After suffering an embarrassing and season-ruining loss at Kentucky last week, the No. 20 Gators and their fans desperately needed a blowout win over lowly Vanderbilt on Saturday to give them something to feel good about again.
They got it, though it wasn’t pretty at times. Florida defeated Vanderbilt, 42-0, in the Swamp on Homecoming. It was UF’s 30th win over the Commodores (2-4, 0-2 SEC) in the last 31 meetings.
Here is our instant recap.
How the game was won
This game was basically over before it started. Vanderbilt is one of the worst teams in the Power Five conferences.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Commodores’ opening drive, UF went on an 8-play, 78-yard jaunt. Emory Jones connected with Trent Whittemore for 32 yards down the right sideline, and Nay’Quan Wright ripped off a 34-yard run.
Dameon Pierce punched it in from a yard out to open the scoring.
Another stop by Florida’s defense resulted in a 6-yard shanked punt by Harrison Smith.
Jones kept the ensuing drive alive by scrambling for 16 yards on fourth-and-1. He later connected with Ja’Quavion Fraziars for a 5-yard touchdown on a play-action pop pass.
Florida played sloppy for large portions of the game after that, but they were never threatened.
Player of the Game
Nay’Quan Wright/Dameon Pierce
With Malik Davis unavailable due to a presumed injury, Pierce and Wright were a two-man show at running back.
Wright finished with seven carries for 46 yards and two catches for 57 yards. He broke off a 34-yard run and hauled in a 51-yard pass. On both plays, he made multiple defenders miss and ran through contact for extra yards.
Meanwhile, Pierce scored a combined three touchdowns, including a 61-yard catch-and-run.
Pierce and Wright’s combination of speed and power was too much for Vanderbilt’s overmatched defense to contain.
Play of the Game
On second-and-10 from the Vandy 35 on UF’s first drive of the game, Wright took the handoff and sprinted through a gigantic hole up the middle. After about 15 yards, he put his foot in the ground and bounced to the outside.
He ran through a couple of defenders at around the 10-yard line and dove for the end zone. He was initially ruled in for a touchdown, but replay showed that he went out of bounds inside the 1.
Still, it was one of the most impressive individual efforts by a Gator this season.
Stat of the Game
273 yards/four touchdowns
Jones established new career highs in passing yards and passing touchdowns in just three quarters.
He was far from perfect, as he missed some reads and some throws, but he piled up the stats like you’d expect against a team like Vanderbilt.
Florida (4-2, 2-2) travels to LSU next Saturday to take on the Tigers (3-2, 1-1) at noon. The game will be broadcast by either CBS or ESPN, with the television network announcement coming on Sunday.
UF leads the all-time series 33-31-3, but the Tigers have won eight of the last 11 meetings, including last year’s game in the Swamp where a thrown shoe infamously played a huge factor in the outcome.