Florida football is back after the tough loss against rival Georgia last week. While their playoff hopes seem to be over, Gators still have a lot to play for.
The Gators are back on the field after having dropped two of their last three games. It was clear that this was the most difficult stretch of one of the toughest schedules in the country, getting a win over Auburn will help tremendously when it comes to New Year’s Six Bowl opportunities.
Their game against Georgia frustrated many fans, as the Bulldogs were able to dominate on third down and do enough to win the game. Jake Fromm had one of his best games of the season, and the Gators seem to be just a small tier below the top of the SEC.
They take on Vanderbilt, who besides upsetting Missouri two weeks ago, have been one of the worst power five teams in the country. They’ve been blown out by Ole Miss and Purdue, and don’t have much to play for at this time of the season, as it seems nearly impossible for this team to get bowl eligible by the end of the season.
The Commodores also come into this game with Deuce Wallis, the team’s third-string quarterback, set to take over the and start. That is not a great sign for a team with the no. 115 ranked offense in the country, and the third-worst team on third down in the country.
Here’s how to watch:
Date: Saturday, Nov. 9
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Venue: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Keys to Victory
For the Gators, the keys to victory, don’t beat yourself. Vanderbilt’s talent can’t be on the same field as yours, so it’s imperative to take care of the ball and finish drives with touchdowns, something Kyle Trask has been able to do well since taking over at quarterback.
Kyle Pitts should have a big game in this one as a red zone target, expect Trask to go back to his top target often in this one.
Defensively, the third down defense has to be better. The Commodores will never be mistaken for Georgia or LSU, but the Gators third down defense has fallen all the way to No. 73 in the country. That has to be better. Against Vanderbilt, the goal will be forcing their third-string quarterback into third and long opportunities, and limiting Ke’shawn Vaughn. Vaughn is the one player on the offense that can change the game, and the best way to limit a good running back is force obvious pass situations, and take an early lead.
For Vanderbilt, the keys to victory in is leaning on Vaughn. He may need a career level performance to pull off the upset, but he has the skill to lead the Commodores. If they can have long, sustained drives, then they’ll be in it to the end.
This game has all the makings of a blowout. Florida will come into this one angry after losing to their bitter rival and will take it to Vanderbilt at home early and often.
While many Gator fans may think there isn’t much left to play for after losing a realistic chance at the College Football Playoff, the Gators can still play for a New Years Six bowl, and have the head-to-head matchup advantage over Auburn — 10-2 with this record is a successful season, and a way for Dan Mullen to continue to build this program.
Final Score: Florida 37 Vanderbilt 7