FINAL: No. 14 Florida 37, Vanderbilt 27

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Florida running back Jordan Scarlett runs 48-yards for a touchdown Saturday against Vanderbilt in the second half in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Live blog from the No. 14 Florida at Vanderbilt college football game in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday:

First quarter

Vanderbilt capped a 98-yard drive with a 1-yard TD pass from QB Kyle Shurmur to tight end Jared Pinkney with 6:23 left in the quarter. Ke’Shawn Vaughn ran for 43 yards to the Vandy 45 to highlight the nine-play drive, the longest in years for the Commodores.

After Vandy went three-and-out with the first possession of the game, Feleipe Franks had the Gators inside the Commodores’ five-yard line, but had a pass deflected and then intercepted by cornerback Joejuan Williams at the 2.

What Went Right: Florida’s defense stopped Vanderbilt on the game’s first series, and the offense has looked poised early regardless of the turnover. And the Gators have outgained the ‘Dores, 132 yards to 97, in the first quarter, and have a chance to pull even.

What Went Wrong: Despite moving the ball effectively in both series, Florida made one critical mistake on offense. Franks’ interception at the goal line gave Vanderbilt the ball back, and the Commodores responded with a momentum-stealing 98-yard touchdown drive. However, the Gators start the second quarter looking to put six points on the board of their own.

Play of the Quarter: It has to be Franks’ interception. The tipped pass gave Vanderbilt the momentum, and the Commodores capitalized with a 98-yard scoring drive.

Trending: Both of Florida’s drives reached the red zone, and the offense has outplayed Vanderbilt’s so far. For a team that came into the game ranked No. 2 in the nation in turnovers gained, it’s now the Gators that will look to respond after giving up a early turnover.

— Graham Hall

Florida       0

Vanderbilt  7


 Second quarter

Freshman Evan McPherson nailed a 22-yard field goal at the 14:14 mark to cut the Florida deficit to 7-3 to cap the 70-yard drive in 16 plays.

The Gators have made two trips inside the Vandy 5-yard line.

Vanderbilt answered when Shurmur tossed a screen pass to an open Vaughn, who went 75 yards for the TD. Vaughn has had six touches for 130 yards and a score.

The Gators were driving before another turnover. Franks runs for a loss before fumbling and the ball is kicked around 38 yards before Vandy recovers it at the UF 28.
Running back Jamauri Wakefield runs for 7 yards for the TD and a 21-3 Vanderbilt lead with 6:42 left in the half.
Florida then went 75 yards on 12 plays to come within 21-10 on Lamical Perine’s 7-yard TD run. Freddie Swain set the drive in motion with a 33-yard punt return.

 

UF linebackers James Houston, for targeting on the punt return, and Vosean Joseph, for his second unsportsmanlike penalty, were ejected from the game. Following the targeting call on the Gators, Florida coach Dan Mullen and Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason exchanged words on the field.

McPherson hit a 25-yard field goal as time expired to cut UF’s deficit to 21-13 to cap a seven-play, 77-yard drive that was highlighted by Franks’ swing pass to Perine that went for 63 yards to the Vandy 8. The next play was an incomplete pass to bring on McPherson.

What Went Right: Not much, aside from Lamical Perine. Instead of putting up six points of their own, the Gators settled for a field goal. Florida’s defense hasn’t been awful, aside from allowing a 75-yard touchdown on a gamble that didn’t pay off. Aside from the turnovers, Florida has moved the ball well, which leaves the door open in the second half for a comeback. Perine’s seven-yard touchdown run gave the Gators a little life prior to the midway point, and Perine’s 63-yard reception came as a shock in the waning seconds, and might be the turning point the Gators needed.

What Went Wrong: Almost everything. The Gators could only watch as Vanderbilt capitalized on their mistakes, taking a 21-3 lead. The miscues were harmful — five penalties and two turnovers gave Vanderbilt the lead and the momentum midway through the second quarter — and have essentially been the difference thus far. The Gators had a chance to pull back within a possession, but madness ensued between Mullen, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason. James Houston and Vosean Joseph were ejected from the game on a would-be momentum-changing punt return by Freddie Swain, resulting in 30 yards of penalties. Perine’s field-flipping catch-and-run saved the Gators, however, but UF goes into the second half with little to no depth at linebacker.

