Florida works past Vanderbilt 34-10 in Nashville

By Adam Silverstein
November 8, 2014

The Florida Gators (5-3, 4-3 SEC) won consecutive games against Southeastern Conference opponents for the first time in more than a year, working their way to a 34-10 defeat of the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-7, 0-6 SEC) on Saturday night at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Though Florida’s rushing attack was nowhere near as proficient as it was when it compiled 418 yards on the ground against Georgia one week ago, the Gators did their damage on the ground, racking up 214 yards and four touchdowns on 50 total rushes. Three of those scores came on the legs of UF quarterbacks with freshman Treon Harris rumbling in for two touchdowns and redshirt junior Jeff Driskel adding a one-yard score of his own.

Harris finished 13-of-21 for 215 yards, adding 49 net rushing yards on 10 attempts. Driskel did not complete his only pass try, throwing the ball into the ground, but was effective in a rarely-used direct snap role.


Vanderbilt got on the board first as two Florida penalties, including a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct flag on junior linebacker Antonio Morrison, helped the Commodores complete a seven-play, 86-yard scoring drive on their second series. With defenders in his face, quarterback Johnny McCrary hit tight end Steven Scheu for a 33-yard touchdown on a post pattern.

Florida was able to respond immediately due in large part to great field position gifted by a short kickoff and penalty committed by Vanderbilt. Sophomore running back Kelvin Taylor carried the ball six times for 34 yards and concluded the 10-play, 60-yard drive with a 13-yard scamper into the end zone to tie the game 7-7 late in the first quarter.

The Gators threatened again on their next possession but were unable to punch it in the end zone. Harris connected with sophomore wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood for 48 yards, but Florida failed to gain a yard on three goal line runs, turning the ball over on downs.

Luckily for UF, Vanderbilt RB Ralph Webb coughed up the ball a couple plays later, and a recovery by senior safety Jabari Gorman gave the Gators another shot. This time, a fourth-down run at the goal line worked and was upheld after review with Driskel going over the top for a rushing score.

It was not long before Florida had another opportunity to score as Webb fumbled again on the next possession; it was forced by Morrison and recovered by sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. The Gators stumbled and were only able to gain 20 total yards on nine plays, but redshirt senior kicker Frankie Velez booted a season-long 40-yard field goal to boost UF’s lead to 17-7, an advantage it kept into the break.

Florida relied on redshirt senior WR Quinton Dunbar to extend its lead early in the fourth quarter. Dunbar dropped a first-down pass with the Gators backed up near their end zone but made up for the miscue in a major way, hauling in a 12-yard pass to convert a third down and wrangling a 60-yard pass on a post pattern as the third quarter came to a close. He came one yard short of matching his single-game career-high, finishing with 97 yards on the evening. Two plays later, faced with 3rd and Goal from the Vanderbilt seven, Harris kept the ball and ran in for a seven-yard touchdown.

The Commodores were quick to answer, however, due in large part to a highlight pitch-and-catch. McCrary, under duress, threw across his body but completed a pass to a well-covered Davis Dudchock, who hauled it in with one hand for a 41-yard gain. VU was forced to settle for a long 48-yard field goal, cutting UF’s lead to 14.

A 34-yard return by redshirt senior WR Andre Debose opened up Florida’s next drive, which moved down the field quickly thanks to a 16-yard rush by junior RB Matt Jones and sophomore WR Demarcus Robinson’s 12-yard grab. Faced with 2nd and 10 at the Commodores 33-yard line, Harris took a quarterback keeper into the end zone, shedding a few would-be tacklers along the way.

Taylor and Jones combined for 30 touches, 137 yards and Taylor’s score.

The Gators pumped their lead up to 24 on their ensuing possession, which began with Hargreaves nabbing an interception at the Vanderbilt 26. Florida was unable to get much going and settled for a 25-yard field goal from Velez to go ahead 34-10 with less than nine minutes remaining.

UF’s defense, which was outstanding after VU’s first offensive series of the game, put an exclamation point on the victory late in the fourth quarter. After redshirt sophomore defensive end Alex McCalister had an interception wiped out due to a holding penalty, freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor hauled in a one-handed pick in the end zone to cinch the game for the Gators. Florida would later stop Vanderbilt inside the 10-yard line after the Commodores drove 59 yards in 11 plays.

UF will look to keep its momentum going when it hosts South Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 15. The game will kick at noon and air live nationally on the SEC Network.

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

14 Comments

  1. Basshole says:

    Started out shakey but ended well. Outside of that second drive, the defense played pretty damn well and the offense really seemed to come around in the second half. When Tabor, a true freshman getting playing time, made that insane one-handed pick I thought this is the type of game that would make recruits want to play for UF.

