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Despite Mullen's pregame warning, Gators give up 75-yard opening-drive TD vs. Vanderbilt

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun

Florida coach Dan Mullen emphasized throughout the week the Gators couldn’t take winless Vanderbilt lightly. 

The secondary was well-aware the Commodores were not the SEC’s worst passing offense either, and with a middle-of-the-pack passing defense through six games this season, Florida wasn’t necessarily in position to rest on its laurels based simply on an opponent’s record. 

Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Pierce Jr. (19) celebrates his touchdown with offensive lineman Julian Hernandez (62) and tight end Justin Ball (84) against Florida during the first quarter at Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

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But that message didn’t help UF’s pass defense on Vanderbilt’s game-opening drive. 

The Commodores proceeded to drive 75 yards in 11 plays, with 61 yards coming through the air. Vanderbilt quarterback Ken Seals didn’t misfire a pass, completing all five throws to give the home team the early lead. 

It’s far from the first time this season Florida’s given up early points – considering the opposition, however, UF was looking for a much different start.