2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 10, Vanderbilt at Florida
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Nov. 5 at Florida 26 … Vanderbilt 21
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida needed a huge performance from Jeff Demps to beat Vanderbilt and end a four-game losing streak.
Demps ran for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, shouldering the load because of Chris Rainey's ankle injury, and the Gators held off the Commodores 26-21 on Saturday.
The Gators now have won 21 in a row against Vanderbilt, extending their dominance in a series that has been one-sided since 1989.
The latest one was one of the closest in recent years.
Florida (5-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) led 17-0 at halftime and could have been up more had it not been for a missed field goal and a fumble at the goal line. But Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-5) scored on consecutive drives in the second half, cutting the lead to 20-14, and had a chance to move ahead.
It didn't happen. Florida took advantage of two penalties to keep a drive alive, and Demps went untouched for a 52-yard score with 2:13 remaining.
Jordan Rodgers' touchdown pass to Chris Boyd in the closing minutes made it 26-21, but Florida's Jordan Reed recovered an onside kick to seal the victory.
Rodgers, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, carved up Florida's secondary. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score.
Vandy's Jordan Matthews caught nine passes for 170 yards and a touchdown.
Demps was a one-man highlight reel for the Gators. He scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter, but saved his best play for last. He juked Kenny Ladler on a third-and-1 play and went the distance.
Florida's John Brantley was 16 of 24 passing for 173 yards, but he injured his right shoulder late in the fourth. Jacoby Brissett replaced him and finished out the game.
The biggest difference was penalties.
Florida, the most penalized team in the nation, was flagged three times for 17 yards. Vanderbilt was flagged 12 times for 106 yards. The last two were really crucial.
The Gators lined up to go for it on a fourth-and-1 play from their own 15-yard line. Trey Burton lined up under center, barked out cadences and got Rob Lohr to jump off sides.
Three plays later, Brissett rolled right and threw a pass up for grabs near the sideline. Sean Richardson was flagged for pass interference on the play, moving the chains and keeping the drive alive. Demps did the rest.
Florida won for the first time Sept. 24. The Gators, facing four consecutive ranked teams for the first time in school history, dropped games to Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia.
Vanderbilt (4-4) at Florida (4-4) Nov. 5, 12:21, SEC Network
Here’s The Deal … Florida continues to be the poster team for the anti-Boise State argument.
The SEC sort of stinks this year outside of the top two monsters, but still, Florida went 0-for-October losing to Alabama, at LSU, at Auburn, and last week in Jacksonville against Georgia, and now there’s little margin for error.
Did the Gators simply play a nasty slate, or are they not that good, or both? With a trip to South Carolina up next and a date with Florida State still to deal with a hiccup loss to Vanderbilt at home could potentially mean a losing season if the ship isn’t turned around in a hurry.
Injuries aren’t the only problem and not having QB John Brantley for a long stretch hasn’t been the only reason for the slide. The offense is lousy, turnovers are a major problem, and the defensive stats are strong mostly because of games against miserable offenses like Kentucky’s, Florida Atlantic’s, and UAB’s.
Vanderbilt has lost 20 straight games in the series since a 24-9 drubbing in 1988, and it hasn’t beaten Florida in Gainesville since 1945. This might be one of the best chances, though, with James Franklin’s team playing tough defense and with the emergence of Jordan Rodgers as a playmaking quarterback. The Commodores have lost four of their last five games, but they played Arkansas tough in the 31-28 loss last week. Three of the final four games are on the road, but there’s still time to get a bowl bid with a home date against Kentucky up next before closing out on the road at Tennessee and Wake Forest.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: The defense is good enough to keep the middling Gators under wraps. Not being able to move the ball with a backup quarterback against LSU and Alabama is one thing, and struggling against a strong Georgia D is another, but Brantley or no Brantley, hanging up six points against Auburn is inexcusable. The passing game isn’t clicking, the running game isn’t doing enough, and the attack has scored just 47 points in the last four games. The offensive line has had a hard time keeping the quarterbacks upright and it’s not doing much of anything to come up with a consistent ground attack. The Vanderbilt defensive line has been great at getting into the backfield and is allowing just 135 rushing yards per game.
The Florida defensive line stuffed Tennessee cold and held down Florida Atlantic, UAB, and Kentucky, but that’s been about it. Alabama and LSU each ran for over 200 yards, with the two teams combining for seven scores, and Georgia had some success last week when it needed to. Vanderbilt might not run like LSU or Auburn, but its ground game has kicked it in over the last three weeks with ten touchdowns and 767 yards.
Why Vanderbilt Might Win: It’s not like the Commodore offense is putting up points and yards in chunks. An explosion against Army aside, this isn’t a high-powered attack that’s going to hang 50 on the board. There’s little passing game, ranking 116th in the nation in efficiency, and this isn’t a team built to come up with big comebacks. The offensive line is good, but it’ll give up sacks and it’ll have a hard time keeping the Florida pass rush from hanging around in the backfield.
For all the problems and for all the issues the Gators are having, stopping the pass isn’t one of them. Seventh in the nation in pass defense, Florida gave up 288 yards to Tennessee’s Tyler Bray – but held the Vols to -9 rushing yards – and allowed 215 yards through the air against LSU. No one else has thrown for more than 170, and Vanderbilt isn’t going to suddenly start bombing away. This will quickly be a one-dimensional Commodore offense, and Florida’s athletes should be able to shine through to keep the ground attack in check.
What To Watch Out For: The Florida speedsters in the backfield just aren’t right. Chris Rainey suffered a sprained ankle against Georgia, and while he’ll play, he’s been non-existent in the past four games against the better defenses. After running for 100 yards or more in three straight games, he has gained 115 yards with no touchdowns on 45 carries over the last four games. He’s had a spotty career against Vanderbilt, failing to do much of anything over the first three matchups, but the team’s leading rusher has to start to add some pop and some life to the attack.
Running mate Jeff Demps has also been silenced since getting banged up – one long kick return against Georgia aside – with just 13 carries for 16 yards over the last four weeks after rushing for 157 yards and two scores against Kentucky. Like Rainey, he has yet to do much against the Commodores.
Jordan Rodgers has to be the best quarterback on the field for Vandy to have a chance. He threw for 240 yards against the Hogs last week and he’s been great running the ball with 256 yards over the last four games and three scores in the last two, but he’ll have to be accurate against the Gator secondary. Only 4-of-19 for 47 yards against Georgia, and only completing 49-of-105 passes with five picks on the year, consistency has been a problem.
What Will Happen: Vandy will catch the Gators sleeping. The Commodore defense will come up with four takeaways against a Florida offense that seems to live for giving the ball away, and it’ll be just enough to help out a Vandy attack that won’t put up big numbers, but will take advantage of every break to pull out the shocker.
CFN Prediction: Vanderbilt 20 … Florida 17
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Florida -13 O/U:
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