Passing Offense: C+
Chris Boyd started the 'Dores off well when he made a nice adjustment inside on a 37-yard reception from quarterback Jordan Rodgers. On third-and-6, Rodgers hit Jordan Matthews, who went up over junior safety Matt Elam for a 10-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
Grady caught a 6-yard pass but was stopped one yard short the first down. Later in the drive, on third-and-8, Rodgers connected with Matthews who was pushed out of bounds two yards short of the first down.
On third-and-6, Rodgers connected with Matthews for a 15-yard gain and a first down nearing field goal range. Two plays later, the 'Dores sent three Vandy receivers in formation from left to right and Rodgers hit Matthews again for a 15-yard gain and a first down. Rodgers tried to roll towards the sideline but was caught by Josh Evans immediately for a 14-yard loss.
Rodgers had Wesley Tate open but underthrew him. On the next play, pressure resulted in a forced fumble recovered by Florida at the Vandy 14-yard line.
After hitting Matthews down the sideline for a 9-yard pass on third down, Rodgers had a pass intercepted by Florida linebacker Jon Bostic but caught a break when a holding penalty on Florida negated it.
Down 24-14, Rodgers connected on a long, 53-yard pass to Matthews who managed to beat Roberson to the ball despite a pass interference. On third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Rodgers had Stacy open but the senior tailback was unable to hold on--dropping a perfectly thrown ball that would have tied it--forcing a Vandy field goal.
Rodgers was 17 for 31 for 237 yards passing and a score. Matthews led the team with 8 receptions for 131 yards receiving and a score.
Vandy got tight end Steven Scheu involved, the freshman caught a season-high 3 receptions for 21 yards.
Rushing Offense: B
After being forced three and out on their first drive, some shifty running by Stacy gave the 'Dores an 8-yard gain. Stacy followed it up with a 7-yard rush, softening up the Florida secondary for Rodgers and Matthews.
On his first carry of the second half, Stacy pulled Florida defenders along with him for a gain of 5 yards. Later on third-and-3 Rodgers managed to gain 5 yards for the first down on a keeper. In the wildcat formation, a direct snap to Stacy went for a score but Jordan Matthews was caught holding on the play.
Tate cut through Florida defenders for a gain of 20 yards and was one player away from taking it all the way. On the same drive he showed off his strength, pushing Gator defenders forward for extra yards.
After a Rodgers interception called back for defensive holding, on third-and-8, Stacy was able to work his way through defenders for 9 yards and a first down.
Stacy put his head down with junior fullback Fitz Lassing lead blocking and cut it back inside for a 1-yard touchdown run. The touchdown was the first fourth quarter points the Gators have allowed all season.
The offensive line was equally impressive, finding space for their Tate and Stacy to run.
Stacy was impressive all night, wiggling his way through Florida defenders for positive yardage. The senior tailback finished with 86 yards rushing on 24 carries and a score.
Tate ran with a vengeance, tallying 66 yards on 10 carries.
Passing Defense: B
Vandy did not allow a pass longer than 21 yards throughout the night. Driskel connected on a four passes in the Gators last drive near the end of the first half and ran for 38 more yards on two carries. Vandy defenders were sucked inside but replay evidence showed Andre Hal tackled Gillislee in the backfield for a loss.
Javon Marshall got there just a little too early when Driskel tried to connect with Gator tight end Tevin Westbrook in the end zone. The result was the Gator ball at the Vandy 2-yard line.
Safety Kenny Ladler forced a fumble on Omarius Hines but Gillislee was able to recover it; the junior finished with 7 tackles. Trey Wilson reacted perfectly to a screen pass to Jordan Reed to force a third-and-7.
Vandy's only turnover of the night put the defense back on the field with the Gators starting on the 14-yard line. On third-and-7, Marshall crossed over the middle and had an interception but was unable to hold on and the Gators kicked a field goal.
Vandy held Driskel to 11 for 20 for 77 yards passing.
Rushing Defense: F
Mike Gillislee was limited from the start of the game; Vandy held the senior running back to 67 yards on 17 carries. The price the 'Dores paid for was Driskel was able to run with ease. On 11 carries, the sophomore quarterback ran for 177 yards rushing and 3 scores.
