During the 2013 season where losses were so frequent that they almost lost some sting, the Gators saw a historic streak fall. It was their fourth straight loss during a season that ended with seven straight losses, but it also snapped Vanderbilt’s 22-game losing streak to Florida.
For the Florida players, the memories won’t go away any time soon. Florida wide receiver Valdez Showers recalled watching fans stream out of the stadium during the fourth quarter as Vanderbilt ran the clock out in their 34-17 win.
“It was ugly,” Showers said. “I just watched the film the next day, learned from it and kept moving, but it definitely was an ugly game, and I don’t want to see that happen again. We kind of all look up. We look into the stands and nobody coming out to support us, (we’re) losing. That’s a bad feeling. We feel like we let (the fans) down, too. We definitely don’t want that to happen again.”
It was especially low for linebacker Antonio Morrison, who was midway through his sophomore season. The linebacker tore his meniscus on the second play of the game but ended up playing through the injury, finishing with a team-high 10 tackles.
As Morrison tried to recall memories from that homecoming game, it was easy to see the frustration building on his face.
“I just remember losing, that was like the first time we lost – I don’t know how many years – that we lost to that team,” Morrison said. “It was a real hurtful in the locker room. I was just bad. It’s just bad to even try to remember that.”
There’s a member of the Florida roster that was on the Vanderbilt roster that day. Josh Grady wasn’t playing that season after he tore his ACL, but he was on the Vanderbilt team and splitting time between quarterback and receiver before the injury. After the 2014 season, Grady had his degree from Vanderbilt and was eligible as a post-graduate transfer. Needing bodies at the quarterback position, Grady came to Florida and currently serves as the backup quarterback behind Treon Harris.
After growing up a Florida fan in Tampa but leaving Armwood High School without a Florida offer, he signed with Vanderbilt. The lead up to the Florida game that season was filled with talk in Nashville about the Commodores having a chance to end the streak. When they did, the excitement was hard for Grady to forget.
“It was great,” Grady said. “Beating Florida, I think a lot of guys here don’t understand that beating Florida is like winning the Super Bowl for every other team. It was one of the greatest feelings I’ve had. Being from Florida I was able to say we beat the Florida Gators. Now we’re definitely reaching for something better than that to seal the deal on the SEC East.”