Three Keys Revisited: Vanderbilt vs. Florida

Another potential upset against a top five team slipped past Vandy on Saturday as they were unable to hang with the Gators down the stretch. Once again though there were plenty of signs that it is only a matter of time before the Commodores finally take down one of the top SEC powers. Here is a look back at how the keys played out in Nashville.

Another potential upset against a top five team slipped past Vandy on Saturday as they were unable to hang with the Gators down the stretch. Once again though there were plenty of signs that it is only a matter of time before the Commodores finally take down one of the top SEC powers. Here is a look back at how the keys played out in Nashville.

1) Spring the trap

Through one half of football Vanderbilt did enough to make the sellout crowd in Nashville think that this could be the first win over a top five team in the last 47 attempts. The Commodores went blow for blow with the Gators and were doing all the little things right to keep the game close enough to spring an upset late. Then, in the first ten minutes of the third quarter it all unraveled.

When playing against Florida you simply cannot have a 57-yard touchdown run called back for a hold. Bad call or no bad call it just cannot happen. You also HAVE to win the special teams battle to pull off an upset and a string of plays which involved a blocked field goal and converted fake punt against you will ruin that aim quickly. These three plays are what ultimately took Vandy off course from a potential signature win.

2) Stop the run

I guess an optimist would look at this and say that the 'Dores half did their job on this one. Coming into the game it was obvious to all that stopping Mike Gillislee would be hugely important for Vandy to have a chance and by and large the defense did that, holding Gillislee to just 67 yards. The problem was that the Commodore defense was so focused on Gillislee that quarterback Jeff Driskel was given the freedom of Tennessee to run the ball. Time after time on bootlegs and option read plays Driskel was left free by the scheme to go untouched for huge chunks of yardage. Missed reads and a lack of adjustments from the coaching staff allowed this one get away.

3) Run the ball

Vandy did a decent job of running the ball against the Gators defense. Zac Stacy was the workhorse once again and his 24 carry 86 yard performance set the groundwork for everything the offense wanted to do. His stats would have looked even better if the 57-yard run wiped out for a hold had stood. The Commodores would probably have liked to get more out of Jordan Rodgers in the run game though as he was harassed all day by the Florida defensive line. His long run for the game was just five yards, not enough to keep the defense off balance.

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