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Gators hit Hail Mary to stun Volunteers, 26-20

Gators hit Hail Mary to stun Volunteers, 26-20

Sure, it hurts, this 26-20 loss to Florida you just suffered inside the Gators' Swamp on the very last play of Saturday's SEC East showdown.

Florida sophomore WR Tyrie Cleveland caught five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 26-20 win over Tennessee.

And because, as just about everyone watching realized, it bailed out Gators coach Jim McElwain, who shockingly didn't call timeout at the end of a Franks run two plays earlier.

UP NEXT: The Gators travel to Kentucky for their first SEC road game of the season. On the next play, Franks nearly connected on a touchdown pass to receiver Kadarius Toney, but a diving Toney could not hold on. After an Aaron Medley 27-yard field goal with under a minute to go, the game was tied 20-20. The Falcons (1-1) failed to convert a pass until Arion Worthman threw a short pass to Ronald Cleveland and the receiver turned it into a 64-yard TD with 11:54 left in the third that pulled the service academy within three points again. That included a 20-17 scoring pace by the home team and a huge pass down the field for a touchdown to win the game.

Just as Franks had his struggles on the day, so did Tennessee quarterback Justin Dormady, who completed 21 of his 39 passes for 259 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

If retired CBS analyst Verne Lundquist was watching this offensive slop on television, he might have been thinking: "Boy, I got out at the right time".

Jones and his players could do nothing but watch as Gators' sideline erupted and players stormed the field in celebration.

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The SEC rivals exchanged punts the remainder of the first quarter and for the first two drives of the second before Florida settled for another field goal to move ahead, 6-0.

"No", McElwain said, "but he showed he can throw it a long way".

Redshirt freshman Felipe Franks made his first career start against MI finishing a poor 5 of 9 for 75 yards before being replaced with Malik Zaire.

Both teams will soon have to put the game's final pass behind them. "I definitely thought they might try [to] get into field goal range, but at the same time they didn't know how much time they really had, so looking back it's not surprising they threw a Hail Mary".

Tennessee scored on the next possession to cut Florida's lead to 13-10.

ABOUT FLORIDA (0-1): The Gators will attack the Volunteers' defense with Feleipe Franks at quarterback despite benching the freshman in favor of Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire in the opening loss to MI. Kelly averaged 7.4 yards per carry and 16 yards per reception.

Franks found Brandon Powell in the flat for a 5-yard score, capping a 44-yard drive that gave Florida a double-digit lead.

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