Scores

Final

(4) Florida 30

(3-0, 1-0 SEC)

Tennessee 6

(1-2, 0-1 SEC)

Coverage: CBS

3:30 PM ET, September 20, 2008

Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

1 2 3 4 T
#4FLA 17 3 7 330
TENN 0 0 0 66

Top Performers

Passing: T. Tebow (FLA) - 96 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: J. Crompton (TENN) - 7 CAR, 22 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: P. Harvin (FLA) - 2 REC, 49 YDS, 1 TD

No. 4 Gators continue turning rivalry vs. Vols into one-sided affair

Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Florida took control on the opening kickoff and it didn't take long for Tennessee to become Gator Bait again.

No. 4 Florida beat its SEC East rival for the fourth consecutive year, a 30-6 rout of the self-destructive Volunteers on Saturday.

"We just came out and played relentless," said linebacker Brandon Spikes, who earlier in the week had accused the Vols of quitting in last season's 59-20 blowout. "If we come out every week and do that it's going to be tough on opponents."

Fast Facts

• Florida took advantage of three turnovers by Tennessee, and Brandon James had his fourth career punt return for a TD as
No. 4 Florida beat rival Tennessee for the fourth straight time.

• Tennessee fumbled at the 2-yard line and had a pass intercepted in the end zone in the first half.

• Tim Tebow was held to 122 total yards, but had two TD passes.

• James returned a punt 78 yards for a TD, scoring on a punt vs. Tennessee for the second straight season.

• Florida won the rushing battle, marking the 17th time in their last 19 meetings the team that wins the rushing battle wins the game.

-- ESPN Research

The Gators (3-0, 1-0) haven't lost to the Vols since Urban Meyer became coach in 2005. Meyer also improved to 8-1 against Florida's three biggest rivals -- Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State, while joining former top Gator Steve Spurrier as the only coach to defeat a Phillip Fulmer-lead Tennessee team in four straight seasons.

Brandon James went 52 yards for Florida with the opening kickoff and soon after the Gators were in the end zone. Tim Tebow flipped a 2-yard pass over the top of the line of scrimmage to Aaron Hernandez for a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game.

James, who's had four career punt returns for touchdowns, returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to put Florida up 17-0 with 4:42 in the first quarter. At least five Vols defenders missed James as he blew by them.

"I thought the one against Hawaii was the best one I'd seen," Meyer said of James, who also had a TD punt return last season against the Vols. "He topped it with this one. He even said to me that might have been his best."

Tennessee (1-2, 0-1) responded with nothing but mistakes, and Fulmer fell to 5-12 against Florida.

Vols fans showered their team with boos and started exiting en masse in the third quarter.

"There's probably not anybody happy with me right now," Fulmer said. "There's probably not anybody happy with the quarterback right now. In this case, I said from the beginning, it's my responsibility and I'll take that.

"A couple of things I'd probably boo too," he said.

Including the fourth quarter of last season's game, Florida shut out Tennessee for four-straight quarters and hung 58 straight points on the Vols.

It's the second year in a row that Tennessee has started the season 1-2, but the Vols regrouped last season to win the SEC East.

"It seems like we've got to learn the hard way sometimes. As a coach, last year that football team was one of those," Fulmer said. "We won't give up. We've got a chance to be there yet, just a little bit harder road."

On the Vols' first drive, Arian Foster was charged a 15-yard penalty for shoving a Florida player. Montario Hardesty fumbled the ball when hit after a 1-yard catch. Florida's Ryan Stamper recovered the fumble, and Jonathan Phillips kicked a 39-yard field goal.

Twice Tennessee drove to the Florida 1 and fell apart. In the second quarter, Jonathan Crompton simply dropped the ball drooping back to pass and Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap fell on it.

The next time down, Crompton was picked off in the end zone by Janoris Jenkins right before halftime.

"We are shooting ourselves in the foot especially down there where we need points," Crompton said.

The interception prompted a loud chorus of boos from the Tennessee fans.

They started leaving after Tebow connected with Percy Harvin on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 4:42 in the third quarter.

It was another quiet day for the Heisman Trophy winner Tebow. He completed eight of 15 passes for 96 yards and no interceptions and ran 12 times for 26 yards -- but it hardly mattered as the Gators kept taking advantage of Tennessee's mistakes.

Harvin finished with 49 yards on two catches. Emmanuel Moody ran nine times for 55 yards, mostly in the second half. Florida ran for 147 yards compared to Tennessee's 96.

"For the last 12 to 15 years, the winner of this game had had a lot of success in the SEC, and it gives you a lot of momentum," Tebow said. "That surge going into SEC play you can really feed off of and get focused on and make some big plays."

Tennessee narrowly missed being shut out for the first time since 1994 when Crompton pushed into the end zone on a 1-yard run with 14:18 left in the game.

Crompton finished 18-for-28 for 162 yards.

The Vols were also penalized nine times for 95 yards. The Gators were also flagged nine times as the game had its chippy moments. Twice the teams received offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties twice when players tangled or verbally sparred.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
FLA
TENN
1st Downs1616
Total Yards243258
Passing96162
Rushing14796
Penalties9-579-95
3rd Down Conversions8-134-11
4th Down Conversions0-10-2
Turnovers03
Possession29:5830:02

Passing Leaders

FloridaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Tebow8/15966.420
TennesseeC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Crompton18/281625.801

Rushing Leaders

FloridaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Moody9556.1010
Rainey9374.1019
TennesseeCARYDSAVGTDLG
Foster14372.609
Crompton7223.1112

Receiving Leaders

FloridaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Harvin24924.5134
Murphy2189.0022
TennesseeRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jones5408.0019
Stocker3258.3010

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERFLATENN
TD10:15Aaron Hernandez 2 Yd Pass From Tim Tebow (Jonathan Phillips Kick) 70
FG07:35Jonathan Phillips 39 Yd 100
TD04:42Brandon James 78 Yd Punt Return (Jonathan Phillips Kick) 170
SECOND QUARTERFLATENN
FG04:43Jonathan Phillips 40 Yd 200
THIRD QUARTERFLATENN
TD04:29Percy Harvin 15 Yd Pass From Tim Tebow (Jonathan Phillips Kick) 270
FOURTH QUARTERFLATENN
TD14:18Jonathan Crompton 1 Yd Run (Two-Point Conversion Failed) 276
FG09:29Jonathan Phillips 27 Yd 306