KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Florida is quickly developing a reputation as the Southeastern Conference's comeback kings.
Jeff Driskel threw two touchdown passes and Trey Burton ran for a pair of scores as No. 18 Florida scored the game's final 24 points to beat No. 23 Tennessee 37-20 on Saturday night.
The Gators have won eight straight against their SEC East rivals, and for the second straight week came from behind on the road to win a conference game.
The Gators (3-0, 2-0) rallied from a 17-10 halftime deficit to win 20-17 at Texas A&M last week. Florida lost all five games it trailed at halftime last season.
Gators coach Will Muschamp said there's a "night-and-day" difference in the toughness of this year's Florida team.
"I'm really proud of our effort, coming on the road two weeks in a row," Muschamp said. "We were really poised at halftime again, no bickering (or) finger-pointing, just doing what we needed to do to get this thing going."
Mike Gillislee ran for 115 yards to lead a 336-yard rushing effort for the Gators, who have outrushed Tennessee (2-1, 0-1) in each of their eight consecutive victories over the Vols. Burton added 91 rushing yards on only three carries. Driskel ran for 81 yards on eight attempts, and he also went 14-of-20 for 219 yards passing.
Driskel's 23-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reed broke a 20-20 tie and put the Gators ahead for good with 30 seconds left in the third quarter. Burton had tied the game less than three minutes earlier with an 80-yard touchdown run. Florida then proceeded to outgain Tennessee 152-5 in the fourth quarter.
"We've put a tremendous emphasis on winning the fourth quarter, winning the second half and wearing down our opponent," Muschamp said. "That's something we've been able to do in the first three ballgames. That's something our kids have bought into doing."
This comeback was particularly noteworthy because Tennessee hadn't lost a game it led at halftime since Derek Dooley took over as the Vols' coach in 2010. Through the first 27 games of Dooley's tenure, the Vols had been 13-0 when leading at halftime and 0-14 when tied or behind at the midway point.
Tennessee's Tyler Bray went 22-of-44 for 257 yards and threw touchdown passes to Cordarrelle Patterson and Mychal Rivera, but he also tossed his first two interceptions of the season. Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson added a 1-yard touchdown run out of the Wildcat formation.
"We had a great game going and we just let it slip away," Dooley said. "You know, the sky's not going to fall tomorrow. We're going to have to learn from it. They're a good football team and we lost. We've got to make sure we don't make those kinds of mistakes again because we're going to be in a lot of fourth-quarter games. We've got to execute in the fourth."
Florida's rally stunned a Neyland Stadium sellout crowd of 102,455 that wanted to see Tennessee end its recent futility in this series and make a statement that it had reclaimed its status as an SEC contender after back-to-back losing seasons.
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