The Vanderbilt Commodores host the Florida Gators on Saturday in Nashville. Here are your three keys to a Commodore win over the Gators.
By Don Yates
Win the Turnover Battle
Florida’s ability to force turnovers this year has it ranked second nationally in turnover margin (+11). Vanderbilt’s defense needs to force some turnovers while the offense protects the ball. Vanderbilt currently sits at zero in turnover margin with 9 turnovers gained and 9 lost. Remember Tennessee’s stinker game with Florida in Knoxville? Six turnovers by the Vols. Who knows what would have happened had those turnovers been just two or three. If the Commodores can at least maintain the zero turnover margin or better against the Gators they should have a shot at beating Florida.
Every team has missed tackles but it seems like we’ve seen a lot more by the Commodores this season than in other years. Two years ago against Florida a missed tackle cost the Commodores a win over the Gators. Vandy has to tackle better if they want a chance to win. Too often we see opponents gain 20 or 30 yards when the ball carrier should have only gotten a few yards. Florida is like LSU or Georgia, they always have lots of play makers because Florida is a hot bed for recruiting, like Louisiana and Georgia. These athletic players are hard to tackle. Proper technique improves the chances of making a solid tackle.
Protect the Quarterback
Against LSU, the Gator defense had five sacks and 11 tackles for losses. Sacks are similar to holding penalties, they a drive killers. The Commodore offense can’t afford to give up more than one or two sacks. Ideally Florida gets zero on Vandy. Protecting Kyle Shurmur not only gives the offense a chance to capitalize on drives but it keeps Shurmur out of harms way.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 11 am CT (Noon ET). TV: ESPN.
— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) October 9, 2018