Instant Analysis: Gators bounce back in a big way

Nov 9, 2019 | 0 comments

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After losing to Georgia in 2018, the Gators played their first home game in about a month against a Missouri team that they should’ve beaten. Instead, they seemed to wallow in their misery, as they put up very little fight in a blowout loss.

The No. 10 Gators faced a similar scenario on Saturday. After a disappointing loss to Georgia last week that all but ended their chances of winning the SEC East and contending for a playoff spot, they played their first home game in 35 days against a woeful Vanderbilt team.

This time, they bounced back and put the painful memories of last week behind them, slamming the Commodores (2-7, 1-5 SEC) 56-0.

Here is our Instant Analysis.

It Was Over When: This game was basically over before it started. The Commodores are one of the worst teams in the SEC, and the Gators simply had way too large of a talent advantage for them to have much of a chance.

Still, the Gators got off to a slow start. Despite outgaining Vanderbilt 152-14 in the first quarter, the game was scoreless thanks to a failed fourth-down conversion attempt and a Kyle Trask interception.

On the first play of the second quarter, Dan Mullen opted to roll the dice and go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The play didn’t unfold as intended, but Trask floated a two-hand touch pass to Lamical Perine for a one-yard touchdown pass.

Safety Donovan Stiner intercepted Deuce Wallace on the next possession, and Trask rushed for a nine-yard score on third-and-6.

It didn’t start off retty offensively, but UF blew the game open in the third quarter and coasted to victory.

They Stole the Show: UF got its running backs involved as receivers. Perine caught four passes for 28 yards and the touchdown, and Dameon Pierce made two receptions for 27 yards. Late in the first quarter, Pierce caught a pass, ran over a defender and dragged several more defenders for an 18-yard gain that set up the game’s first score.

Trask had an uneven game. He completed 25 of 37 passes for a career-high 363 yards and three scores but also threw two interceptions.

Freshman defensive end/linebacker Mohamoud Diabate entered the day with half a sack this season. He took advantage of Jabari Zuniga’s and Jeremiah Moon’s absences by recording two sacks in the first half and three for the game. His third sack led to an 80-yard scoop-and-score by Jonathan Greenard.

Freshmen cornerbacks Kaiir Elam, Chester Kimbrough and Jaydon Hill received extensive playing time throughout the game and played well.

Trevon Grimes turned in one of the best games of his career, as he caught four passes for 95 yards and a 66-yard touchdown.

Backup quarterback Emory Jones rushed for touchdowns of 13 yards, one yard and three yards.

Stiner recorded the first multi-interception game of his career. He leaped for the first one and returned it 29 yards, while the second one was thrown right at him.

The Stats Don’t Lie: This was a thorough butt-whooping by the Gators. They outgained the Commodores 560-128 including 410-77 through the air. UF averaged 8.1 yards-per-play, compared to 2.1 for VU. They gained 33 first downs, while Vanderbilt gained just 12.

A week after allowing Georgia to convert 12 of 18 third downs, the Gators held Vanderbilt to 3-15.

UF’s defense racked up six sacks and five tackles-for-loss, while the Commodores got to Trask just twice.

Florida couldn’t get the running game going in the first half but finished the game with 150 rushing yards at 5.2 yards-per-carry.

Oh What A Play: After Florida’s defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half, Trask fired a pass to Grimes on a short curl route. Tight end Kyle Pitts ran a post pattern and cleared out a lot of space for Grimes. Grimes made the catch, shook off a defender, tight-roped the sideline and raced ahead for a 66-yard score to extend the lead to 21-0.

These Matchups Proved Key: UF enjoyed advantages all over the field. In particular, the wide receivers had a field day against the Commodores’ secondary. The Gators passed for more than 400 yards, and it could’ve been even more if not for some missed throws.

The Gators’ defensive line dominated in a way that haven’t done since the opener against Miami. They limited VU to 1.3 yards-per-carry.

On the other side, Vanderbilt’s receivers couldn’t create much separation against Florida’s secondary.

Trask wasn’t perfect, but he badly outplayed Wallace, who completed just seven of 18 throws for 60 yards before being replaced in the fourth quarter.

Up Next: After this one-game stop in the Swamp, Florida (8-2, 5-2) will hit the road again next Saturday to take on Missouri (5-3, 2-2) at noon in their final conference game of the season. The Tigers beat them the past two seasons by a combined score of 83-33, so the Gators will be looking for revenge.


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