Four Murphy turnovers doom Gators, Florida loses to Vanderbilt for first time since 1988

By Adam Silverstein
November 9, 2013

A horrible season for the Florida Gators got even worse on Saturday as the Vanderbilt Commodores entered Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, on homecoming and picked up a 34-17 victory, beating their SEC East rivals for the first time since 1988.

Vanderbilt came through with a win in Gainesville for the first time since 1945, one that ended Florida’s 22-game winning streak in the series. It was also the Commodores’ first league victory against the Gators dating back to when they joined the SEC in 1992.

Florida dropped its fourth-straight game by falling behind early and never finding a way to recover. The Gators are now below .500 for the first time since 1992 and are in the process of breaking their consecutive bowl game streak, which currently stands at 22.

After winning the toss and deferring possession, Florida allowed its opponent to pick up an opening drive score for the third-straight week. Vanderbilt gained 62 yards on 13 plays, converting two first downs in UF territory, and took an early 3-0 lead.

The Gators responded immediately with a 12-play, 48-yard drive, but redshirt freshman kicker Austin Hardin missed a 44-yard field goal wide right.

Florida committed another miscue just minutes later when redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy, on 1st-and-10 from UF’s 25-yard line, threw an interception that was returned to the 10. On the very next play, VU running back Jerron Seymour rumbled into the end zone to put his team up 10-0 in the first quarter.

Pushed back to their own 15-yard line after junior cornerback Marcus Roberson had a 22-yard punt return negated by a holding penalty, the Gators turned the ball over again. Murphy was looking for redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar and had him wide open but was hit as he threw and coughed up his second interception of the game.

The Commodores only needed four rushing plays to gain the 22 yards remaining after the long return, finding pay dirt on a quarterback keeper and taking a 17-0 lead.

The ensuing drive was Florida’s most successful of the first half. The Gators moved the ball well, gaining six first downs and facing 1st-and-Goal at the one-yard line after freshman RB Kelvin Taylor broke away for an 11-yard red zone gain. Rather than simply run it up the gut and across the goal line, Florida squandered its touchdown-scoring opportunity.

On first down, the Gators ran a speed option and Murphy’s toss to Taylor bounce out of bounds for a five-yard loss. He threw incomplete on second down, and a third-down toss to senior WR Solomon Patton was dropped. UF settled for a 23-yard field goal by senior K Brad Phillips at the end of a 17-play, 85-yard drive.

Florida threatened once more before the break with freshman CB Vernon Hargreaves III returning a punt 24 yards to Vanderbilt’s 46 with 30 seconds left on the clock. However, Murphy was sacked and fumbled the first down on UF’s first offensive snap.

Murphy’s fourth turnover of the game occurred two plays into the Gators’ opening possession of the second half. A toss to senior WR Trey Burton was muffed, intercepted and returned to Florida’s four. Two plays later, Seymour scored a touchdown out of the Wildcat to give the Commodores a 24-3 lead.

The Gators finally answered in a real way after Murphy completed a 35-yard pass to Dunbar on 4th-and-3 from Vanderbilt’s 44-yard line. Two plays later, Taylor rumbled into the end zone to cut UF’s deficit down to 24-10 with 7:16 left in the third quarter.

Florida’s defense did not keep up its end of the bargain, however, allowing the visitors to methodically drive down the field, picking up 87 yards on 17 plays, before ending the possession with Seymour’s third touchdown of the afternoon.

Trailing by three touchdowns and trying to find the end zone again, UF moved the ball all the way down to VU’s 17. However, a six-yard sack and 15-yard facemask penalty on junior right tackle Trenton Brown gave the Gators 2nd-and-13 back at Vanderbilt’s 38. Florida punted two plays later.

With the Commodores playing looser defense following a three-and-out, Murphy completed six-straight passes for a total of 73 yards. The last reception was made by freshman WR Ahmad Fulwood in the back of the end zone for a Gators touchdown. Fulwood caught the ball after the defensive back deflected it with his hand of his own foot and it popped into the air.

Florida attempted an onside kick on the ensuing play but neither recovered it nor scored again in the contest.

Vanderbilt did, however. After UF lost 26 yards via a sack on 4th-and-23 – and had a 15-yard penalty tacked on after the play – the Commodores started at the Gators’ 10-yard line and eventually kicked a 31-yard field goal to go up 34-17.