Play of the Quarter: It should have been Kyle Shurmur’s 75-yard screen pass, which did more than just give Vanderbilt a double-digit lead: it revealed what can happen when things go wrong when the Gators gamble on defense and lose. But it has to be the scrum between Mullen, Grantham and Mason. It’s a bad look for both teams, and the Gators lost two linebackers for the remainder of the contest as a result. It’s more than likely that sequence has game-changing implications.

Trending: Perine seemingly miraculously made it a one-possession game before halftime with two huge plays, but Vanderbilt has to be confident heading into the break, considering Florida is reeling and is missing two critical defensive playmakers for the second half. The pressure will be on Mullen and Franks to find a way to avoid a letdown and escape Nashville with a victory.

— Graham Hall

Florida          0    13

Vanderbilt    7    14   


Third quarter

UF went three-and-out with the first series of the second half.

Tommy Townsend’s punt for 39 yards gave Vandy good field position at its 49.

Aided by a pass interference penalty on third down by UF, Vandy moved the ball inside the Gators’ 10, but came away empty when Ryley Guay missed a 25-yard field goal attempt at the 9:47 mark.

Dan Mullen went into his bag of tricks, calling a fake punt and Townsend answered the call with an 18-yard run to the Vandy 45.

Several plays later, Franks hit receiver Van Jefferson with a 38-yard TD pass to cut the deficit to 21-20 at the 5:23 mark.

What Went Right: Florida benefited from a missed Vanderbilt chip-shot field goal, and the ensuing drive resulted in a 38-yard touchdown to Van Jefferson. The Gators are driving past midfield to start the fourth quarter.

What Went Wrong: Not much for the Gators, aside from allowing the ‘Dores to move the ball successfully to a degree on their second drive of the quarter. Florida appears more composed and has seized an opportunity to emerge victorious entering the final period of play.

Play of the Quarter: Tommy Townsend’s 18-yard run on fourth down extended the drive for the Gators, and Franks hit Jefferson for six just three plays later. The Gators pulled within a point, and it wouldn’t have happened without Townsend.

Trending: The Gators have all the momentum and are just past midfield with a chance to take the lead after trailing by 18 points earlier in the contest.

— Graham Hall

Florida       0    13   7

Vanderbilt  7   14   0


Fourth quarter

Jordan Scarlett broke off a 48-yard TD run on third down-and-three on the quarter’s first play to put UF up 27-21, the Gators’ first lead.

UF turned the ball over for the third time when running back Dameon Pierce fumbled and Vandy recovered at the Gator 28. UF held, but Guay nailed a 42-yard field goal with 12:10 left to make it a 27-24 game.

Franks connected with Swain for an 11-yard touchdown to cap a 75-yard, nine-play drive for a 34-24 lead with 8:07 left in the game.

UF has outscored Vanderbilt 31-3 after the Commodores took an early 21-3 lead. The Gators have rolled up 528 yards of total offense, the high for the season.

Guay kicked a 53-yard field goal with 3:55 left to cap a 14-play, 42-yard drive and make it a one-score game at 34-27.

McPherson stretched the lead to 37-27 with 37 seconds left with a 43-yard field goal to cap an eight-play, 49-yard drive.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson intercepted Shurmur to close out the game.

Florida enters its open week with a 6-1 overall record and 4-1 mark in the SEC. Vandy falls to 3-4, 0-3.

What Went Right: The Gators grabbed a double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter on Freddie Swain’s 11-yard touchdown reception. After Vanderbilt took an early 21-3 lead, the Gators clamped down in the second half, outscoring the Commodores 34-6 the rest of the way.

What Went Wrong: The highlights resoundingly outweighed any mistakes, as UF completed the comeback after a sloppy first half, holding Vandy to just a pair of field goals in the process.

