QB Jeff Driskel’s 177 yards, three touchdowns lead No. 4/6 Florida over Vanderbilt 31-17

The Vanderbilt Commodores gave the No. 4/6 Florida Gators everything they could handle on Saturday night at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, TN, but it simply was not enough to pull off the upset as Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC) always had an answer for Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3 SEC) and picked up a hard-fought 31-17 victory.

The Gators out-rushed the Commodores 327-126 in an effort led by Florida sophomore Jeff Driskel, who scored three rushing touchdowns and bested Tim Tebow by setting a school single-game record for a quarterback with 177 rushing yards.

Vanderbilt got on the board first, completing a six-play, 66-yard drive that resulted in quarterback Jordan Rodgers’s first touchdown pass since the second week of the season. The Commodores benefited from a 15-yard penalty at the beginning of the drive when kick-catch interference was called on Gators sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy for hitting the punt returner too soon after he caught the ball.

Purifoy then got beat by wide receiver Chris Boyd for a 37-yard reception, and Florida junior safety Matt Elam was leapt over in the end zone three plays later as WR Jordan Matthews hauled in the touchdown. It was the first touchdown UF had given up in nine quarters dating back to the Tennessee game in week three.

The Gators finally registered some points on their first possession of the second quarter. Florida took over at its own nine yard line and put together an 11-play, 91-yard drive to score its first points of the game. Senior running back Mike Gillislee tallied 27 yards on the possession, but it was sophomore QB Jeff Driskel who scampered 37 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown.

UF then decided to go for two and converted as junior RB Trey Burton took a keeper into the end zone on a spread-out formation to give the Gators an early 8-7 lead.

Read the rest of the Florida-Vanderbilt story…after the break!
Continue Reading » QB Jeff Driskel’s 177 yards, three touchdowns lead No. 4/6 Florida over Vanderbilt 31-17

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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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Demps leads Florida past Vanderbilt 26-21

Running for a career-high 158 yards on 23 carries with a pair of touchdowns on Saturday, senior running back Jeff Demps was the primary offensive weapon for the Florida Gators, which snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores 26-21 on homecoming at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Florida (5-4, 3-4 SEC) led 17-0 at the half but was up just five until Demps took off on a 52-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-5 SEC) scored again but a failed onside kick gave UF the ball back and allowed them to run out the clock.

The Gators have won 21 consecutive games against the Commodores dating back to 1989 and have not lost at home to them since 1945.

Florida drove down the field on their first possession and threatened to score early. A pass from freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett to redshirt sophomore tight end Omarius Hines went for 37 yards near Vanderbilt’s goal line, but Hines fumbled it before crossing and turned it over.

UF still managed to score 17 points in the first half. Brissett ran a touchdown in from a yard out, Demps carried a ball five yards for a score, and redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on a 55-yard attempt with six seconds left in the half after missing a 49-yard try in the first quarter.

Commodores’ signal caller Jordan Rodgers was impressive all game long, finishing 19/28 for 297 yards, a pair of touchdowns and a rushing score. His first came midway through the third quarter on a 26-yard pass to wide receiver Jordan Matthews, which cut the Gators’ lead to 10.

Sturgis hit a 40-yard field goal near the end of the third, but Vanderbilt responded with a 14-play, 60-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard rushing touchdown for Rodgers, leaving Florida ahead just 20-14 with 10:54 to play.

After consecutive punts, the Gators got the ball back at their own six looking for a way to close out the game. An offsides by the Commodores on fourth down kept Florida’s drive alive, as did a pass interference call three plays later. Demps carried the ball seven times on the eight-play, 94-yard drive and ended it with a 52-yard rushing touchdown.

UF’s two-point conversion attempt failed, and VU capitalized immediately by driving 80 yards in just five plays, the last of which was a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to WR Chris Boyd.

Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed recovered the ensuing onside kick, and the Gators held onto the lead by running the clock out from there.

The most penalized team in the country heading into the game, Florida committed just three on Saturday. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, was flagged 12 times for 106 yards and kept a few UF drives alive with their miscues.

Junior RB Mike Gillislee saw some time in the run game for the Gators, carrying the ball nine times for 39 yards. Sophomore RB Trey Burton got going in the first half, earning 41 receiving yards on three receptions.

Florida got some good quarterbacking from redshirt senior John Brantley, who was 16/24 for 173 yards. Brantley played his best in the first half but injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter and was removed for the game.

The Gators held Commodores star RB Zac Stacy to 49 yards on 13 carries but gave up nine receptions for 170 yards and a touchdown to Matthews.

Florida possessed the ball three more minutes than Vanderbilt and gained just 33 more yards than their opponent. Hines’s fumble was the only turnover of the game.

Saturday’s win was the Gators’ first victory since Sept. 24. Florida had not played at home since losing to Alabama on Oct. 1 and will hop on the road again next Saturday to take on South Carolina. The game time and channel has yet to be announced.

Photo Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press

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