Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt ‘Dores

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 74°F (feels like 74°F), partly cloudy, winds ENE at 10 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

TV: Sun Sports (Bob Rathbun, Tim Couch, Elizabeth Moreau) [Channel Finder]
Other TV: SportSouth, Fox Sports South, FS Southwest, FS Midwest, FS North, FS Detroit, FS San Diego, Prime Ticket, Sports Time Ohio
SiriusXM: 108/200 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: James Franklin
Record: 4-4 (3-3 SEC) Record: 4-2 (1-4 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -12 | O/U: 41.5

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you missed via the links below!

Column: Can Will Muschamp fix all of the Florida Gators’ problems?
Notebook: Muschamp’s evaluations after Florida’s third-straight loss
Notebook: Brent Pease discusses problems with Gators offense
Story: OT Tyler Moore (broken elbow) out for the season

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida holds a 35-9-2 advantage over Vanderbilt in the all-time series between the two teams, holding a 19-1-1 mark in games played in Gainesville. The two teams have played annually since 1992; the Gators are undefeated (21-0) in those games and hold a 22-game winning streak overall, outscoring the Commodores by an average of 21.5 points per game in that span.
» VU’s five-point loss to UF in 2011 was the closest game between the two teams since 2002 (21-17 Florida).
» The Gators is playing its third-straight game against a team coming off a bye week.
» UF dropped its first game this season to an unranked opponent last week and is now 18-2 against unranked teams under Muschamp.
» Florida is 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (7-12 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). The Gators are also 18-4 when holding opponents to 21 points or less, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-4 when scoring first (8-8 when an opponent scores first) and 18-1 when leading at the half (4-11 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF has registered 105 interceptions since 2008, second-most nationally. Florida is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,860).
» The Gators have forced the most turnovers among SEC teams this century (363).
» Florida has at least one turnover in 19-straight games.
» Despite struggling for the last few weeks, the Gators still lead the SEC in pass efficiency defense (98.6) and are second in the league in total defense (290.8 yards), scoring defense (17.1), rushing defense (107.6 yards), passing defense (173.1 points), yards allowed per play (4.92), third down conversion defense (.313) and first downs allowed per game (16.1).
» Florida averaged 393.4 yards of offense in each of its first five games but have racked up just 236.6 yards on average in its last three games.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt ‘Dores

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2013 SEC Media Day Quotables: Coaches and players speak on Florida and other hot topics

The Florida Gators received their fair share of headlines at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days on Tuesday but plenty of other coaches and players made waves as well for their comments and opinions.

Check out what Florida’s contingent had to say in the multiple links below.

Florida Gators at 2013 SEC Media Days: Main Post – News & Notes: Muschamp’s shot at Meyer, injuries, players, coaches | Game times vs. Toledo, Miami set | Muschamp: I’m “100% responsible” for players | Easley steals the show | VIDEOS: Florida players have fun interviewing each other

COACHES

» South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier on paying players $3,600-$3,900 per season in addition to their scholarships: “I’m going to keep fighting for our guys. I don’t know what will come. If President [Barack] Obama would say, ‘Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players,’ that they get enough, they get enough full scholarship, then I’ll shut up about it. But I just believe that these athletes, because of the enormous amount [of money they earn for the schools], just a little bit to help out with their parents watching games and so forth. Okay, that was our little talk about expenses. This is not ‘pay for play.’ Please don’t say, ‘Spurrier says pay for play.’ This is just expense money. I saw the other day this year, the NFL rookies, the minimum is $405,000, NFL rookie. And a third year kid, $630,000. That’s pay for play. Don’t disguise or say $300 for expenses for a game, that’s not pay for play. Just some expense money for our guys to live a little bit better, and their parents, guardians, whatever. Us coaches, if it was a financial burden for our universities, our coaches all offered to pay for it, all 14. It came up to $270,000, $280,000 a year for the coaches. We’d pay it all. We want our players to get a little bit more than they get.”

» Spurrier on if he would turn Florida in for a recruiting violation in like Urban Meyer did: “Like that? Probably not that [smiling]. If they were obviously doing something [on purpose], we were obviously doing something [on purpose], I would hope they’d turn us in. Usually go through the league office is the way. Yeah, we don’t turn a lot of people in anyway. You can’t ever condone breaking the rules on purpose, though. We don’t condone that with anybody.”