UF must now find a way to win two of its last three games in order to become bowl eligible. Florida will have a tough time doing that, however, with South Carolina and Florida State still on the schedule. The Gators will make an effort to take down the Gamecocks next Saturday on the road in Columbia, SC.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press


  1. Ken (CA) says:

    Not much left to say, different day, same garbage product on the field. blown out on both side of the line, too many ridiculous penalties. Blown out by Vandy….wow…

  2. SW FL Joe says:

    Foley needs to be putting out feelers now. Even he can’t justify keeping Muschamp for 2014

  3. Champ supporter says:

    I love the guy, but I am not really sure if he will survive or if he even deserves to survive this season. UF is bad. QB play is bad. OL play is bad. Kicker is bad. LB play is bad except for Davis at the end. I have been a gator fan for 25 years and I do not know if it has ever been this bad to watch.

    Looking at the players on this roster, I honestly see why Meyer left. These Meyer guys that are left are not very good. Injuries and players to the NFL have depleted this team of top talent. How can this get better???

    • G2 says:

      It’s not going to get better anytime soon. He probably deserves 1 more year but that just puts us in a deeper hole. I think we loose some recruits after this game, just too painful to even watch. The best pitch we have is playing time available at every position.

  4. JohnJD says:

    Regime change is in order. I have never had a more personal apathetic attitude about our program. I have such a disdain for our style of play, our lack of sportsmanship/discipline, and our coaching staff that I do not care to continue following the team until a change is made.

  5. Kw says:

    ” redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Murphy”” uumm He is a Jr, although he played like a freshman

  6. Distraught says:

    I feel sorry for Murphy. He scrambled all day. He is not the reason for the Gators doom. It begins with the coaching. It is time, Foley, to clean house. Fire Muschump and Pease now! Lets get a new staff going soon before we loose to many recruits. We are already loosing fans. The number of empty seats in the Swamp on Homecoming is embarrassing. Now we likely not be going to a bowl game unless we can get lucky against SC or FSU, which looks unlikely. This is ridiculous. Time for change now!

  7. aziatic41 says:

    Muschamp must go! Clearly not the right guy for Florida. He is not a” head coach” he is a defensive coordinator. Foley has to man up and say hey I screwed up on the hiring of Muschamp and let him go now. If Foley keeps him around next year our program will lose tons of money because no one will come to the games.

  8. Ted says:

    It’s on me.

    Will Muschamp

  9. Champ supporter says:

    Feel sorry??? He wasn’t running around when he overthrew Dunbar for the INT or threw it behind Burton!!!

  10. Distraught says:

    Yea, feel sorry. Did u even see the game, or any games the last 4 weeks. The OL is not protecting the QB. Yet Muschump continues playcalling the leaves Tyler susceptable and having to run all day!!! Yeah he has bad and arrant passes at times but u have got to better play calling that compliments his strengths. He is all we have. I def blame coaching. Muschump has to go. He is the worst HBC we have had since the 80’s or maybe ever.

  11. Rich says:

    “It is what it is”

    Will Muschamp

  12. JS says:

    I am personally tired of hearing him say it’s his responsibility and he’ll get it turned around because that’s his job… He is ultimately responsible for record and it’s his job to lead the program in the right direction. When will he get this turned around like he keeps saying Bc I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of our players making plays and celebrating when we’re losing and I’m tired of the undisciplined play with all the flags. In all kinds of weather… Go Gators.

  13. Tguygator says:

    Mortified. Sad for players; sadder to see the “mighty gators” and swamp go down in such a pathetic way.

  14. Champ supporter says:

    Dang right I watched the game. Sorry, I am not blaming two of those picks on the O-line. Not happening. I clearly understand Muschamp is the HC and he’s in the position to take the heat, but I am tired of the blame being placed solely on the coaches and the players get excuses or a pass! Sooner or later these guys have to go execute and perform. It’s about time to accept the fact that some of these players who are getting sympathy just are not very good. Top recruits my foot! Play like it!

  15. Nick Norris says:

    How bad is this loss? Daughter called and told me grandchildren took off their Gator gear after the game was over.

  16. TST says:

    Bad bad day for my Gators . They played ball just terrible . I feel ill !!

  17. Gator Fantic says:

    I think we need to be strong!!!!Charlie STRONG!!! Time to show him the money$$$$

  18. Geoff says:

    Hire Charlie Strong right now … Done

  19. ga8or22 says:

    Anzalone, Christy, Thurman and Kitchens the only Florida players (or coaches) to join band and cheerleaders for Alma Mater after the game. Sure says something about the sprite of the team

  20. MAR says:

    Now I’m convinced. Muschamp came to UF to destroy the football program after all the whoopings he took as a leg jumper in the 90’s. He has never been able to erase nightmarish memories of being embarrassed by the fun n fun offense. He wants his revenge, and he is succeeding. They will soon have a bronze statue of WM watching over the streets o Athens.

  21. Terrell says:

    Bill O’Brien. Look at the job he doing at Penn State. Develops qbs, gets his players to play hard everyday and plays freshman through there mistakes. Can recruit florida with ease. Nfl experience. He is the man. No one else could compare.

