Gameday: No. 4/6 Florida Gators at Vanderbilt

By Adam Silverstein
October 12, 2012

Location: Vanderbilt Stadium – Nashville, TN [Capacity: 40,550]
Weather Forecast: 73°F, partly cloudy, winds SSE at 11 mph
Time: 6:00 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $98 on TiqIQ

TV: ESPNU (Clay Matvick, Matt Stinchcomb, Tom Luginbill)
SiriusXM: 129 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 4/6 FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: James Franklin
Record: 5-0 (4-0 SEC) Record: 2-3 (1-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -9, O/U 41

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what has been going on with the Gators over the last week? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

Improvement evident but Gators can get better | Pease impressed with offense’s execution | Muschamp looking for improvement in return game | Franklin fawns over Florida | Team effort fueling Gators defense

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida leads Vanderbilt 34-9-2 in the all-time series but is just 15-7-1 in games played in Nashville. The two teams have played consecutively every year since 1992; the Gators are undefeated (20-0) in those games and hold a 21-game winning streak overall, outscoring the Commodores by an average of 21.9 points per game in that span.
» The two teams will square off in the month of October for the first time since 1989. The last time UF lost to VU (1988) was also the last time the teams went head-to-head in the month of October in Nashville.
» Vanderbilt’s five-point loss to Florida last season was the closest game between the two teams since 2002 (21-17 UF).
» UF is 10-1 against unranked opponents and 2-5 against ranked teams since Muschamp took over the program in 2011.
» The Gators have started the season 5-0 for the first time since 2009.
» Last week, Florida defeated a ranked opponent at home for the first time since Nov. 15, 2008 and beat an SEC West time in Gainesville for the first time since Oct. 17, 2009.
» The Gators were 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but have started the 2012 season 3-0 in that category with all three victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» Florida is 8-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 0-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 9-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points and 8-3 when scoring first.
» The Gators have scored on 15-of-16 red zone trips (93.8 percent) but have only converted 10-of-16 possessions (62.5 percent) into touchdowns.
» Florida has converted 30-of-72 of its third-down attempts (41.7 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 19-of-75 on third down conversions (25.3 percent), which is good for fourth-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is out-possessing opponents by an average of 10:38 through five games, a margin that ranks second nationally.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 78-13 in the second half and 41-0 in the fourth quarter. UF is the only team in the nation that has not allowed a fourth-quarter point.
» Florida has not allowed a touchdown in nine-straight quarters and is sixth in scoring defense nationally (11.40 points per game).
» The Gators are +6 in turnover margin through five games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (328) since 2000.
» Florida has grabbed seven interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and is already closing in on its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in all five games.
» The Gators are second nationally in pass efficiency defense.
» Florida has at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered one in 2012.
» Vanderbilt is averaging 121.8 more yards of total offense than a year ago at this time and is holding opponents to 70.8 fewer rushing yards per game.
» The Commodores have sold out a home football game for the first time since 2008.
» Franklin has more wins in two seasons than any Vanderbilt head coach since 1991.

LAST TIME OUT

What looked like a one-sided affair at the half quickly became a hard-fought game as Florida coughed up its game-high 17-point halftime lead but still hung on to take down Vanderbilt 26-21 in Gainesville, FL. The Gators ended a four-game 2011 losing streak on the back of running back Jeff Demps, who took 23 carries for 158 yards and scored two of UF’s three touchdowns on the day (one a 52-yard dash late in the fourth quarter). VU quarterback Jordan Rodgers was responsible for all three of the Commodores’ second-half touchdowns, tossing two (one with 1:16 left in the game) and running for another. Vanderbilt tried an onside kick following that score but was unable to recover as Florida ran out the clock and earned the victory.

Read the rest of the Florida-Vanderbilt preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sidelines.

INJURIES AND ABSENCES*

» Active (1): Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (hamstring, thumb)
» Inactive (10): Redshirt senior guard James Wilson (undisclosed), junior defensive end Dominique Easley (knee), junior DB Cody Riggs (foot), redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan (pectoral), junior long snapper Drew Ferris (collarbone), redshirt freshman guard Tommy Jordan (shoulder), junior Buck LB Ronald Powell (ACL), freshman TE Colin Thompson (foot), redshirt junior DE Kedric Johnson (knee), senior defensive lineman Nick Alajajian (knee)

* As of Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. (will be updated closer to the game).

