GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WVLT) - On a sultry day at the Swamp, Tim Tebow was hot, and Tennessee's defense was not.
The Florida Gators manhandled Tennessee, 59-20, pulling away in the final two quarters to cement a dominant victory.
Tennessee managed only 37 yards on the ground, while Erik Ainge threw for 249 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Tebow lit up the Vols' defense for 361 total yards -- 299 of them in the air -- and four touchdowns in his first SEC start.
Be sure to watch WVLT Sports Overtime for in-depth coverage, analysis, and postgame interviews with players and coaches.
A detailed game summary follows.
Arian Foster fumbled an Erik Ainge handoff at the Vols' ten-yard-line, and Florida's Dustin Doe picked up the ball and returned it for a Gator touchdown.
Score: Florida 35, Tennessee 20
Eric Berry jumped a passing route at the 5-yard line, picked off a Tim Tebow pass and zipped 95 yards for a Tennessee touchdown, juking past Tebow at midfield to clinch the score.
The Gators had driven deep into Tennessee territory before the Berry pick, which came on 3rd-and-6.
Score: Florida 28, Tennessee 20
Erik Ainge connected with Chris Brown for a 15-yard touchdown pass to get the Vols within 15 with 35 seconds left in the first half.
Ainge was 19-of-29 for 204 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the first two quarters. Florida's Tim Tebow completed 6 of 7 passes for 104 yards on two scores. He also ran nine times for 46 yards to lead the Gators on the ground.
The story of the game thus far is Tennessee inability to rush the football, the same problem it experienced last season when the Vols rushed for negative-11 yards. So far today Tennessee has only rushed for 7 yards.
Halftime score: Florida 28, Tennessee 13
"We're giving up too many huge chunks of yards," Phillip Fulmer told CBS's Tracy Wolfson at halftime. "I think we can move the ball with some efficiency. We just need to play better."
On a sunny day in Florida, the floodgates have opened. A 20-yard Tim Tebow toss to tight end Cornelius Ingram gave the Gators a 28-6 lead with 1:30 remaining in the first half.
Florida needed just 5 plays to take the ball 75 yards. Passes of 16 and 20 yards served as catalysts for the drive, and a 28-yard Jarred Fayson run also helped fuel the scoring effort.
Score: Florida 28, Tennessee 6
Tim Tebow took an option keeper seven yards into the end zone to give Florida a 21-6 lead over the Vols with 5:38 left in the second quarter.
The Gators' drive went 58 yards on nine plays. Tebow ran the ball four times and converted a key third down, when he was nearly on his knee and lunged the ball to Keystahn Moore for a 7-yard pickup.
Score: Florida 21, Tennessee 6
Daniel Lincoln finished a 77-yard Tennessee drive with a 22-yard field goal to cut Florida's lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter.
The Vols converted on fourth down at the Gators' 30 yard line, opting to forego the field goal. The 13-play drive was Tennessee's longest of the day.
Score: Florida 14, Tennessee 6
Tim Tebow found tight end Riley Cooper in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown to give Florida a 14-3 lead with 1:23 left in the first quarter.
The touchdown pass capped a 65-yard drive that feature two Tebow first-down passes and an option run by Percy Harvin. Before the touchdown series, Florida had not gained a first down.
Score: Florida 14, Tennessee 3
A 28-yard Daniel Lincoln field goal capped a 39-yard drive and brought Tennessee within four points of the Gators with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter.
For the second time the Vols failed to convert on third-and-short at the Florida 11, bringing on Lincoln for the trey.
Score: Florida 7, Tennessee 3
Florida running back Brandon James returned a Britton Colquitt punt 82 yards for a touchdown just two minutes into the first quarter.
Score: Florida 7, Tennessee 0
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to email@example.com. Please provide detailed information.