Play of the Quarter: Swain’s leaping 11-yard touchdown gave the Gators a double-digit lead for the first time today, although a 53-yard field goal put the pressure on UF to complete the comeback. Florida freshman kicker Evan McPherson nailed the 43-yard field goal to give the Gators some breathing room, but it was Swain soaring for six that ultimately prevented a Vanderbilt upset.

— Graham Hall

“That was the big message for everybody, all of us was this: Don’t lose our cool … Just do your job and execute. I love the emotion,” Mullen said in a field interview with ESPN. Mullen said he and Vandy coach Derek Mason are “close friends, have been close friends for awhile,” then praises job Mason has done at Vanderbilt.

Final rushing numbers: Perine 23-121, one score; Scarlett 16-113, one score.

Florida       0    13   7    17 — 37

Vanderbilt  7   14    0     6 — 27

142 COMMENTS

  1. Pretty funny. Horrible call to pass over the middle on that first drive. Franks has a windup and that play has little chance of success.

    Everything is going wrong. Defense playing awful.

    See if they can get their heads out of their ssss’s.

  2. I have to apologize to Robbie Andreu because he was right when he called this game a trap game. It seems like our defense stayed home and we have Halloween ghosts playing instead. I hope Mullen tries a different option at quarterback or this game is going to get uglier than it is now.

  3. I am not surprised one bit. This team is totally doing as I predicted all season. Vandy was going to be a tough one all along. And to play them after an emotional game and right before Georgia had the making off a trap game all along. I hate to give up do early but we now near a 85% chance of loosing.. 8-4 is still within reach. But it’s looking like the best case scenario now which would still be very good. Well let’s try to keep this game close if we can! There’s still an outside chance of coming back if we score a td before the half. Go Gators!

  4. The unsportsmanlike penalty that got Joseph out of the game should have been on Vandy because Mason clearly went after Mullen. Yet, the Gators need to play a lot better on defense and score touchdowns vs. field goals inside the red zone.

    • The first unsportsmanlike on Joseph was also BS! The Vandy guy was clinging him to him and dragged him to the ground with Joseph on top. The way they fell, it looked like Vosean had slammed him down but the replay showed otherwise. These need to be reviewable. Oh well. I hope he doesn’t have to seat the 1/2 half against Georgia. That would be even more unfair. That said, great win for this team to come back like that. Last QB to do it was Chris Leak in that Kentucky game in 2003 ironically. Thankfully, this team won’t ‘have to be the first team to lose at Vandy since 1988… 2 more games to 8 games! Georgia will have to watch out for this team because they are starting to believe that they can be special. They sure are tough in the 2nd half! Hopefully, it’s a close game heading into 2nd half. Because if it is, those puppies will be very nervous. Go Gators!

      • Larry, two unsportsmanlike penalties get a player disqualified from the game but do not carry any disqualification into the next game. A targeting penalty, on the other hand, carries a disqualification into the next game but only if the penalty occurs in the second half.

  5. Bad play calling; running the ball with ease and then you ask Franks to win game, stupid. Franks can manage but better play calling needed. Run run and run some more; stop trying to be cute all the time.2nd and 1 run the ball.

  6. Poor officiating. Like Coach Mullen complained, refs have been inconsistent with how their making calls. But the Gators can still win this. Vandys.offense is not as good after their rb got hurt. Losing Joseph’s not good for us though. Hope Mullen can talk to Franks and help him get his confidence back. He’s got to do a better job running the offense and executing. Ugly game so far. Franks needs to lead the team.

  7. A team with twice the number of first downs (18-9), more total yards (275-198) and double the time of possession (20:03-9:57) should be leading at halftime but two crucial turnovers that turned into 14 points are deflating. Franks has to avoid turnovers for the Gators to win.

  8. Wow! Good to see the fans as expected. You guys sure give up and turn on this team easy. In all kinds of weather folks. Good to see them get the stupids out on the road here. Gators are outplaying but making some stupid mistakes. Live and learn. They’ll get it fixed and win the 2nd half. As one former coach was overheard by everyone in the stadium once, “OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD!!!” GO GATORS!!!

