Commodores Drop Contest at No. 20 Florida

Vanderbilt falls at No. 20 Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida quarterback Emory Jones threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns and the 20th-ranked Gators ran away from Vanderbilt 42-0 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday.

Vandy (2-4, 0-2 SEC) trailed just 21-0 at halftime and had knocked on the scoring door multiple times, but the Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) left no doubt over the final 30 minutes. Florida scored three touchdowns in less than seven minutes to start the third quarter to put the result out of reach for the visitors.

Vanderbilt quarterback Ken Seals threw for 192 yards. The sophomore, however, was picked off twice. Chris Pierce, Cam Johnson, Will Sheppard and Devin Boddie each had four receptions for Vandy while Patrick Smith rushed for 75 yards.

The Commodores will remain on the road next week when they travel to South Carolina (3-3, 0-3 SEC) at 3 p.m. CT Saturday.

After Vanderbilt’s first offensive drive Saturday at Florida went 3-and-out, the Gators scored on a 1-yard run by Dameon Pierce at the 11:16 mark. An eight-play, 78-yard drive was highlighted by a 34-yard run by Nay’Quan Wright.

Florida’s second touchdown came via a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Ja’Quavion Fraziars. That play capped a seven-play, 49-yard drive in a little more than 2 1/2 minutes.

Vanderbilt’s defense showed some life at the end of the opening period by getting an Elijah McAllister interception. But the ensuing possession ended with a 39-yard field goal going off the left upright no good.

The Commodores’ defense held Florida to 17 yards and two punts and forced that interception over the course of three drives to keep Vandy within striking distance. But a Seals pass with 5:04 left until halftime was picked out of the air by Gators linebacker Daquan Newkirk.

Three plays later Jones found Trent Whittemore on a 9-yard touchdown pass putting Florida up 21-0.

Vanderbilt showed some more resiliency and put together a 75-yard drive that took nearly 3 1/2 minutes off the clock. On the 13th play of that drive, a fourth-down call at the 2, Seals lobbed a ball into the left side of the end zone to Pierce that appeared to be a touchdown – but officials overruled the call and termed it an incomplete catch.

Thus, Florida took a 21-0 lead into the halftime break.

Vandy totaled 200 yards of offense, averaged 9.3 yards per completion and was 5 of 11 on third down in the first half, but two missed field goals, an interception and a turnover on downs were major factors in the scoreless first half.

Florida began the second half by using a fake punt run to keep a drive alive. Jones then hit Pierce on a 61-yard touchdown pass putting the Gators ahead 28-0.

Jones’ fourth touchdown pass of the day, a 25-yarder to Jacob Copeland less than two minutes later, made it a 35-0 lead for Florida. A Pierce 1-yard plunge coming on the heels of Seals’ second pick of the day made it 42-0 with 8:46 left in the quarter.

That proved to be the final margin.

• McAllister’s interception was the first of his career.

Dashaun Jerkins registered his first career interception in the third quarter.

• Seals now ranks ninth in Vanderbilt history with 300 career completions and ninth for passing yards by a sophomore with 1,086.

• Vandy has recorded multiple interceptions in consecutive games for the first time since the 2018 season.

• The Commodores have been outscored 76-13 in the first quarter this season.

• Vanderbilt trails the all-time series against Florida 43-10-2.

• The Commodores have dropped eight in a row to the Gators having last won 34-17 in 2013 in Gainesville. 

• Vandy has lost 15 SEC games in a row.

• Florida has outscored Vanderbilt 98-0 in the last two meetings at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

• Attendance was announced as 86,258.