Vanderbilt Report Card: Florida

Vanderbilt was dominated by unranked Florida 34-10 on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium.'s Don Yates grades the Commodores' performance in several key team areas.

Early on it looked promising after Steven Scheu caught a 33-yard pass for a touchdown from Johnny McCrary to give Vandy an early 7-0 lead. However, from that point on McCrary would only complete 11-of-30 passes for 107 yards and two interceptions (over 3 1/2 quarters). Johnny Mac finished the game going 14-of-35 for 160 yards and the TD. Patton Robinette was used sparingly for two running plays until late game was out of reach. Robinette, who was fully cleared by doctors to play over two weeks ago, completed 7-of-10 passes for 65 yards. Latevius Rayford led the team in catches with seven for 44 yards. Davis Dudchock and Steven Scheu each had five catches. Vandy's blockers didn't allow a sack all evening. McCrary's quickness had a lot to do with that. However, McCrary seemed to have problems throwing accurately under pressure. Many of his passes were way off the mark.

Florida has a tough rushing defense and the Gators flexed their muscles on Saturday night. Vanderbilt finished with just 83 yards rushing. Virtually all of those came from Ralph Webb. Webb was on pace to have a 100 yard game against his hometown team but back-to-back fumbles in the second quarter ruined those plans. One fumble was just Webb dropping the ball while the other was jarred loose by a Gator defender. It was uncharacteristic of Webb who is normally a reliable carrier. Dallas Rivers was used on the succeeding drive after the two fumbles and was stuffed by the Gator defense. Jerron Seymour, who scored three TDs in Gainesville last season, never saw the field.

Vanderbilt allowed freshman quarterback Treon Harris to complete 13-of-21 passes for 215 yards, no interceptions and no touchdowns. Quinton Dunbar caught four passes for 97 yards including a long catch of 60 yards. The Commodores gave up way to many wide open, uncontested catches. Vandy did get some pressure on Harris with sacks by Stephen Weatherly and Adam Butler but it wasn't enough.

Florida gained 214 yards on 50 carries (4.3 YPG. Matt Jones was the Gators top rusher carrying 17 times for 82 yards (4.8 YPC). The QB Harris was the killer though, gaining 49 yards on 10 carries (4.9 YPC) including a 33-yard back breaking run. Vandy did have a goal line stand where they stuffed a couple of UF runs back-to-back. They would have had another one if not for an official just assuming that Florida had scored a TD. Yes, Vandy gave up the 214 yards but if not for the offense's pitiful four turnovers that number would have been far less.

Tommy Openshaw made a 48-yard field goal in the second half. That was the longest field goal of his young career. Colby Cooke averaged 41.5 yards a punt with a long of 52 yards. On one of the kickoffs from Florida Vanderbilt nearly turned the ball over when the Gators attempted a quasi squib kick which one of the Vandy coverage players attempted to catch reaching high above his head, unsuccessfully. Luckily Vandy was able to cover the ball. Vanderbilt kickoff coverage unit gave up way too many yards. Seemed the Gators started every drive near the 35.

The team looked solid early on but those Webb fumbles were killers. You can't really blame coaching on that. Webb hadn't fumbled yet this season. The first one Webb just dropped inexplicably. I think after the Gators realized that Webb could fumble they targeted him and jarred the ball loose on his second fumble. In the end the coaches are responsible for anything good or bad a player they coach does. Not sure why Patton Robinette wasn't inserted for McCrary earlier. Robinette was sure pulled quickly against Temple. At least go to him at the beginning of the fourth quarter and give the team a chance. Robinette is still the most accurate throwing quarterback on the team by far (71.4%) and is the only Vandy QB to lead the Commodores to a win over the Gators in the past 25 years. Vanderbilt again was called for a penalty for too many players on the field.

This was an ugly loss. Remember, Vandy dominated this team last year in the Swamp. The team made some good plays early on but the defense basically was on the field for the entire second quarter because of the fumbles and that made it easier for Florida's mediocre offense in the second half. The turnover margin in this game was just too much for the 'Dores to overcome. Hopefully in the bye week the Commodore offense will work on ball security while the defense is working on generating turnovers. They are going to need to improve in that area of they want to stay on the field against No. 1 (presently) Mississippi State next week.

Discuss this story with other Vandy fans in the VandyMania forums: