FACTS & STATS: Site: Vanderbilt Stadium (39,790) — Nashville, Tennessee.
Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Florida 2-2, Vanderbilt 3-2. Away
Record: Florida 1-1, Vanderbilt 0-3. Neutral Record: Florida 1-0, Vanderbilt
0-1. Conference Record: Florida 3-3, Vanderbilt 0-5. Series Record: Florida
GAME NOTES: The Vanderbilt Commodores will wrap up a two-game homestand at
Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday night when they welcome the Florida Gators to
town for an SEC tilt.
Florida had been reeling with two straight losses prior to last week’s
neutral-field contest with nationally-ranked Georgia, and sparked by a
re-imagined offensive attack, it was able to capture a 38-20 win to move to
4-3 overall and reestablish itself in the SEC Eastern Division race at 3-3 in
Vanderbilt, meanwhile, has struggled this season under first-year head coach
Derek Mason, going just 3-6 overall with losses in all five of its SEC games.
The Commodores stepped out of conference last week to enjoy a 42-28 win over
In regards to the all-time series, the Gators have a convincing 35-10-2
advantage over the Commodores, although Vanderbilt won last season’s matchup
in Gainesville, 34-17, for its first win in the series since 1988.
Florida’s inconsistent offense (30.0 ppg, 379.0 ypg) has been difficult to pin
down this season, but if last week’s performance was any indication, the unit
will benefit greatly from a new approach.
Treon Harris started in place of the benched Jeff Driskel (.530 completions,
928 yards, six TDs, 10 INTs), although he wasn’t asked to do much, going just
3-of-6 passing for 27 yards while adding 37 rushing yards. The Gators went
with a more conservative approach with Harris under center, resulting in a
whopping 418 yards on 60 attempts.
Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor were both workhorses in the Georgia win, as both
had 25 carries and two scores while combining for 289 yards. On the season,
Jones has turned 113 carries into 616 yards and five scores, while Taylor (69
carries, 397 yards, four TDs) is also impressive.
Demarcus Robinson (34 receptions, 524 yards, four TDs) developed a strong
rapport with Driskel, but it remains to be seen how his production will be
affected by the change under center. No one else has more than 122 yards
Defensively, the Gators have played well in allowing just 337.7 ypg and 24.7
ppg, and last week they held Georgia’s potent rushing attack to just 141
Antonio Morrison is the team’s top tackler with 67 stops. Dante Fowler Jr. has
40 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks and 11 QB hurries, and Bryan Cox Jr. and Alex
McCallister have 4.0 sacks apiece. Keanu Neal, who’s picked off three passes,
is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury.
The Vanderbilt offense is fresh off its best performance of the season in a
42-point, 524-yard performance against Old Dominion, but the showing was not
enough to lift it out of the cellar in the SEC rankings (19.9 ppg, 295.2 ypg).
The Commodores’ quarterbacks have been a nightmare this season, with four
players combining to throw more interceptions (12) than touchdowns (11) on
52.4 percent completions. Johnny McCrary was able to buck the trend for one
week at least with an outstanding performance against ODU (20-of-29, 281
yards, five TDs), giving him eight touchdowns to four picks on the year.
The modest receiving corps is anchored by Steven Scheu (28 receptions, 368
yards, two TDs) and C.J. Duncan (25 receptions, 416 yards, four TDs).
Ralph Webb is one of the busiest running backs in the SEC with 169 carries, a
workload that has resulted in 760 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense hasn’t been put in great positions by the struggling offense, but
the unit has still not lived up to its end of the bargain in surrendering 32.2
ppg and 403.6 ypg.
Nigel Bowden has registered a team-best 68 tackles. Caleb Azubike is a solid
pass rusher with 6.0 TFL and 4.0 sacks and Taurean Ferguson has two of the
team’s four interceptions.
Whether or not Florida can turn things around in the last month of the season
to make an improbable run at an SEC Eastern Division title remains to be seen,
but even on the road, it shouldn’t have much of a problem dismissing the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida 34, Vanderbilt 17