A play action pass completely sucked in the Vanderbilt defense, Driskel rolled out with no Vandy defender coming close to him for a 37-yard touchdown. Florida then got the two conversion to take an 8-7 lead. Karl Butler had a nice 4-yard sack to force a third-and-10 that resulted in a Florida punt.
Outside containment was an issue as Driskel continually was able to find room to run down the sideline throughout the night. The 'Dores bit hard on play action and Driskel punished them for it. Driskel faked a handoff and broke off for a 70-yard run to put Florida back up 30-17 with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Florida totalled 326 yards rushing on the night.
Senior linebacker Archibald Barnes led Vandy with 12 tackles.
Special Teams: F
On his second punt return, Matthews was drilled by Loucheiz Purifoy who was called for catching interference to give the Vandy some good field position on their second drive that went for a score. After their first score, the Gators tricked Vandy when Clay Burton was able to get in the end zone for a two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead.
A Richard Kent punt--tacked on with a personal foul penalty on Florida--started the Gators out on the 6-yard line in the second quarter. Kent was fantastic in the first half, pinning the Gators on their 9, 6, and 12 yard-line.
Carey Spear's first field goal attempt of the night was blocked and recovered by Florida at 38-yard line at the end of Vandy's opening second half drive. It was a major blow to not come up with points at the end of a 56-play drive that took 10:29 off the clock.
On Florida's first possession of the second half they faked a punt and Solomon Patton was able to run 54 yards down the side line to the Vandy 3-yard line. Kimbrow attempted to take a pair of kickoffs out of the end zone and managed gains of 17 and 20 yards. Debose bounced off Vandy tacklers for a 60-yard kick return to give the Gators field position.
Carey Spear made a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to 24-17 but Florida scored on the very next play to take a 14-point lead. Special teams mistakes would haunt Vandy and turn into Florida points all through the night.
One of the great play calls of the night was a reverse to Josh Grady that was set up by multiple rollouts by Rodgers. Grady's pass to Boyd fell incomplete but a pass interference call gave the 'Dores a first down.
Though they didn't work often, the coaches continued to call plays that got Rodgers on the move. A sack on the end of the first drive backed them up 14 yards when Rodgers was chased down.
After the game head coach Frankin talked about the Commodores defensive play.
"We put too much emphasis on stopping their running back that we overcompensated and were susceptible to a big run by the quarterback," said Franklin.
It would be a familiar scene throughout the night, a fake hand would suck in the Vandy secondary and Driskel would take off down a sideline. Though Vandy was able to hold Gillislee to 67 yards rushing, Driskel was able to move the chains for first downs seven times for the Gators.
The offense has definitely improved as Vandy was able to gain 363 total yards and outgain the Gators 23-15 in first downs.
Vandy came out strong, took a 7-0 lead, and forced the Gators to punt on their first three possessions. Florida caught Vandy unprepared after their first score when Trey Burton found his way in to put the Gators up 8-7. Vandy was able to force a three-and-out on Florida's next possession but was forced to punt after a 9-yard sack on Rodgers backed them up.
It looked like Florida was sure to get in the end zone when they were as far as the Vandy 2-yard line on first-and-goal. However, on third-and-goal a quick screen to Omarius Hines was broken up by Walker May to force a Gator field goal. Vandy went into halftime outgained 221-94 in total yardage. Jeff Driskel was 10 for 17 for 77 yards passing, but he hurt the 'Dores more with his feet running 7 times for 92 yards and a score in the first half.
In the second half after Carey Spear had a 44-yard field goal blocked, Florida caught the 'Dores on special teams again in the form of a fake punt that went 54-yards to the Vandy 3-yard line. Florida took advantage of a Rodgers fumble on the Vandy 20-yard line with a 29-yard field goal to take a 14 point lead. Vandy responded right away with an 11-play 75-yard drive that cut the lead to seven.
On the ensuing kickoff, Andre Debose to set the Gators up for another field goal. Rodgers and Matthews responded exceptionally well with a 53-yard pass complete despite a pass interference by Roberson. Stacy churned away and Carey Spear hit a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to 24-17. Driskel took the Gators next play 70 yards for a score to seal the game at 31-17.
Poor special teams play resulted in 18 Florida points. For example, the Rodgers fumble resulted in a Gator field goal. Take away even half of those errors and this is a completely different ball game.
The Commodores' three game home stand continues on Saturday with an Auburn team desperate for their first conference win.
Vanderbilt report card: Florida
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