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Vanderbilt Commodores at Florida Gators: Preview and Pick
Vanderbilt Commodores at Florida Gators: Preview and Pick
The Florida Gators entered this season with high hopes but they are slowly tumbling down the college football rankings and in the SEC after several losses. The recent loss to the Georgia Bulldogs was especially painful considering they put forth a good effort on offenses, something that had struggled with all season. Now at home, they will look to rebound with a big win when they play against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Vanderbilt Commodores at Florida Gators Odds
The college football odds for this game will favor the Gators at home as they look to rebound against the Commodores after a string of tough loses. This line could shift so check it out at your top rated online sportsbook leading up to kickoff.
If the Gators want to avoid another loss they have to avoid getting off to a slow start. The Bulldogs scored on their first four possessions, taking a 20-0 lead that looked like it would be enough against one of the Southeastern Conference's most anemic offenses. Georgia gained 259 yards in the first quarter and looked like it would roll.
But the Gators rallied, taking advantage of a fumble, a safety and some questionable play calls to seize momentum in a weird, wacky and an unbelievably chippy game. Florida cut it to 23-20 early in the fourth, putting Georgia on its heels after a failed fourth-down run followed by a huge defensive penalty. But the Gators faltered down the stretch. The Bulldogs ran out the clock with a final drive that lasted more than 8 minutes, a series that included a third-down penalty on Florida's Darious Cummings. The Gators will have to avoid these silly mistakes if they want to win this week.
The latest college football betting trends reveal that this could be a very good, but high scoring game. Vanderbilt is 11-4 straight up in its last 15 games, but 7-16 straight up in its last 23 games on the road. The total has gone over in 7 of Vanderbilt's last 10 games, over in 4 of Vanderbilt's last 5 games on the road and the total has gone OVER in 4 of Florida's last 5 games when playing at home against Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is 0-5 straight up in its last 5 games when playing Florida and 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last 6 games when playing Florida. Finally, Florida is 16-5-1 straight up in its last 22 games and 10-1-1 straight up in its last 12 games at home.
Vanderbilt Commodores at Florida Gators Pick
With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.
fter its second bye week in less than a month, the veterans on the Vanderbilt football team should find themselves rested and rejuvenated as the Commodores shift their attention to Saturday’s matchup at Florida (11 a.m., Fox TN).
Commodores coach James Franklin said he used the additional bye week to give 26 of his most-used players a week of rest following a 56-24 loss at Texas A&M.
“We were able to give our veterans a lot of down time — guys that have played a lot of reps for us,” Franklin said. “We took a different approach to bye week No. 2 compared to bye week No. 1. We had never really been through a two-bye week season before, so we decide to hold 26 players out.”
Franklin gave those players individual work and walk-throughs before having them serve as coaches for the younger players in scrimmages.
Receiver Jordan Matthews joked that the light work week gave guys like himself and “30-year-old” senior Walker May a chance to rest their old bones in advance of the Commodores’ final four games of the regular season.
“Coach Franklin and (strength and conditioning) coach (Dwight) Galt did a really good job of taking care of the veterans,” Matthews said. “(They gave) us guys that have been playing most of the season a chance to get our legs back and everything and also gave those young guys a chance to showcase their talent.”
One of the players who may benefit most from the additional week on this year’s schedule is middle linebacker Chase Garnham.
The 6-3, 235-pound senior, who has been out since the opener against Ole Miss with a lower leg injury, is listed as Jake Sealand’s backup and could return Saturday.
“He’s on the depth chart because we are expecting to play him,” Franklin said. “Having him back — just from an experience standpoint — I think is huge. We weren’t going to put him on the field if we felt like he wasn’t ready in a lot of different areas, but we think he is.”
Franklin said he expects the captain to be eased back into action after missing the last seven games.
“We will see how this week goes and try to get him a few plays in this game and build on that,” Franklin said.
Said May: “From a leadership perspective, he’s a vocal guy that has been there and been in the fire, and so it is really exciting to hear his voice and if he gets back it would be awesome.”
Vanderbilt listed true freshman Johnny McCrary as quarterback Patton Robinette’s primary backup.
“We are not opposed at all to playing Johnny McCrary if the situation presents itself,” Franklin said. “I think at this point of the year if Patton plays well and you can hold Johnny McCrary’s redshirt you’d like to do it, but we are going to do whatever we have to do to win the game.”
Franklin said he would like to see Austyn Carta-Samuels progress enough in his recovery from a leg injury that he could consider him the No.2 at the position by the end of the week. But the senior was not listed on Monday’s depth chart. Carta-Samuels has been out of since the first half of an Oct. 19 win over Georgia
Florida will host Vanderbilt at noon on Saturday in a football game with huge implications for the remainder of the Gators' season.
With a road game at No. 13 South Carolina and the season finale against No. 3 Florida State still looming on the schedule, the unranked Gators desperately need a win against Vanderbilt to keep their bowl hopes alive. The Gators (4-4, 3-3 SEC) need six wins to become bowl eligible.
Florida has defeated Vanderbilt 22 consecutive seasons and last lost to the Commodores in Gainesville in 1945.
