed them and the crowd to relax a little, but they still had a tall mountain to climb down 21-10. And climb they did.
Tennessee punted on its next possession, but then ripped off touchdowns on the four following possessions to open up a double-digit lead on 38 unanswered points.
Dobbs was responsible for the touchdown on each of those drives: a 30-yard strike to Josh Malone, a go-ahead 67-yard score to Jauan Jennings with the help of some blown coverage, a 42-yard connection with Malone and a five-yard run.
The offense was great, but how about this for the real reason the Volunteers were able to make the comeback? Florida did not record a single first down on its first six drives of the second half.
It makes it so much easier to complete an epic comeback when the other team's defense hardly gets to rest and you start with good field position each time. But thanks to five punts and an interception, that was just the case.
The Streak: Florida has lost 1 consecutive game to Tennessee— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 24, 2016
Tennessee looks like a fun place to be right now. pic.twitter.com/NI9xyvsYHG— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) September 24, 2016
The national perception of Tennessee likely did a 180 in this contest, as the dominant attitude shifted from being confused how it is still ranked as high as 14th to realizing how deadly the team can be if it all comes together.
In the second half of Saturday's 38-28 win, it all came together.