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Senior running back Mike Gillislee (#23)…who is entrenched as the Gators’ starter, a role he has worked towards achieving over four years. He registered a career-high 34 carries for 146 rushing yards one week ago and has averaged 5.3 yards per carry and more than a touchdown per game this season. Gillislee has totaled 548 yards on 103 carries with seven scores, and his 109.6 yards per game currently leads the SEC.
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel (#6)…who was officially named the starter in week two and has shown remarkable improvement with each passing game. He has completed 69.2 percent of his passes (63-of-91) this season for 759 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
» Redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed (#11)…who is leading the Gators in receptions (19) and receiving yards (223) through five games. His 19 catches are the 13th-most at his position nationally. Reed became a full-time tight end in 2011 but missed four games that season due to injury. He has the ability to be a major receiving threat and big-time mismatch for Florida offensively.
» Senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic (#1)…who is the straw that stirs the drink for the Gators on defense. He is first on the team in solo tackles (20) and tackles for loss (5) as well as second in overall take downs (28). Bostic and redshirt senior Buck LB Lerentee McCray each have two sacks on the season.
» Junior defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd (#94)…who is back to playing his natural positions and are looking to breakout as a former five-star prospect that joined the team in 2009. Floyd has registered 3.5 tackles for loss (out of 18 total tackles) and two quarterback hurries this season. He looks to be improving with each passing game.
» Junior safety Matt Elam (#22)…who has grown into his role as a leader and is undoubtedly the Gators’ most dynamic playmaker on defense. He has 126 career tackles (83 solo, 14.0 for loss) along with four sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and three interceptions already in his career. Elam had arguably his best game at Florida last week vs. LSU (seven solo tackles, forced fumble).
» Senior S Josh Evans (#9)…who matured and improved as a junior but has taken yet another step in 2012. Evans leads the Gators with 31 total tackles and has also registered a devastating sack this season. He is a nose for the ball carrier and is one reason why Florida’s tackling is much-improved.
» Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis (#19)…who is starting for Florida for the fourth-straight season. He was one of three kickers nationally to convert three or more field goals of 50+ yards in 2011 and was named as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award for a top-notch campaign that included him going 22-for-26 on field goals and a perfect 31-for-31 on extra points. Sturgis, who has already kicked three of the four longest field goals of all-time for the Gators, is just 14 made field goals away from passing Jeff Chandler’s 67 for most in school history.

VANDERBILT
» Redshirt senior QB Jordan Rodgers (#11)…who is in his second year as a starter after doing so for seven games in 2011. The brother of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Jordan has already passed for 831 yards and two touchdowns this season but has been limited to just 36 net rushing yards despite being a capable mobile quarterback.
» Senior RB Zac Stacy (#2)…who is now third on the Commodores’ all-time rushing and touchdown charts with 2,415 yards and 23 scores over four years. He is averaging 5.5 yards per carry this season and ranks eighth in the SEC in rushing with 413 yards on 75 carries. Stacy has rushed for 100+ yards in a game seven times in his career.
» Junior WR Jordan Matthews (#87)…who currently leads the SEC with 7.0 catches per game and has 35 total receptions this season. He is also averaging 97.2 yards per game (second-best in the league) for a total of 486 yards and has two touchdowns in 2012 with a long of 78 yards. Matthews has crossed the 100-yard plateau in five of his last 11 games dating back to last season.
» Junior S Kenny Ladler (#1)…who leads Vanderbilt with 35 total tackles and has also registered a sack and interception this season. As one of the most experienced defenders on the Commodores (20 starts in 29 career games), Ladler is a source of leadership for a unit that has improved from last year.

8 Comments

  1. gatorhippy says:

    “The two teams will square off in the month of October for the first time since 1989. The last time UF lost to VU (1988) was also the last time the teams went head-to-head in the month of October in Nashville.

    That worries me…

    alot…

  2. Basshole says:

    Hopefully there is no let down today. I’m a little afraid our ground it out style might have us winning the game for most of the game and Rodgers makes a few big plays at the end. Hopefully I’m being pessimistic. Go Gators!

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    People need to stop listening to the anti-Gator media propaganda about this being a let down game. The Gators have never been more focused than what they are right now and at the end of the day…its Vandy.

  4. VO2max says:

    “Hopefully I’m being pessimistic.”

    Huh whu?

    “Gators have never been more focused than what they are right now…”

    NAILED IT!

  5. Basshole says:

    Watching this game I can’t say I sound crazy for my earlier comment. I think we pull it out but we aren’t the 2008-2009 team that wins by showing up. I think every game from here on out will be a dog fight. The good thing is I like our chances in those type of games. Our team has taken Muschamp’s mentality and they are always ready to fight

  6. joe says:

    Lattimore will gash us for 200 yards easy and Clowney will spend more time in our backfield than Hunter Joyner.

  7. Aaron says:

    Before everyone gets upset. Vandy has been a tough customer at home this year. Scar barely pulled out a 17-13 win against them also. GO GATORS

  8. Mr2Bits says:

    @Joe : Is this after he has put up 50 against LSU all together? He’d be better off running on a peg leg as he has not been the same Lattimore and your fooling yourself if you think he’s breaking 200 on anyone let alone us this year!

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