    • Will: The 2003 Gators trailed by 18 points at Kentucky and won, 24-21, behind first-year freshman quarterback Chris Leak.
      Today matched the largest deficit overcome in a road game in school history; the Gators had lost 26 consecutive
      games when trailing by 18 or more points.
      This was also Florida’s third win when trailing by more than 14 points since 2002, with the others being the
      aforementioned comeback win at Kentucky, and a 54-32 win over Furman on Nov. 19, 2011, during which it trailed 22-7
      after the first quarter.

  9. Mullen leaning on the run game paying off in the 4Q. So far Mullen has ran 55 times versus 29 pass. Vandy’s defense is gassed from lack of depth, Gators going tempo, and lopsided time of possession and number of offensive plays. Gators have ran 84 plays versus 45 plays for Vandy.

    • Here! Here! The change in our line over is amazing and they deserve a game ball. I can’t even believe how they keep improving week to week! They are starting to believe and becoming their best selves.

  10. I am so proud and happy for this team. Down 21-3, they settled down, made plays and won the game. Lots to work on, of course, and another big learning day for the whole team. Loved everything about how Mullen handled the chaos right down to his declining to discuss the officiating and ejections at halftime and then the hug it out with Vanderbilt’s coach at the end.

    Just when it seemed the team might fall apart and regress back the team of old, he got them back on task and playing up to potential and how about that Savage edge? I feel like the 4th quarter has become Savage time, with our team actually looking like they were playing faster and fresher during the final 15.

    I am a little worried about my heart, though. May need to start meditating and doing yoga before games.

  11. ADVERSITY. What went wrong, what went right, what could have happened, what should have happened, what didn’t happen, what did happen — Y’all can fill in all that stuff as well as any sports writer, maybe even better since I take your opinions more seriously. To me, this game was all about one cardinal thing: CHARACTER. Call it gumption, call it will to win, call it drive, call it anything but late to dinner. CHARACTER. This team turned a third corner. GO GATORS.

  12. Took my Gator flag down mid through the 3rd Qrt, turned off the TV and mowed the lawn, returned to a 34-24 4th Qrt score; can’t watch when they play undisciplined and conservative, UGA will kill us if this is a repeat performance in Jacksonville.

    • You’re a sad excuse for a football fan of any team. They were down and came back and won it. They showed grit and character in the face of adversity. You missed the best part of the game. Next time you may as well skip the whole game. What is the point of watching any sport if you can only watch when things are going well?

        • If supporting the team when things aren’t going well makes me a pathetic loser, then I, and I suspect many on this board wear that label with pride.

          My definition of a pathetic loser is someone who bails at the first hint of adversity. Hmmmmm…who on this board most fits that description?

          Look in the mirror when you start tossing that term around little boy.

    • LSU 13 Gawga 0. Gawga is good but for from great. The Gators got off to a slow start, never lost composure, and stayed focus. That’s the sign of a well coached team. Nobody is going to kill the Gators this year. Will we win them all? Wait and see. But if you have confidence in CDM you know that we are never out of a ballgame. And, REALLY, you took down your flag in the 3rd quarter? For the sake of Gator Nation please keep it in your garage the rest of the season. You are our good luck charm!

    • Don’t watch. And don’t attend any games. And send your gear to kids in Africa that need clothes. And go support the clown college; they like frontrunners in Tallacrappy.

      You won’t be missed by Gator Nation.

  13. Not every win is pretty. Ugly wins happen to the best of them, but a win is a win no matter how you get it. Bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. This team clearly needs a break after a crazy month of football.

  14. Coming back from an 18-point deficit in an SEC road game, especially with so many turnovers/mistakes, was a good experience for the Gators and pretty impressive. Scarlett and Perine and the O-line deserve game balls. Glad Coach Mullen has two weeks to work with Franks before the big game in Jax. He’s obviously doing some things well for the team to already be eligible for a bowl game, but he obviously will need to do worlds better for the Gators to give the Dawgs a fight.

