Following a difficult loss in Kentucky, Florida’s first quarter response against Vanderbilt was important in Saturday’s homecoming contest. The Gators got off to a fast start and rode the momentum to a 42-0 win over the Commodores.
The Gators scored touchdowns on their first two drives to take a 14-0 lead through one period of play. RB Nay’Quan Wright led the charge for the offense on the first drive with a 34-yard gain that was initially called a touchdown, though overturned on video review. Dameon Pierce plunged in from one yard out.
Following a poor punt (6 yards) by Vandy P Harrison Smith, the Gators opened their second possession with excellent field position, ultimately scoring in eight plays.
The Florida defense again lived on a “bend but don’t break” mantra, allowing over 200 yards to a previously stagnant Vanderbilt offense. But, the Gators’ adjustments in the second half allowed to Commodores to finish with just 287 yards of offense.
Following a second quarter interception from Daquan Newkirk, Florida’s offense quickly marched down the field for another touchdown. A 51-yard reception by Weight set up the Emory Jones touchdown pass to Trent Whittemore to put Florida up 21-0.
The Gators made it 28-0 with their first drive of the second half as Jones found Pierce for a 61-yard touchdown reception.
The following Florida drive saw a pair of big passes to WR Jacob Copeland (47 yards and 25 yards) with the latter resulting in a score.
A Trey Dean interception set up another Gators touchdown as Pierce, yet again benefitted in the short yardage, goal line situation. Rick Wells came away with two catches on the possession for 29 yards.
Florida coasted through the fourth quarter allowing some of the depth of the team gain valuable experience.
For Florida, Saturday’s shutout was the first defensive shutout since November 2019 when they kept Vanderbilt off the scoreboard.
- Jones: 14-22, 273 yards, 4 TD, INT
- Jones: 5-40 8.0 AVG rushing
- Copeland: 5-79, TD receiving
- Wright: 7-46 rushing
- Torrence: 15 tackles (5 solo)
- Powell: 1.5 sacks
- 3rd down: 2-9
- Penalties: 8-80
Florida will take on LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The game is scheduled for a noon (eastern) kickoff from Tiger Stadium. The Tigers are currently 3-2 with a matchup against No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday, that hadn’t been completed prior to the publishing of this article.