No. 20 Florida looks to continue its recent dominance over No. 11 Tennessee on Saturday afternoon when the Southeastern Conference rivals meet in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Gators (2-1, 0-1) have won five in a row and 16 of the last 17 meetings against the Volunteers (3-0, 0-0), including a decisive 38-14 decision last season.
Florida enters Saturday’s contest as an early 10.5-point underdog (BetMGM).
The Gators will play their first road game of the season after picking up a 31-28 victory over South Florida last Saturday.
Anthony Richardson posted his second straight game after completing 10 of 18 passes for 112 yards and two interceptions against the Bulls. He was also picked off twice in Florida’s 26-16 loss against SEC rival Kentucky on Sept. 10.
Richardson ranks dead last among the SEC’s 14 starting quarterbacks in passing yards (423), completion percentage (53.2) and touchdown passes (zero).
“This is an area of our team where we need to improve. There’s no doubt about it,” Gators coach Billy Napier said Monday of his club’s quarterback play. “You can say that. The average fan can tell that. My wife can. She informed me about it. So we need to get better.”
Richardson said he listened to another woman — his mother — to clear his mind of recent mistakes.
“She started reminiscing about all those great quarterbacks and how many interceptions they threw and stuff,” Richardson said. “So she’s kind of me about it.”
Richardson sat out Florida’s 38-14 win over Tennessee last season with a right hamstring strain.
The Volunteers likely have no doubts about their quarterback, Handon Hooker, who completed 14 of 18 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns in a 63-6 rout of visiting Akron last Saturday.
Hooker, who was forced out of the Zips early because of a tiebreaker, also had two touchdowns last season against the Gators.
Hooker and Tennessee coach Josh Heupel dismissed the notion that their team was at a disadvantage heading into Saturday, given the one-sided nature of the rivalry of late.
“We’re going to approach it the same way we approach every other game,” Hooker said Monday. “All external noise is of little importance to us. We’re going to come in, we’re going to game plan how we work in a normal week, and we’re going to come in and work hard.”
“Every week is different, every day is different, every season is different,” Heupel said. “For us, though, we’re many months into our program, right here, right now, and our kids are very confident, as they should be. They prepare the right way, they work hard, we continue to grow. They know that preparation will be the most important thing.”
Jalin Hyatt had both kickoffs and a career-high 166 receiving yards for the Volunteers, who are off to a 3-0 start to the season for the first time since winning their first five games in 2016.