And yet with Florida on a three-game losing streak, still struggling and inconsistent in every facet, not one bit of that matters right now.
"I wouldn't say that would boost our confidence, playing a team that we've beat 22 years in a row, just because we're not the same team as those other 22 teams," Florida QB Tyler Murphy said. "They (Vanderbilt) beat Georgia. We didn't beat Georgia, and they're off a bye week so they have an extra week to prepare for us and get healthy. So we're going to have our work cut out for us.
"It will be an exciting game to be back in the Swamp. It will be a challenge, but it will be fun."
Florida will play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the first time since Oct. 5. The schedule this season had five of its final seven SEC games away from Florida Field.
"Seems like it's been forever," coach Will Muschamp said.
While Murphy and S Jaylen Watkins said Monday they are aware of how important wins are for their bowl status, Muschamp said he won't try to use that as motivation for his team. It's not necessary, he said.
"Motivation is what you saw in the second half (scoring 17 unanswered points vs. Georgia), those guys playing for each other," Muschamp said. "We've got a close-knit football team, a team that's got character and you wouldn't have seen that in the second half if that wasn't the case. So our guys will play, they'll play hard."
Offensive tackle Tyler Moore, who started six games, will miss the rest of the season following a scooter accident.
Coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday that Moore, a third-year sophomore who transferred from Nebraska, crashed while driving home from practice Tuesday night and had surgery to repair a compound fracture in his right elbow. It's unclear how long he will be sidelined.
Moore is the ninth Florida player — including five starters — lost for the season. The list includes quarterback Jeff Driskel, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, running back Matt Jones, right tackle Chaz Green and kick returner Andre Debose.
The Gators also are without starting left tackle D.J. Humphries, who will miss his second straight game with a sprained knee.
"An unfortunate situation," Muschamp said. "I hate it for Tyler and we move forward. I've always talked to our guys about man down, man up. We don't make excuses or have regrets in our preparation for what we do.
"It's unfortunate. Somebody needs to step up and play productive football, and the expectation level here, that doesn't change. That's why you want to coach at a place like Florida and you want to play at a place at Florida."
Moore started the season at right tackle, but switched sides to replace Humphries.
Without him, Max Garcia will move from left guard to left tackle Saturday against Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4). Either Kyle Koehne or Ian Silberman will start at left guard. It will be Florida's sixth starting combination on the offensive line in nine games, including the third different lineup in as many games.
Moore struggled against Missouri on Oct. 19, giving up two sacks in a 36-17 loss. He said Tuesday the problems stemmed from crowd noise, but heard little outside criticism after the game.
"I can probably imagine how bad it was," Moore said. "Not too many guys would look me in the face after that game."
The Gators were forced to stick with him after Humphries was injured in practice last week. Moore played considerably better in a 23-20 loss to Georgia.
"Hurt for Tyler, who didn't play very well versus Missouri," Muschamp said. "He took that personally. He's a good, young man, and really does everything we ask on and off the field. He's an outstanding member of our football team, and that's just very unfortunate.
"In all these situations, I feel for the player because these guys put in so much time and effort over a 12-month period to get that opportunity to play in the fall. And when that's taken away, it's just very disappointing."
Florida players and coaches said they've never been on teams with so many injuries, especially at key positions. The Gators have had just two players — center Jon Harrison and receiver Quinton Dunbar — start every game at the same position.
"Surely no one wants to hear about those problems we have or really cares about them much," defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. "It's part of the game. We've just got to move on and keep fighting through it."
Vanderbilt hasn’t beaten Florida since 1988, a streak that includes 22 straight losses. Going back even further, the Commodores haven’t defeated the Gators in Gainesville since 1945. Vanderbilt came close the last two years but lost a hard fought 26-21 decision in The Swamp two years ago and fell victim to a career day on the ground from quarterback Jeff Driskel in a 31-17 loss at Vanderbilt Stadium last year. Throughout his tenure at Vanderbilt, James Franklin has maintained that the past doesn’t matter, but there’s no denying that a road win over Florida would be historic for the Commodore program.
- Vanderbilt linebackers vs. Florida running backs
Having had little success in the air with backup quarterback Tyler Murphy at the helm, Florida will likely try to establish the run early. The Gators suffered a key injury at the running back position when starter Matt Jones sustained a season-ending knee injury against LSU. True freshman Kelvin Taylor, son of former Gator All-American and NFL great Fred Taylor, should get the majority of the carries in Jones’s stead. On the other end, the Commodores have struggled to stop the run this year, giving up 192 yards per game on the ground to SEC foes. The Commodores’ linebacking corps, bolstered by the return of senior starter Karl Butler against Georgia, must prevent the Florida running backs from getting into the secondary.
- Patton Robinette (QB) vs. Florida secondary
It appears as though redshirt freshman Patton Robinette is the only healthy quarterback left on the Vanderbilt roster, with both Austyn Carta-Samuels and Josh Grady hampered by knee injuries. Freshman Johnny McCrary, who is in line for a redshirt, is likely to step in as backup quarterback. Offensive coordinator John Donovan will call some safe throws early to get Robinette in a rhythm against a stingy Gator secondary that has allowed only 183 yards and five touchdowns through the air this season. Robinette doesn’t have to win this game for Vanderbilt, but the Commodores cannot afford to give a dismal Florida offense a short field by turning the ball over.
