KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley says he sometimes sings along to "Rocky Top" while hearing it over and over again whenever the Gators face Tennessee.
"Something gets so annoying, you got to make the best out of it," Easley said.
Lately, that's about the only way Tennessee has been able to bother Florida.
Florida has beaten Tennessee eight consecutive times, which represents the Gators' longest winning streak in the 42-game history of this series. The 19th-ranked Gators try to continue their recent mastery of this rivalry Saturday at The Swamp.
Tennessee (2-1, 0-0 Southeastern Conference) hasn't defeated Florida (1-1, 0-0) since a 30-28 victory at Neyland Stadium in 2004. The Vols also have lost their last 17 games against ranked opponents and are 1-23 versus Top 25 teams since 2008.
"Our players understand the rivalry, what is at stake," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. I think they understand what has gone on before them. The only thing we can control is our preparation and how we play on Saturday."
Tennessee hasn't come particularly close to ending the streak recently. The Gators squeaked past the Vols 21-20 in their 2006 national championship season, but the last six Florida-Tennessee games had an average margin of 19 points, with each of them being decided by double digits.
Jones is in his first year at Tennessee and wasn't involved in any of those previous losses to Florida. But he knows all about Tennessee's recent frustrations against the Gators and how it could test his team's resolve.
Tennessee already is coming off a 59-14 loss to No. 2 Oregon that represented the Vols' most one-sided varsity defeat since 1910. Now the Vols are going back on the road to face a rival that has dominated them. Jones is challenging his team this week to make sure the Vols enter Gainesville in the right frame of mind.
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