NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No. 6 Florida scored 24 unanswered points Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium to defeat Vanderbilt 38-17.
The Gators (6-1, 6-1 SEC) trailed 10-7 early before building an insurmountable lead. Quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns for Florida.
Vandy entered the fourth quarter down 31-17 and had serious momentum when De’Rickey Wright recovered a Florida fumble with 14:25 to play. But a drive to the Florida 26 stalled and the Dores were forced to punt 4 1/2 minutes later.
On the ensuing possession, Emory Jones found tight end Kenmore Gamble on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 6:46 remaining to put the game to rest.
The Commodores return to Vanderbilt Stadium for their home finale at 6:30 p.m. Saturday against rival Tennessee (2-4, 2-4 SEC).
Vanderbilt came out firing in the opening minutes and went up 7-0 at the 10:50 mark. Quarterback Ken Seals (5-for-5 on the opening possession) hit Chris Pierce on 16-yard, third-down pass to give the Dores an early lead.
That marked the fourth straight game with a touchdown reception for Pierce.
Florida answered immediately with a 76-yard drive that lasted just less than three minutes. Trask found Kadarius Toney on a 27-yard, third-down pass to tie the score at 7-all.
Vandy retook the lead thanks to a Pierson Cooke 25-yard field goal that made it 10-7 with 2:45 left in the opening frame and that’s how the scoreboard would read going into the second.
The Gators tied it up with Evan McPherson’s 33-yard field goal at the 4:13 mark.
Florida then took the lead just before the break when Trask threw a jump ball for Trevon Grimes from 34-yards out making it 17-10. Vandy would settle for that deficit going into the break.
Vanderbilt had 209 yards of total offense in the first half and held Florida to 37 yards rushing. But Trask was 14 of 19 for 193 yards and two scores.
The Gators opened the second half with a long scoring drive on their opening offensive series. Dameon Pierce finished off a 75-yard drive that took up 5:13 with a 1-yard plunge that put Florida ahead 24-10.
Trask found Gamble six minutes later on a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the Gators a 31-10 lead with 2:55 to go in the third quarter.
Vandy (0-7, 0-7 SEC) needed just three plays to answer as Seals found Pierce on a 58-yard scoring strike. Pierce caught a long slant and broke multiple tackles on his way to the end drawing the Commodores within 31-17 going into the fourth quarter.
Seals finished 22 of 34 for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
• Saturday’s game marked the third time in program history the Commodores played on ABC. Vanderbilt appeared on the channel during the 2011 Liberty Bowl against Cincinnati and in 1981 at Georgia.
• Seals became the fifth Vanderbilt quarterback to have three or more 300-yard passing games in a season since 2000, joining Kyle Shurmur (2017), Austyn Carta-Samuels (2013), Jay Cutler (2005) and Greg Zolman (2001).
• Linebacker Anfernee Orji matched his career high in tackles with nine.
• Seals set a record for passing yards in a season by a freshman Vanderbilt quarterback with 1,610.
• Pierce has a receiving touchdown in four consecutive games, becoming the first Commodore to do so since Chris Boyd from Oct. 27-Nov. 17, 2012.
• Vanderbilt starting running back Keyon Henry-Brooks (injury) did not play Saturday.
• Florida now leads the all-time series 42-10-2 and has won seven in a row against the Commodores.
• Attendance on Saturday was announced as 1,147.