Vanderbilt Report Card: Florida

Vanderbilt defeated Florida 34-17 on Saturday in Gainesville. It was the first road win over the Gators since 1945. VandyMania.com's Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

PASSING OFFENSE: B
Patton Robinette wasn't asked to pass much in this game but was adequate the twelve times he did throw. Then again, maybe the great field position that Vandy repeatedly was presented with had something to do with the amount of Robinette's passes. Four of Vandy's possessions started at the UF 22 or closer. Amazingly, three of those four started at the UF 10 or closer. We'll take that any day! Robinette completed 6-of-12 passes for 57 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The redshirt freshman made a nice pass to Jordan Matthews on the first Commodore offensive series of the game to gain 13 yards and a statement making first down for the Commodores. Robinette found Matthews again late in the third quarter when it looked like Florida might make a run. Facing a third and 19 at the Vandy 16, Robinette laced a 23-yard pass to Matthews for a first down at the Vandy 39. The Commodores went on to score a touchdown on that drive to virtually lock up the win. In all Matthews caught five passes for 45 yards but the vast majority of his receiving yardage came on those two important catches. Trent Pruitt caught one pass for 12 yards. It was Pruitt's second catch of the season. Pruitt also had a catch in the win over Georgia. Vandy blockers allowed Florida two sacks of Robinette.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B
Vandy only rushed for 126 yards in 44 attempts but that was far more than the Gators gained in the game. Jerron Seymour didn't run wild, his longest run was for only 12 yards. However, Seymour was effective especially in the red zone. Scoring on a 10 yard run in the first quarter to give Vanderbilt a 10-0 lead. Later, in the third quarter, Seymour struck again on a 2-yard scamper. That score gave the Commodores a 2-touchdown lead at 17-3. Early in the final quarter the jitterbug junior scored his third touchdown on the home state Gator team, this time from one yard. Seymour wasn't the only Commodore to strike pay dirt against Florida. Robinette scored on a five yard run in the second quarter. Seymour finished with 62 yards on 14 carries (2.6 YPC). Brian Kimbrow played well in gaining 38 yards on 11 carries (3.5 YPC). Robinette finished with 26 yards on nine carries. He had the longest run of the game was a run for 19 yards during the Commodores' opening drive which resulted in a field goal.

PASSING DEFENSE: A
With little success running the ball and because they trailed most of the game, the Gators were forced to put the ball in the air. Vandy's defense harassed quarterback Tyler Murphy throughout the game sacking him five times and getting countless other hurries. This pressure resulted in three interceptions all of which were returned deep into Gator territory and led to Commodore touchdowns. Andre Hal started the rash of Commodore picks in the first quarter returning an interception of Murphy to the Gator 10-yard line. In the second quarter Murphy was picked again, this time by Kenny Ladler who returned the ball to the Florida 22. In the third quarter Andrew Williamson picked off a Murphy pass and nearly had a pick six, returning the ball to the Gator 4. Then there were the sacks with defensive end Caleb Azubike getting two for 32 yards in losses. Incredibly one of those was for a 26-yard loss late in the fourth quarter. Walker May, Kyle Woestmann and Javon Marshall each also had a sack.

RUSHING DEFENSE: A
Vandy's defense allowed just 39 total rushing yards in 34 attempts for a measly average of only 1.1 yards per rushing attempt. Florida continually attempted to get its running game going but the Commodores met the challenge with continual stops at the point of attack. The longest run the Gators had during the game was for 10 yards. If you take away the five sacks of Murphy the Gator runners gained 93 yards on 29 rushing attempts for about 3.2 yards a carry. Javon Marshall led Vanderbilt with eight tackles and Darreon Herring had seven tackles. Herring was hurt during the game and hopefully he'll be okay. Chase Garnham returned after a seven game absence due to injury and had a pair of tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Vanderbilt's Carey Spear made 2-of-2 field goals during the game, both from 31 yards. Taylor Hudson had four punts for a 49.8 yard average. All of Hudson's punts went for at least 43 yards and the longest was for 53 yards. To give you an idea of what kind of day it was for Vandy, Hudson's second punt was stinker. Backed up to the VU 17, Hudson's punt went just 32 yards to the Vandy 49. However, a penalty was called on Florida and Hudson was able to re-punt and blasted a 53 yarder that put the Gators back at their own 25. Colby Cooke had one punt for 27 yards that was fair caught at the Gator 15. Darius Sims returned one kickoff for 13 yards. Vandy had no punt returns. Commodore return coverage teams allowed one Gator punt to be returned 25 yards. Another kickoff was returned 28 yards. Four of Carey Spear's seven kickoffs were touchbacks.

COACHING: A
James Franklin continues to do the improbable. Faced with the a tough four-game stretch that many experts believed would result in an 0-4 verdict, Vandy has pulled off two big wins over nemesis teams and positioned the program for a third straight bowl bid for the first time in program history.

OVERALL GRADE: A
It wasn't a picture perfect game but it was a clean game on Vandy's part. The offense took advantage of its red zone opportunities while the defense hounded the Gators all game and created turnovers. Several weeks ago many believed Vandy still had at least a shot at winning six and getting bowl eligible. Now it seems more likely that the team will repeat its nine win total of 2012.

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