Suffocating defense key to Florida Gators win

The No. 10 Florida Gators (8-1, 6-1 SEC) came back to win a close homecoming contest against the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-6, 1-4 SEC) 9-7 off of the right leg of Austin Hardin.

The score is a pretty good synopsis of the game. It was ugly, boring and hardly the kind of film you would show to a young kid to help him learn the game, unless your son plays defense.

“We expected to be a dominant defense all summer, all offseason workouts we did, we felt like we could be a dominant defense,” defensive lineman Bryan Cox said. Today, we were.”

The Commodores ran 62 plays and Florida was nearly perfect the entire after noon. Gainesville native Ralph Webb broke open for a 74-yard touchdown run on a very well blocked play by the Vanderbilt front but other than that Florida was downright scary. Minus the lone scoring play of the day, Florida surrendered just 101 yards of offense on 61 plays. (1.65 yards per play.)

Vanderbilt’s offense is one of the worst in the SEC but the Gators didn’t leave anything to chance. The Commodores’ quarterback Johnny McCrary has struggled throwing interceptions this season so Derek Mason drew up a game plan that was centered on the rush. Vanderbilt attempted just four passes in the first half compared to 23 rushes. The Commodores didn’t complete a pass in the second or third quarter. Again, taking out Webb’s 74-yard touchdown run, Vanderbilt rushed the ball 47 times for 78 yards.

The Gators’ defense needed to be that good as the offense sputtered along, reaching the Vanderbilt side of the field 11 times on the day.

The Florida offense hasn’t looked his bad all season. This was Will Muschamp levels of offensive ineptitude but the defense was able to carry the team to a slim victory.

“It just shows we stick to it. We do what we gotta do, stick together as a team and anything is possible,” receiver Brandon Powell said. “That’s what we showed today. Everything didn’t go too well. Defense was playing good but offense wasn’t playing too good, but we still came out with a victory. It just shows when we’re all on the same page, we can be a great team.”

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. Nice outing by the defence. Being at the game Saturday, it felt closely like being at HC in 2013. It felt like we were playing with fire the whole game and almost got burned. With the spy and their defense living in the backfield Treon really didn’t have a chance. As a matter of fact, I do not know what QB would have. if a really good defense looks at Vandy’s strategy to keep Treon caged, what options do we have on offense. It was indeed ugly on Saturday.