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Gators turn the page to Tennessee

Florida coming off impressive comeback against Alabama that fell just short
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -It’s rare that a loss produces so many positive vibes as Saturday’s outcome did for the Florida Gators. Many of the feelings stemming from Saturday’s near miss against top-ranked Alabama are based on what fans, coaches, and players themselves see as the team’s potential this season.

Florida is the only opponent during the Crimson Tide’s 17-game winning streak to come closer than 15 points. The Gators have a pair of single digit losses to Alabama in that span. A successful two-point conversion would have tied the defending national champions with 3:10 to go.

Nonetheless, the result goes in the loss column. And the Gators are laser-focused with SEC East rival Tennessee coming to town on Saturday.

“It’s making sure we embrace that, and let’s not lose what we did really well, let’s build off what we did well and do it even better,” said head coach Dan Mullen.

What Florida did well was run the ball on offense. The Gators out-rushed the Crimson Tide 245-91 and held an overall edge in yards, 440-331.

“I was more comfortable and as a team it was a confidence builder for us, but I mean we fell short,” said quarterback Emory Jones. “We just have to move on from that.”

The Gators fell behind 21-3, but later, the defense forced three consecutive Alabama punts to help the team’s comeback bid. Junior cornerback Kaiir Elam feels the defense needs to improve on the minute details in order to perform better.

“I feel like it starts in practice,” said Elam. “If we start fast, and work on open field tackling, making sure all of our mistakes from last game don’t happen in practice, it’ll translate well into the game.”

Tennessee comes to Gainesville 2-1 overall following a 56-0 win over Tennessee Tech. Saturday’s matchup will be the SEC opener for the Volunteers.

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