    Nice win, Go Gators.

  2. Champ_Supporter says:

    Great win! Keep ol mo going!

  3. SJ210 says:

    Pretty much just what you wanted to see – a solid win against the worst team in the SEC. No nail-biting finish. It was really nice to see some semblance of a passing game with real routes. Good to see Harris go the distance. Wish we had a TE. When they brought Driskel in after Harris had just competed a nice throw we all screamed ‘Nooooooo!!!’

  4. MAR says:

    Great win. However, for the life of me, I can’t make sense of the Jeff D infatuation. We have numerous players wayyyyyyyyyy more deserving of goal line touches than he (players that don’t have a history of game losing catastrophic dumb plays every time they have a football in thier hands). Seniors Joyer or Brown, Jones, Taylor, Lane, etc, etc…
    Good lord, just bench Driskell and stop giving him courtesy touches! I think it’s empathetic play calling for a Driskell boost of confidence.

    • Michael Jones says:

      For the life of me I can’t get the Driskel bashing. Even after a win, it seems to be really important to take the time to bash Driskel.

      Matt Jones got smoked for not following his blocking on 4th and goal. Why aren’t you bashing him?

      • Bill says:

        I like Jeff, but he shouldn’t play anymore unless Harris gets hurt. I’ve never seen a coaching staff so connected to a bad player

        • Michael Jones says:

          He can still run the ball. But, then again, why you wouldn’t put a stud like Hunter Joyer or even Adam Lane back there on power formation short yardage running plays is beyond me. . . just like a lot of the decisions that this coaching staff makes.

          But I will agree that something has gone bad wrong with Jeff. When he made that feeble, awkward-looking throw out into the flat that didn’t even reach the running back, I was dumbfounded. I don’t know what happened to the kid who was a big part of our amazing 11-2 season.

          I don’t know if the constant barrage of criticism has irreparably robbed him of his confidence, or what. . but he’s regressed terribly.

  5. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Good result against the #14 team in the SEC. Not being able to score with 1st down inside the 5 is concerning still. Against a team like Vandy it seems like the red zone offense should always produce points. Adam is it the line, predictable play calling, the execution by the backfield or just one of those things that happens and we are hypersensitive to drives that do not produce points?

  6. Gatoralum88 says:

    Albeit Vandy, Harris was impressive. He throws a nice, catchable ball with touch & seems to have good pocket presence at this level despite his youth. With the D continuing to improve like it has & the O coming to life, they’re starting to look like they’ll be tough team to beat down the stretch & I’m starting to look forward to November 29th. Congrats Muschamp! It looks like you finally have it going in the right direction. Go Auburn vs UGA, Go TA&M, UT vs Mizzou…GO GATORS!!!

  7. gatorboi352 says:

    Great game from everyone but Harris. Wouldn’t want to bestow too much praise on Treon around these parts.

    ….

  8. Michael Jones says:

    Treon looked good. Vandy looked sad, but given the current state of Gator football, any win is a big win.

    To be continued. . . . .

    • apprentice says:

      Vandy’s defense was actually pretty good. They continously held the Gators to long yardage and stopped them quite a bit on 3rd downs. The problem (and we all know how this goes from first hand experience) is that they got no help from their offense. The offense did very well on that touchdown drive, but those two consecutive fumbles killed any semblance of a momentum. The problem was that Webb was the one producing the big runs, so if you have to bench him or not give him the ball because he’s fumbling it (dude could not hold the ball correctly), then the offense loses one of its best weapons.

      I wasn’t too impressed with this win from the Gators, but at least they did what they had to do and Treon is light years ahead of Driskel.

  9. Michael J. says:

    Much to my amazement, Florida may actually be a good team. They did what a good team should do, beat a bad team convincingly on the road. As we have all seen, it’s hard to win against any team this year. Except for teams like the two Mississippi schools played this week, to win any game is very hard. Let’s see what happens this week against South Carolina, but already the Gators have improved from last year’s debacle. The key was getting Driskel out of the lineup. The receivers are now actually catching the ball and the running backs are also performing well. It’s not a coincidence. I said, at the time, that the competition between Grier and Harris was not for the backup quarterback but the starter to take over when the coaches finally wised up and benched Driskel, and was ridiculed for it, and it’s made a huge difference. The Gators now have hope, with Driskel there was none.

    • Michael Jones says:

      It is a crazy year in college football. I was surprised to see that you guys were only 2.5 favorites over Miami this Saturday. . the same Miami that got blown out 31-13 at Louisville. Hmmm. . . . interesting.

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