  15. Sometimes things just want to keep going wrong. And in those cases you must be cautious imo. But there is opportunity in those situations if you can tough it out. life has tons of trial and error. Obviously you can do tried and true which works often but not always. And to keep trying what doesn’t work isn’t good either. However a situation like this makes you try things and if they work you are better than just a routine win. I like today even though I did throw a package of crackers on the ground in fury when vandy scored on a play when we missed a few tackles.

  16. Overcame a bad 1st half and won the game in the 4th quarter. That makes us 6-1. Not bad all since we didn’t win but 4 all of last. We almost over looked Vandy, glad out players woke up before it was too late. I will say this, Franks isn’t good enough to run the ball, not even close. Next up Georgia, and Ill say this now, they are not unbeatable……………

    • I think the observation about Franks’ running may be the best observation in this entire chain. As I’ve mentioned in prior threads it doesn’t fit his athletic gifts. Already tall, and accentuates every inch of it with his running style. Also very lanky, long strider. It just won’t work with him the way Mullen prefers. I am not down on Franks actually, I would just like to see Mullen make an adjustment there; like hue is making adjustments everywhere. Let’s not ask Franks to do something that doesn’t fit his gifts. — otherwise, I see the improved running game as the huge enabler the past few weeks. O line improving; Scarlett looks like a different player, and Perine – rock frickin’ solid.

  17. Really impressed with how Franks came back from a very slow start and two very big mistakes to exhibit a lot of leadership and decent decision making. And the Florida offensive line has finally arrived. Florida would have not won this game the last three years and did so today because they are so way better coached now. But Florida will not come close to beating Georgia unless the linebacker play against the run improves dramatically, especially when they shoot into a gap, where they often whiff on tackles and allow big, explosive runs (as Georgia repeatedly did in last year’s game). And lot of work and coaching needed before kick off two weeks from today. But so relieved the Gators were able to win a game when they lost their composure and execution on critical plays early in the game (and all that just before the half). The SEC needs to address the on-field behavior of the Vandy head coach. I have seen that kind of behavior several times before. Really horrible and uncalled for block on the punt by Houston, but he was punished for it and no need to come over and start that crap by mouthing off to the Florida coaches and players (unless he was just trying to get players thrown out of the game. If so, the Vandy coach was successful. And like Mullen was saying, the refs were not consistent in their calls. They would allow the Vandy RBs to get stood up and get pushed forward for long periods of time before blowing the whistle, but would blow the whistle almost immediate when the same thing would happen with Florida. Several times it coast Florida additional yardage and gave Vandy more yardage. And not the only thing they were inconsistent on calls during the game. And I can understand why Joseph was so upset when he was thrown out for a team personal foul and not directly by him. That rule needs to be changed by the SEC.

  18. Wow that was a lot of negative comments for the first 2 quarters. I know they were struggling, but last time I checked the game lasts 60 minutes not 30. There is definitely a lot we still need to work on but if we can double our win total from last year (looking at the rest of our schedule it is possible) it will be a successful season and I feel like it already is. That is just me. Go Gators!!

  19. Defense needs to shut the hell up and do their job. Franks ain’t no Tebow. Not even close. Pride and stupidity will be the only thing keeping the Gators from getting to Atlanta. Mullens has turned the offense around to where THEY are the ones keeping the Gators in the game. The offensive line are the ones that are making the difference in this season. Scarlett is the second best running back. Pierce runs like a rookie with lots of talent, but is a rookie making mistakes. Mullens is a great coach! Pride and stupidity will be the only thing keeping the Gators from getting to Atlanta. Geaux Tigers!

    • Defense only gave up 336 yards and overall our defense has been excellent and with Mullen the offense is getting better and better. Pierce has fumbled once all year and Mullen put him back in after the fumble and he made a nice catch and run. I’m not concerned about the lack of poise today – we still won and Mullen will teach from this. We have a really good team and our future is bright!!!

  20. Reading these comments….geez. A lot
    Of you should have your fan card take away. Was a great road win against a team that would have easily beaten us the last 3 years. Learning to win and play tough. Love it.

