#23 Florida Gators (3-1) @ Vanderbilt Commodores (2-2)
Saturday October 1, 2016; 12:00 P.M.
Nashville, Tennessee; Vanderbilt Stadium
TV: SEC Network
Five Things Gators Need vs. Vanderbilt
Florida is anywhere between a 10 point to 11.5 point favorite as we approach kickoff in Nashville. A look at the statistics and you would think the odds would be much more significant. But, the Vanderbilt motto is play it close to the vest and don’t let any easy ones get away.
For Florida to win the way Gator fans want, they need to do these things.
Win the turnover margin… Vanderbilt is first in the conference in turnover margin. The Commodore offense has only turned the ball over three times in four games. They have collected nine turnovers. They keep everything in front of them and wait for you to make a mistake. Florida can afford to be even in turnovers, but field position could be important, don’t give them a cheap field position series as the Commodores are tied for the conference lead in red zone efficiency.
Hit the big play… We’ve certainly seen more big plays from Florida this year than we have in recent years in this short amount of time. It seems almost contrary to my previous point, but in this instance, the Gators need to win a few one-on-one battles and score. McElwain has seen some of it, but he would like more. Vanderbilt’s defense is last in the conference in pass defense giving up 274 yards per game. Likewise they are 11th in run defense giving up 178 yards per game. But, the Vandy defense has given up only two passing plays over 33 yards in their four games and the longest running play was 29 yards. The Gators need to break a couple in this one.
Slow down Ralph Webb… The Commodore running back is second in the SEC in rushing with 118 yards per game. The Commodores only average 148 a game, so slowing him down will really halt the Vandy offense. Webb is one of those guys that just keeps coming and against Florida he will want to do like he did a year ago where he just kept working it and working it until he busted a long run for a touchdown in the near upset of the Gators.
Take the touchback… Vandy is second in the SEC in kickoff coverage. Florida has not shown the ability to return kickoffs worth a flip. The Gators don’t want to find themselves in a hole to start a series after kickoff, so go ahead and take the touchback on the kickoff and not risk the chance of being pinned close to their own goal line.
Play their game… In the end, Florida needs to stay away from penalties and just let the game come to them. They are the better team. They have the better athletes. This is a team offensively that is still growing in different ways every time they are out there. The big plays are coming a little more often, but don’t press for that, just make a play when it is there. Defensively, play sound, don’t over-pursue, play aggressively, but play smart.
This is one of those games where the Florida offense could rack up 500 yards and hit the end zone only 2-3 times. Vanderbilt just plays that way. The Gators will get plenty of chances because the Vanderbilt offense won’t stay on the field much. In the end I think the gators keep the Dores out of the end zone but allow a couple of field goals. I think the Gators break a couple of big plays and hit pay dirt a few times. PREDICTED FINAL SCORE…. Gators 24 Commodores 6
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