It wasn't pretty: the Florida Gators dominated Tennessee in their own stadium, winning 30-6. In the process of doing so, they validated their SEC Championship aspirations and gave Tennessee their second 0-1 start to conference play in as many years.
And it fanned the flames beneath the already toasty posterior of one Phillip Fulmer.
Florida's offense was solid and efficient if not all-powerful, but they could have given back a touchdown and still won handily. The Vols were their own worst enemy on offense. Silly mistakes such as an unforced fumble on a quarterback-tailback exchange (predictably, in the red zone), interceptions, and penalties helped stall drive after drive for the Vols. The Gators' stout defense also had something to do with that.
The story of the game for the Gators was defense and special teams play, both of which contributed mightily to the Gators' fast start and great field position. Brandon James ran a punt back for a touchdown in the second quarter, bringing back terrible memories to Vol fans who watched him do the same thing a year ago. Thanks to an intense defensive effort, the Gators were +3 in turnover margin.
The Vols' lone score came in the 4th quarter, when the game was already decided. The Gators had an opportunity to score at least once more with a few ticks remaining on the clock, but this time Urban Meyer decided that discretion was the better part of valor, electing to turn the ball over on downs inside the Vols' 10-yard line.
For Vol Nation, where does this program go from here? Urban Meyer appears to be in absolute ownership of the Vols and Fulmer, sporting a 4-0 record. Each season seems to highlight the diverging paths of these two storied rivals; Florida's status as an elite program is cemented into the college football consciousness, while Tennessee becomes more irrelevant with each embarassing loss.