After seemingly sending the sport of football back a hundred years, Florida and Tennessee gave fans an ending to remember. Just when it looked like Florida was playing for overtime, Feliepe Franks threw a 63-yard Hail Mary pass to Tyrie Cleveland with no time remaining.
After scrambling around in the pocket, Franks ripped it, and Cleveland had a step on his defender for a perfect touchdown. The score gave the Gators a 26-20 win over Tennessee.
This is the just the latest epic ending in a rivalry series that continues to have photo finishes. There was not a touchdown scored in this game until the fourth quarter. Both teams displayed dreadful offense throughout the afternoon, much to the dismay of fans.
The two teams combined for 37 points in the fourth quarter to make up for the slow start to the game. Franks had an inconsistent start to his college football career over the last two games, but came up big when it mattered most. Franks ended the day going 18-of-28 for 212 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Franks entered Gainesville in 2016, but did not play in a game until this season.
Cleveland finished with five receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. An emotional Cleveland spoke with ESPN after the game.
“With Hurricane Irma, we had to come out and get the W,” Cleveland told ESPN. “Give the fans this right here. I made it my business that whatever happens in this game, I am just going to keep playing. These are the best fans in America.”
After the way the Gators started the season against Michigan, the game felt like a must-win game for Florida. The Gators go on the road to face Kentucky next week. The Vols host UMass, and will look to get back on track at home.