Rough Start Hands Vandy Fourth Loss

The Vanderbilt Commodores fell short of their sixth win for the fourth straight time Saturday night with a 42-14 loss to the fourth ranked Florida Gators. Vandy did exactly what they had hoped to avoid by digging themselves a 21-0 hole at the end of the first quarter.

The Dores ran into a Florida offense that is clicking on all cylinders. "They executed really well, but they have some outstanding athletes and it's hard to match up. We had six defensive backs in the game and we still had trouble matching up on pass plays. They have quality receivers for every play. One time Percy Harvin is on the weak side, next time he is on the strong side. When you have that many weapons, you can get those match-ups and they win those match-ups. Obviously we could have played better; we could have tackled better. That was the most disappointing thing to me all night. That's where it starts. If you can't tackle, you won't get a chance to play against those great athletes," Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson said after the game.

The only way to stop the Florida offense is to keep them off the field by sustaining long drives. The Commodores were not able to do that early in the game. They did not get a first down until just under three minutes left to go in the second quarter. The score was already 28-0 Florida at that point.

Another key to stopping the Gators is not giving them a short field. Florida scored five touchdowns in the first half. Only one of those five touchdown possessions started deeper than the Florida 40 yard line. The Gators' third touchdown came after an interception thrown by Mackenzi Adams that gave them the ball at the Vanderbilt 32 yard line. Their fourth touchdown came after they blocked a Brett Upson punt at the Vandy 24 yard line.

The Dores showed a lot of heart in the second half. It would have been really easy for them to just give up because they were down by 35 points, but they played hard until the final whistle. Chris Nickson came off the bench in relief and an injured Adams and led the Black and Gold on two touchdown drives. "I think we did well. I think we finally stopped making stupid mistakes and started moving the football. I think the coaches kind of settled in on what we wanted to do. I think we moved the football pretty well in the first half, but we just had crazy penalties hurting ourselves. In the second half, we came out and executed our plays, eliminated the penalties and just moved the football the way we know we can," Nickson said after the game.

Nickson's play in the second half, 7 of 14 for 67 yards and 2 touchdowns, is going to make for another week of uncertainty at the quarterback position.

It is important for the Commodores to put this game behind them and get ready for the Kentucky Wildcats next Saturday. Vanderbilt has a very realistic chance to win their last three games which would give them eight wins on the season, but they will not be able to get their if they dwell on this loss.

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