Even away from the football field, the Florida Gators cannot shake the injury bug that has helped turn their season upside down.
Gators offensive tackle Tyler Moore suffered a compound fracture of his right elbow during a scooter accident on Tuesday night, coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday.
Moore, a native of Clearwater and a transfer from Nebraska, underwent surgery on Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season, beginning with Saturday's visit from Vanderbilt. The Gators (4-4, 3-3 SEC) and Commodores (4-4, 1-4) kickoff at noon, and the game will air on Fox Sports Florida.
Moore is the ninth Gator, sixth starting player and second offensive tackle (Chaz Green) sidelined by a season-ending injury.
"I've always talked to our guys about man down, man up and we don't make excuses," Muschamp said during the weekly SEC teleconference. "It's unfortunate. Somebody else needs to step up.
"The expectation level here, that doesn't change."
Yet, some of the inconsistency on Florida's offense can be blamed on injuries.
Green, a 2012 starter, injured his shoulder in preseason camp; quarterback Jeff Driskel broke his leg Sept. 21 against Tennessee; and tailback Matt Jones missed preseason camp and the opener with a viral infection and then suffered a season-ending knee injury Oct. 12 at LSU.
In addition, right guard Jon Halapio missed preseason camp and the first two games with a torn pectoral muscle, Moore missed the Tennessee and Arkansas game with an ankle injury and left tackle D.J Humphries currently is sidelined by a sprained MCL in his right knee.
Moore, as a result, has started at right guard and both tackle positions this season. He replaced Humphries at left tackle during last Saturday's loss to Georgia.
"It can be a little hard," Moore said on Tuesday afternoon. "You have to learn everything and the playbook in a couple different ways. You make sure you learn different steps."
With its line in continual flux, Florida's offense ranks last in the SEC in yards and 13th out of 14 teams in points.
But stability on the offensive line is no guarantee of success with the Gators, either. Florida featured the same starting offensive line during seven games in 2012, including the opener and 2013 Sugar Bowl.
Florida still ranked 103rd nationally among 120 teams. Florida ranks 110th out of 123 teams this season while starting the same combination of offensive lineman in no more than two games.
On Saturday, left guard Max Garcia will move to left tackle, while Kyle Koehne or Ian Silberman will start at left guard. Halapio will make his seventh straight start at right guard, while center Jon Harrison is the only lineman to start every game in the same position.
Junior college transfer Trenton Brown, who replaced Moore at right tackle against Georgia , will make his second consecutive start. The emergence of the 6-foot-8, 361-pound Brown has been one of the few positives up front for the Gators.
Despite his bulk, Brown had the athletic ability to receive a handful of Division I scholarship offers in basketball.
Brown's nimble feet showed during pass protection last week, but he looks to improve his run blocking and his understanding of his assignments.
"Physically, I have all the intangibles to play this game," he said. "But I had to learn to kind of go through the process and learn the offense and get a better understanding of what Florida was needing of me."
Whether it is the failed wildcat plays, the lack of big plays on the offense, a porous offensive line, a struggling linebacking corp or lack of productivity from the special teams, obviously, watching the Florida Gators has been tough this season.
The Gators who have been dealt with a rash of injuries, a tough schedule, and poor depth, cannot seem to have anything fall their way this season and the numbers prove it.
Across the board, the Gators are struggling over last season, not only in their record, but also in just about every offensive, defensive and special teams category.
In almost every statistical category the Gators have regressed.
However, there has to be a silver lining correct? Well there is, even if it is minimal.
Primarily, freshman running back Kelvin Taylor is far exceeding his running back counterparts. At 5.17 yards per carry, his leaps and bounds ahead of Matt Jones and Mack Browns per carry average of 3.74. Only two players (Showers and Herndon) have higher per average carries, although they have only carried the ball seven and four times respectively.
Moreover, Solomon Patton has proven to be a true threat in his senior year. After being sidelined with a broken arm against Georgia last season, Patton has had his best season on offense yet with 464 yards receiving (14.97 yard per catch average), 56 yards rushing (5.09 yard per rush average) and is tied for a team high four touchdowns. Further, Patton has done just fine filling in for Andre Debose returning kicks averaging 28.79 yards per touch (seventh in the country) and one touchdown.
Finally, Vernon Hargreaves, the incredible freshman cornerback, has proven to be just as big of an asset as the expectations put on him. Vernon Hargreaves was expected to be a stellar cornerback, but very few expected him to lead the team in interceptions, passes defended and pass broken up.
It looks as if the season will be a wash, but there is at least a silver lining with three Gator players whom have seemed to buck the trend
Can the Gators get on the board early? Florida has been outscored 41-13 in the first quarter in their four losses this season. And although its struggling offense showed signs of life in the second half against Georgia, the Gators simply aren't the best comeback team so they need to get a lead quickly. Florida's defense has also struggled in the opening quarters, and will face a Vanderbilt team that has scored at least 24 points in 14 consecutive games dating to last season.