  21. It is not easy to overcome three turnovers, especially on the road. The Gators took a big step forward today, continuing to work hard even when everything seemed to be going against them and finally pulling out a win. Franks showed poise in the second half, and the offensive line began to assert itself. The defense also deserves some credit for finally stepping up after a below-average first half. There is good reason to think that these Gators are on the way to becoming a very good team.

  22. An outstanding win and huge character builder. Adjustments made and never a sign of panic, except by many commentators here. Refs were terrible and turnovers can kill you but they played through that. RBs are beasts. All three give you the extra tough yards. Good to see Scarlett getting the rust out, Perrine tough as they come and Pierce a future star. Franks did what was needed to win in clutch. D tightened up when needed. I’m beginning to think we have a shot at winning out.

  23. The fake punt reminded me of Larry Seiple in the Dolphins v Steelers 1972 AFC Championship. Same scenario, Steelers were dominating the Dolphins but then the impromptu fake punt turned the game around, Great awareness by the punter to see the opportunity. Definitely saved the game.

  24. Gary, I was a young fan at the time, but man I still remember that. Wish I had seen today’s play if you think it was comparable. I’m in the middle of nowhere PA biking and can’t find it in a loadable fashion. Can’t wait to see it.

  25. I’ve been out of the loop all day but just finally got to watch the game. My thoughts are, I never felt like the Gators were out of the game, even at 21-3. The first drives showed an offense that could move and a defense that could stop. The interception (and then the fumble) took the wind out of their sails.

    The first half had a lot of adversity and I’d say that any Gator team of the past three or more years would’ve folded the tent right there. They certainly did last year, several times. The defense had mental mistakes in the first half and poor gap control. Losing Joseph hurt as he has been on a tear the past few games. But the defense as a whole, played hard and never gave up, even when they gave up big plays. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson continues to lead and his tackling has really improved.

    Franks is obviously still a work in progress. Fortunately, he has the perfect coach to nurture him along. And he seems to have bought in to every single thing Coach has been teaching and preaching. I don’t think he’s Dan’s prototype QB but he’s what we have and Dan is making him be the best he can be. The kid has a great attitude.

    Lamical Perine has always been a favorite of mine and he just keeps delivering. This guy just knows how to play and seems to be a great team player. Scarlett had a monster day and Pierce shows lots of great promise. It was nice to see Van Jefferson and the other WR’s get touches and make meaningful contributions. The play calling continues to be creative and tailor made for each game. Coach knows how to game plan. The fake punt was a perfect call at a perfect time!

    The DB’s continue to grow each game. This unit will be a team strength next year and I expect them to continue to improve each week.

    All in all, my take is, this team won a game that they would’ve lost in the past few years. Their composure and character was tested and they responded with a win. Did they play perfectly? No. Does anyone else not named Bama? In my humble opinion, this coaching staff showed their mettle again today and even with a less than perfect game, they WON THE GAME and now this team is 6-1. How many of you on this forum expected that? I didn’t. Still lots of football to play but I’m a lot more optimistic heading into Jacksonville in two weeks…..especially after UGA’s game today 🙂

  26. Well said, Rog. To the negative nellies out there, Vandy has historically played us tough. What do you think of the 1996 Gator national champion team? Well they barely beat Vandy; won by less of a margin than this game, and needed some luck and favorable ref. calls to get out of the game alive. We all knew going into this season that it was a rebuild and we would not blow teams away very often. At this point, being 6-1, the team is not doing as expected- they are doing as we most optimistically hoped . Right now, being most conservative, if we lose to UGA, FSU and lose one of the USC or MIZZOU games, we will still finish 8-3, which is great after last year. However 9 wins looks even more likely, and 10 or 11 wins is not out of the question. This is great for a team that still has a long way to go. Mullen is doing an outstanding job, and this young team is making excellent progress. Greatness is still a long way to go, but we are headed in that direction.

  27. I was at the game, and at one point I thought we would see Trask come out, even the crowd was booing a little.. Frank’s finally pulled it together for a great comeback.. We got to walk out of the stadium with a W, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Go gators!