» Spurrier on staying on longer with the Gamecocks than he did with the Gators: “I didn’t think about that. I did think I could go eight, nine, ten years. I was at a booster club. … I said my plan and goal is to be the winningest coach here. It was only 65 wins. If we could average about eight a year, maybe win nine one year, I could get to 65. It worked out that we got 66. Last two years we’ve added up well. … I have an excellent coaching staff. I got guys that can recruit, coach, do everything. It’s not a stressful job for me as maybe some coaches have. Summertime we get away from it a bit, get refreshed, ready to go during the season. Burnout is not something I’m going to get, not unless we go real bad. It can go real bad if you think it can’t. I know it can go real bad if we don’t watch ourselves. Hopefully it won’t.”

Continue Reading » 2013 SEC Media Day Quotables: Coaches and players speak on Florida and other hot topics

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No. 7 Gators escape Tigers, finish 7-1 in SEC play

Four forced interceptions and two second-half touchdowns fueled the No. 7 Florida Gators to a come-from-behind 14-7 victory Saturday over the Missouri Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

The win marked Florida’s seventh Southeastern Conference victory in eight games, giving the Gators as many league victories as the team has accumulated over the last two seasons. Florida (8-1, 7-1 SEC) also held Missouri (4-5, 1-5 SEC) scoreless in the second half, assuring the Tigers finish their first SEC season with a losing league record.

The Gators were outgained 335-276 on offense and outpossessed by 7:54 over four quarters, a surprising statistic considering how dominant UF had been in time of possession this season.

After a scoreless first quarter, Florida got the opportunity to begin a possession in the red zone when junior cornerback Jaylen Watkins intercepted Mizzou quarterback James Franklin and brought the ball down to the Tigers’ 19-yard line. The Gators were unable to convert, however, losing six yards on first down, getting tagged for a delay of game penalty and having a 48-yard field goal by redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis blocked at the line of scrimmage.

Florida gave Missouri a similar opportunity just a few minutes later as senior running back Mike Gillislee was stripped and fumbled at UF’s 27-yard line. The Tigers needed six plays to get on the board as RB Kendi Lawrence scored a one-yard rushing touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead with 6:10 remaining in the first half.

Read the rest of this Florida-Missouri game story…after the break!

Continue Reading » No. 7 Gators escape Tigers, finish 7-1 in SEC play

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Gameday: No. 7 Florida Gators vs. Missouri

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 75°F, sunny, winds NW at 4 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $10 on TiqIQ

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2HD/ESPN3D (Dave Pasch, Brian Griese, Jenn Brown)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 7 FLORIDA GATORS MISSOURI TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Gary Pinkel
Record: 7-1 (6-1 SEC) Record: 4-4 (1-4 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -17, O/U 42

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.

Brent Pease wants Florida’s offense back on track | Gators’ defense stepping up as a whole, Dan Quinn says | Muschamp updates team health and injuries