  22. Aligator says:

    Art Briles

  23. MAR says:

    Never hire UGA alumni to coach at UF. Lesson learned the hard way. JF should have known that would never work. I think he should look for UF alumni like Brian Schottenheimer or Kerwin Bell. (Shocked if I got Brian’s last name right.). Hopefully we keep Chris Leak around, I think he is a great HC in the making. Strong would be a good hire, but Brian S is a Steve Spurrier disciple succeeding in the NFL.

    • TST says:

      Kerwin Bell would be my choice also . Can’t do any worst than Boom and Bell has won championships with North Florida and just average players . Has a very good offensive mind . But seems Foley and the HC’s are unwilling to give him a try . BUT ! Foley brings in a Dawg and gives him a 8 million dollar buyout !! Makes NO sense at all . make the HC prove himself to get a 8 million BO . Look what Meyers did to Foley , he didn’t learn imo

  24. I was at this game. Yes the talent is not being developed. Yes injuries hurt. The speed with two exceptions is gone. When by some chance a receiver gets deep Murphy lacks the arm to hit him and throws short for an interception. The style of play has no flexability. At won point I called twelve stright plays before the ball was snapped and I am no football genus. Way to predictable. If I guess right then a well coached opposition surley will. They are not aggressive. Don’t try to block punts of field goals like gators of old. Penalties are a serious problem. Coaching ia awful. Even the thought process is awful. Case in point: one minute left in the game, down seventeen points and you put Vernon Hargraves in to run back a kick off? This coach has no regard for injury. I would understand it if you were down three or even a touchdown but this game was lost. You don’t need to risk more injuries. Can it get worse? The fans are disgusted. I don’t know what coaches are available but I would be testing the waters.

  25. Michael Jones says:

    I was at the game too. Hard to believe that the two SCHOLARSHIP QB’s behind Murphy can’t do a better job than that. If they can’t, then why did we sign them? Morninhinweg has been with the program for two years. He doesn’t know the playbook yet? How about Staver? Hear he has an NFL arm. He can’t do better than poor little Murphy who can’t even get the ball 30 yards down the field.

    Even when a receiver is wide open, he typically has to make a great catch on a bad throw from Murphy–diving, lunging, jumping–which eliminates yards after catch.

    Murphy came in when Driskel went down and he gave us his all. You’re only as talented as you are, and I appreciate his effort. But he’s not a 1st string SEC QB.

    And to think that if Brissette wasn’t a whiny little quitter that he could have had his shot, THIS YEAR, at UF to prove that he’s the great QB he claims to be. One more lesson to learn for those guys who are always quick to jump ship when things don’t go their way. Sooner or later, everybody gets a chance to prove their worth.

    • TST says:

      i agree with the wasted backups . Why have them if you refuse to use them ? I think Tyler is hurting . Every play he gets laid out or is running for his life ..NO QB can play well under those conditions imo ..Shows Booms lack of coaching . And on QB’s he over coaches ..Let him play Boom your killing him !!

  26. Jim says:

    I gave Muschamp a “pass” because of injuries until this weekend. Florida has had top recruiting classes for years, so there is no excuse for this pathetic play.

    For those defending the coaches and blaming the players, Auburn was as bad or worse than the Gators and a coaching change quickly made the program go from the outhouse to the penthouse. Coaching matters big time

  27. Nick Norris says:

    You ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until South Carolina and FSU have chewed us up and spit us out. Then, I want to see how many folks want to give WM another year.

  28. ptoddchesser says:

    I just don’t think that a coach’s first head coach position should be at a program like Florida. Let the guy get his chops at another school and come in when he has proven what he can do. This conference is so competitive it can just chew up a first timer and spit him right out.

  29. David Hurwitch says:

    In essance Murphy is a freshman who makes freshman mistakes and worse. However he is not a freshman and he is all they have got. He can’t throw long. He comes up short and gets intercepted. It’s sad at this level when, when receivers, without great speed can out run your quarterbacks arm. Listen from a coaching perspective, in his very first game, they couldn’t snap the ball from center. My high school team was better prepared. So the Gators got on the job training. They know they have trouble scoring first. So defere receiving to the second half? How well does that work out for them. They do it repeatedly. Down seventeen one minute left. So you put Vernon Hargraves in to run back a kick off. Lucky you don’t have eleven players out for the season. Totaly predictable on offense. Even down seventeen we never go after the ball on defense. This is when you need to create a turnover. We use to go after / block punts and fiekd goals. Lack aggressivness except when it comes to penalties. Use to play at a diffrent speed than our competition. Still do only its slow motion. Great talant no development. Vanderbilt had a freshman quarterback, I think, and he looked great. Zero turnovers. Look what Auburn is doing this year. i could go on but there is no excuse for this team to be this bad.

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