Florida Gators: A First Look

The Vanderbilt Commodores host Florida on Saturday in Nashville. Here is a first look at the Gators.


The Gators opened the 2016 season with a 24-7 home victory over UMass. The following week Florida blasted Kentucky 45-7 in Gainesville in a game in which the Gators gained over 500 yards of offense and led 24-0 at the half. In the third week the Gators host the North Texas Mean Green and prevailed 32-0.  Florida limited North Texas to just 53 total yards on offense.  Last week in the much publicized Florida-Tennessee matchup the Gators built a 21-3 lead at the half but were outscored by the Vols 35-7 in the second half in a 38-28 loss.  


Florida has a ton of injuries with at least nine players listed as "questionable" for Saturday's game with Vandy. Starting players reported to be "questionable" for Vandy include DB Quincy Wilson and DL Jordan Sherit. Starting quarterback Luke Del Rio has been downgraded to "doubtful" for Vanderbilt as is starting defensive lineman Joey Ivie. Reserve players who could miss the Vanderbilt game include OL Tyler Jordan, WR Chris Thompson, DB Chris Williamson, LB Daniel McMillian, DB Jospeh Putu, WR Kalif Jackson and DB Kylan Johnson. Four players have already been ruled either out for the season or out indefinitely, these include LB Jeremiah Moon, WR Dre Massey, DB C.J. Williams, and OL Antonio Riles. 


Florida appears to be beaten up badly after their loss to UT on Saturday. The Commodores have an opportunity to pull a surprise on the Gators but they'll need the entire team and staff "all-in" for this game.  For whatever reason, Derek Mason, his staff and team have not been able to win back-to-back games since Mason has been at Vandy. It's hard to build momentum when you follow up every win with a loss. It'll be very tough to beat Florida but the Commodores must crack this nut sometime, why not on Saturday?  Vandy has played 3 of 4 games against gimmicky offenses. The Gators do not have a gimmicky offense but they do have a sound offense. Both the Vandy defense and offense will need to play complete games if the 'Dores are to down the swamp lizards. 

Vanderbilt has had little success against Florida. Since 1988 the Commodores are just 2-24 against the Gators.  However, Vandy won in Gainsville in 2013 34-17 for the first win over the Gators in that city since 1945, the year the series between the two teams got started. Some memorable games between the Gators and the Commodores include the 2005 game that ended in overtime with the Gators on top 49-42.  That was the game that featured the infamous celebration call on Earl Bennett. The 1996 game in Nashville was a very exciting game.  Vandy played the Gators, who would go on to win the National Championship, closer than any other team that season.  The 1982 game was another memorable matchup. Vandy prevailed 31-29 against the 14th ranked Gators. Offensive lineman Rob Monaco recovered a fumble for a touchdown to lead the 'Dores.  Titan's head coach Mike Mularkey played tight end for the Gators that year and caught a pass to score on a 2-point conversion attempt during the game. 

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