Worst Start, I. That'd be the Tennessee defense, which made the Gators look like particularly voracious Langoliers on their first drive. 21. 7. 6. 17. Pause for effect. 28. Touchdown. Yikes.
Worst Start, II. That'd be the ensuing drive for the Vol offense. As bad as the Gators first drive was for the UT defense, how many of us immediately reminded ourselves that we knew we were in for a shootout anyway, so oh well? Well so much for that. We got the third down conversion we expected, but we lost Justin Hunter and most of our confidence that we could continue to move the ball on offense in the process. The Vols did actually move the ball a bit after that even on that drive, setting Michael Palardy up for a field goal attempt, which brings us to:
Worst Start, III. Failing to meet the Gators first TD with one of our own would have been bad enough, but missing a 37-yard field goal to boot was another degree of ugh.
Best Wagon-Circiling. The defense, which settled down and did a great job of limiting the damage resulting from horrible rotten field position most of the rest of the half. The Gators earned some yards on their second drive, but Tennessee stopped them at the 11 and forced a field goal. When the Gators then got the ball 13 yards from end zone on a blocked punt, the defense gave them nothing and forced another field goal. When Florida started their next drive 34 yards from the end zone, the defense gave them only six yards and forced another field goal. When the bad guys started yet another offensive series on our side of the field, the Vol defense gave them one additional yard and forced a punt. In three consecutive series that started on our own 13, 34, and 47, the Big Orange defense gave up seven yards and six points. That allowed the offense to regroup as well, and they went down the field and scored a TD just before the half.
Ahem, Worst Start IV. With a bit of momentum and the knowledge that they'd survived a wicked first half and were down only 16-7, Tennessee got the ball to begin the second
quarter half, but Tyler Bray threw an interception on his first pass, and the Gators capitalized with a TD. More ugh.
Fastest Grower-Upper. DeAnthony Arnett made the most of the additional opportunities that came at the expense of Justin Hunter, pulling down eight catches for 59 yards. He could very well be this year's Gerald Jones.
Best Glass is Half Full Perspective. If you look at the drive chart, you'll see that the Vols moved the ball on their last four drives of the game. They had two TDs and a field goal despite having lost most of its game plan and half of its receiving threat and having no running game to speak kindly of. Bray's final interception ended the game, but by that time, it was desperation, try-to-make-something-happen time anyway.
Worst Glass is Half Empty Perspective. Tennessee got 150 yards on Florida penalties, and Gator DBs had a habit of not only committing pass interference and holding penalties, but of failing to pull down sure interceptions. The game could have been much ugh-ier.
Best Timing. The bye week comes at a good time for the Vols. They need to re-configure the passing game to account for the loss of Hunter. They need to find some semblance of a ground game. And they need to teach their defenders to use their arms when tackling.
That's all I have. What do y'all have?