The 3-2 Florida Gators look to bounce back after a loss to Kentucky while the 2-3 Vanderbilt Commodores look to keep it rolling after beating UConn. Here are the three keys to a Vandy win.
By Steve Wright
1 – Stop making mistakes
Vanderbilt has missed more opportunities for big plays than most college football teams this season. The downfield passing game hasn’t been anything special – the ‘Dores rely on shorter completions over explosive plays – and turnovers are a serious issue. Florida is in an interesting spot after losing to Kentucky and their attitude out of the blocks will be interesting. The way to win this is to rely on the rush defense to hang around until late, get some turnovers to stay in the game, and grind Florida into playing the sort of game that the Commodores want.
2 – Stop the run
The stat on the year that says the most for Florida is that the Gators are 3-0 when running for more than 245 yards and that they are 0-2 when not reaching that number. Kentucky didn’t have a ton of offense last weekend, but it didn’t need to as the Wildcats loaded up with their physical and talented front-seven to slow the Florida running game. Vanderbilt actually hasn’t allowed 245 yards this year against any opponent, but the Gators rushing attack is a different animal. Stopping them around 200 yards would be an achievement here.
3 – Use Will Sheppard
The Commodores don’t have a lot of playmakers but wide receiver Will Sheppard is one. He averages 5.4 catches per game – ranking 45th in the nation in the category – and he is coming off of a big game against UConn where he had 119 yards receiver. Quarterback Ken Seals will have to turn to Sheppard early and often against a Florida defense that causes havoc with its scheme, so look for short and intermediate routes to Sheppard to move the chains.