Omari Thomas and Tennessee suffered a disappointing 29-16 loss to Florida in Gainesville on Saturday. For a Volunteers team looking to take the next step after an 11-2 mark in 2022, Saturday marked a letdown.

Toward the end of the game, tempers flared between the 2 teams after Graham Mertz took a late hit. That caused the benches to clear and ultimately saw Tennessee’s Omarr Norman-Lott and 3 Florida players suspended for the 1st half against UTSA and Charlotte, respectively.

Thomas, on Monday, explained things from his point of view, stating that the Vols took exception to the fact that Mertz ran around in the pocket rather than kneel down and run the clock out.

“We’re expecting you to catch the ball one step back and take a knee. But once we see you back there dancing around with the ball, like we kind of take it as disrespect because you easily could just take a knee right there,” Thomas said during an appearance at the Knoxville Quarterback Club.

Ultimately, the Vols came away with a loss. Their last win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was in 2003. They’ll look to get back in the win column as they host UTSA at Neyland Stadium.

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Tennessee sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020. Tennessee was the first SEC state to legalize sports betting.