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida and Missouri will square off for just the second time in the history of the programs. The Tigers defeated the Gators 20-18 in the 1966 Sugar Bowl in the teams’ only other meeting (see: Last Time Out).
» In its first season as a member of the SEC, Missouri is looking for its second league win. Florida, on the other hand, can win seven SEC game for the 12th time in school history and first time since 2009.
» UF is one of two teams nationally (Notre Dame) with three victories over ranked opponents this season. The Gators are only team in the country with a pair of top-10 wins and earned them in consecutive home victories for the first time in school history. » The Gators are 11-1 against unranked opponents and 3-6 against ranked teams under Muschamp since he took over in 2011. Florida is 3-1 against ranked opponents this season with wins of Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina and a loss to Georgia.
» Florida was 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but have started the 2012 season 3-1 in that category with all three victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» The Gators are 9-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 1-5 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 11-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 9-3 when scoring first and 11-1 when leading at the half.
» Florida has scored on 27-of-31 red zone trips (87.1 percent) but have only converted 17 of those possessions (54.8 percent) into touchdowns.
» UF has converted 46-of-115 of its third-down attempts (40 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 30-of-116 on third down conversions (25.9 percent), which is good for fifth-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is averaging 34:04 in time of possession through eight games, a margin that ranks fourth nationally and just 12 seconds behind the country’s leader.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 124-38 in the second half and 64-20 in the fourth quarter. UF was the only team in the nation that had not allowed a fourth-quarter point until three weeks ago.
» Florida had a stretch of not allowing a touchdown in nine-straight quarters and is fourth in scoring defense nationally (12.75 points per game).
» The Gators are +8 in turnover margin through eight games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (336) since 2000.
» Florida has grabbed 11 interceptions so far in 2012 and has already surpassed its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in seven-of-eight games and has also forced seven fumbles.
» The Gators are third nationally in pass efficiency defense (90.63), sixth in total defense (280.9 yards per game) and 13th in rushing defense (100.5 yards per game).
» 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 a kick return (or punt return) in 2012.
» The Gators are first nationally in net punt average (44.48 yards per punt).
» Missouri is 16-4 in the month of November over the last five seasons.
» The Tigers are 111th nationally on third down, converting just 31.71 percent of their opportunities. Mizzou’s defense, however, is 10th nationally on third down, holding opponents to 29.73 percent on conversion attempts.
» Missouri is first in the SEC in punt return average, gaining 16.86 yards per try.
» The Tigers have recovered 14 fumbles on the season, second-most nationally to Louisiana Tech. Mizzou’s +6 turnover margin is a big reason why the team has been able to be competitive this year.

Read the rest of the Florida-Missouri preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sidelines.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 7 Florida Gators vs. Missouri

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Gameday: No. 4/6 Florida Gators at Vanderbilt

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.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 4/6 Florida Gators at Vanderbilt

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James Franklin incredibly impressed with Florida

Speaking with the media on Monday during his weekly press conference, Vanderbilt Commodores head coach James Franklin spent five uninterrupted minutes praising the No. 4/6 Florida Gators and explaining how difficult of an opponent he believes his team is going to be facing in their home game on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Nashville, TN.

Franklin’s full comments on Florida (highlights underlined)…after the break!
Continue Reading » James Franklin incredibly impressed with Florida

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Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt Gameday Preview

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 66°F, sunny, winds NNE at 13 mph
Time: 12:21 p.m. (ET)

TV: SEC Network
SiriusXM: 220/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: James Franklin
Record: 4-4 (2-4) Record: 4-4 (1-4)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -13.5; O/U 44.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 12:21 p.m.

Story: Gators DE Sharrif Floyd striving to improve

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series against Vanderbilt 33-9-2 and holds an 18-1-1 advantage in games played in Gainesville, FL. UF is outscoring VU nearly two-to-one (1,182-606) in those contests.
» The Gators have won 20-straight against the Commodores dating back to 1988.
» Florida has not lost to Vanderbilt in Gainesville since their first meeting in 1945. However, the two teams played a two-overtime contest that ended 49-42 in 2005.
» This will be just the third time since 1967 that UF is not ranked going into the game.
» Florida is last in the nation in penalties, committing 75 through the first eight games. The Gators have lost/given up 567 yards due to those miscues. Those numbers average out to Florida committing 9.38 penalties per game for 70.88 yards.
» UF has not played in The Swamp since Oct. 1.
» The Gators are undefeated this season against unranked teams and are also 4-0 when out-rushing their opponent in a game; however, Florida is winless against ranked teams and 0-4 when being out-rushed by their opponent.
» Vanderbilt has held all seven FBS teams they’ve faced under their season rushing average to the tune of nearly 80 fewer yards per game.
» In their four victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-17. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of eight games.
» The Commodores have scored 202 points this year, just two fewer than during their entire 2010 campaign and six more than they posted in all of 2009.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (33 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» The Gators had a 100-yard rusher in four-straight games to start the season, the team’s second-longest streak ever, before failing to accomplish that feat in each of the last four games (all losses).
» Fourteen different Florida players made their first career start this season including five freshmen and three redshirt freshmen; 15 total have seen action this year.
» The Gators offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. UF has scored points in 22 of 32 quarter this season and touchdowns in only 17 of those quarters.
» Florida is No. 14 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (297.3 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 22 nationally and fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (19.5 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 168.5 yards per game, good for third in the SEC and seventh nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is seventh in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 29.1 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (312) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (73) since 2008.
» Vanderbilt’s secondary is second in the SEC and tied for fourth nationally with 15 interceptions; however, VU has picked off just one ball in the last four games.
» The Gators lead the Commodores in three of the four major statistical categories. Florida tops Vanderbilt in national averages of passing yards 186.4-152.6 (95th-108th), points scored 26.0-25.3 (73rd-80th) and points against 19.5-22.8 (22nd-38th), while VU leads UF in rushing yards 167.6-151.4 (50th-66th). The teams each fell to a pair of comment opponents – Alabama and Georgia. The Gators lost those games 38-10 and 24-20, while the Commodores dropped their matches 34-0 and 33-28.

