Nik's Commodore Keys – Florida

Three disappointing losses, capped off with a loss to lowly Duke is the situation that Vanderbilt (5-3, 3-2 SEC) finds themselves in this week. Things get a lot harder when #4 Florida (7-1, 5-1 SEC) waltzes onto Dudley Field on Saturday. The Gators have won 4 straight blowout victories against Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky, and Georgia.

The Dores face a tough test in Florida, and Vanderbilt must play a perfect game in order to win.  What is Vanderbilt's perfect game?

Shining Star

Mackenzie Adams and the rest of the Commodore offense looked stagnant against Duke, and Florida's defense is much better.  Vanderbilt must, no questions asked, have an excellent game from Mackenzie Adams this week.  Vanderbilt, after being +9 in the turnover margin in their first five games, have now lost or tied the turnover battle in each of the last four games.  Vanderbilt cannot turn the ball over against Florida.  With senior receiver George Smith likely out this week, Vanderbilt receivers Sean Walker, Jamie Graham, D.J. Moore, and Justin Wheeler need to step up and not drop any passes.  Adams must place his passes on target, and cannot afford to throw any more interceptions, such as the one that ended the Duke game.  Vanderbilt is 22/24 in the redzone this year, and they can ill afford to make a mistake there this week.  Senior kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt, after being spectacular in the first four games, has been off his mark ever since, and must get it together if Vanderbilt wants to win.  Vanderbilt is going to have to put up a lot of points this week. If Vanderbilt cannot score at least 28 points, they will not win the game.

"Special" Teams

As every Commodore fan knows, Vanderbilt's special teams are often less than stellar.  However, this year has proved different for the first part of the year.  Brent Upson has been spectacular punting this year, and he needs another solid outing.  D.J. Moore, who has had excellent punt and kick returns this year, will need to break a big one against the Gators if Vandy wants to win the game.  Florida has a lot of speed, and Vanderbilt has been suspect on kick-off returns this year.  If Vanderbilt can bottle up the Florida return game, they could put their defense in a great position to succeed. 

Anchor Down

Vanderbilt's defense has been excellent in the redzone this year, and has generally performed very well overall, even in high pressure situations.  However, Florida has many weapons, starting with reigning Heisman Winner, Tim Tebow.  Florida is tough to stop, especially in the redzone, where they are perfect so far.  Vanderbilt's defense must not only stop them from getting the ball over the goal-line, but they must stop them from getting in the redzone if they want to have a shot at victory.  D.J. Moore and the rest of the Commodore secondary must be ready for the speed of Florida's receivers.  The defensive line and linebackers must get better, and they must put pressure and sack Tebow.  One of the linebackers must spy Tebow and make sure he does not break off on a long run.


Florida leads all time series 30-9-2, including a 13-7-1 advantage in Nashville.

First Meeting: Vanderbilt 7 Florida 0 (1945)

Last Meeting: Florida 49 Vanderbilt 22 (2007 in Gainesville)

Last Meeting in Nashville: Florida 25 Vanderbilt 19 (2006 in Nashville)

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