LAST TIME OUT

Riding momentum from a 34-31 overtime win against Georgia in 2010, Florida upended Vanderbilt 55-14 in Nashville, TN last year. Mike Gillislee ran for a touchdown midway through the first quarter, but the Gators blew open the game after that, scoring five touchdowns in the second quarter and leading 41-0 at halftime. Deonte Thompson, Chris Rainey and Frankie Hammond, Jr. each had long scoring receptions, Terron Sanders returned a fumble for a touchdown, and Solomon Patton returned a blocked kick for another score. Florida accounted for 277 yards of offense through the air and 203 on the ground while holding Vanderbilt to 63 and 46 yards, respectively.

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Aside from the first hour of GameDay being hosted by Florida alum and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, the Gators will be featured in a separate segment on the main portion of the broadcast beginning at 10 a.m. ESPN will take a look at why Florida is struggling and what is wrong with the team this year. The game will also be featured in the pick segment; expect one or two of the guys at the table to choose Vanderbilt. Former head coach Urban Meyer will also be on-site in Tuscaloosa, AL working during the program.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Probable/Questionable: Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (ankle), redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder), redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (leg), junior RB Mike Gillislee (ankle), sophomore CB Cody Riggs (wrist)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (#12)…who has completed 57.4 percent of his passes (78-of-136) this season for 1,187 yards and six touchdowns but also threw three interceptions including one returned for a score. Brantley had missed 10 quarters of action after injuring his ankle against Alabama but returned with limited health and mobility last week against Georgia.
» Redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 831 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 15.3 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (#4)…who jumped to second on the Gators’ receiving list with mirror image 65-yard touchdowns against Alabama and LSU. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, and his 247 receiving yards are the second-best on the team through its first eight games. Additionally, his 24.7 yards per catch is the highest average in the SEC and second nationally.
» Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed (#11)…who had four receptions for a career-high 69 yards last week against Georgia. He also caught just the second receiving touchdown of his career Saturday – his first this season.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is tied for second on the team in tackles (48) and at one point created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT). His 12 tackles against LSU three weeks ago marked a career high, and his 3.5 tackles for loss this season is fourth-best on the team.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (25 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 9.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks through the first eight games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-3 on the team in tackles. Bostic (60) and Jenkins (46) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has six tackles for a loss and three sacks while the latter has one sack and five pass breakups on the year.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing eight games one year ago with an injured back. He is 15-for-16 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 51) and is perfect with 19 extra points, leading the Gators with 64 points scored this season. Sturgis holds the national lead with 15 field goals made but missed last week’s game with a leg injury.

VANDERBILT
» QB Jordan Rodgers (#11)…who has started the last four games for the Commodores after beginning the season as a backup. Rodgers, the brother of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, has rushed for 241 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games. He’s 25/54 passing against Vanderbilt’s last two opponents as well, tossing a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions.
» RB Zac Stacy (#2)…who leads the Commodores in rushing with 97 carries for 707 yards (7.3 average) with six rushing touchdowns this season. Stacy is eighth nationally in yards per carry and the No. 4 rusher in the SEC.
» Defensive linemen Tim Fugger (#42) and Rob Lohr (#84)…who are leading Vanderbilt defensively by combining for 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
» DB Casey Hayward (#19)…who is tied for fourth nationally with five interceptions and is the SEC’s active leader with 13 picks. Hayward is one of 15 semifinalists for the Thrope Award given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

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