GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With its SEC East title hopes hanging by a thread, No. 11 Florida looks to bounce back from last week’s high-profile loss when the Gators host Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Gators are looking for their seventh straight home victory and their 28th in their last 29 meetings with the Commodores.
TV: Noon ET, ESPN. LINE: Florida -26.5
The Gators can’t afford another loss after dropping two of their last three, including a 24-17 defeat versus Georgia last week. Florida must win its final two conference games and have the Bulldogs lose two of their three remaining SEC contests to win the division. Vanderbilt wasn’t able to build off the momentum of a 21-14 win over Missouri on Oct. 19, following up its bye week with a lackluster performance in a 24-7 loss at South Carolina last week. The Commodores’ offense sputtered with their top two quarterbacks out with concussions, and Mo Hasan is expected to sit out again while Riley Neal’s status is up in the air.
ABOUT VANDERBILT (2-6, 1-4 SEC)
The Commodores haven’t had much to get excited about, but running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn is putting together an impressive season with 1,024 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns (six rushing, one receiving). Vandy hasn’t gotten that same production from the passing game, and with both Hasan and Neal sidelined for most of last week’s contest, the Commodores managed only 76 passing yards against the Gamecocks. The defense played well against Missouri but was back to its typical struggles last week, giving up 440 total yards.
ABOUT FLORIDA (7-2, 4-2)
The Gators’ passing game has flourished since Kyle Trask took over following Feleipe Franks’ injury. Trask has thrown for 1,648 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, but the ground game has been inconsistent and managed only 21 yards on 19 carries against Georgia. Florida has been solid on the other side of the ball, ranking 26th in total defense and 11th in points against per game thanks to an excellent track record in the red zone.
1. Florida (403.9) is averaging more than 400 total yards through nine games for the first time since 2009.
2. The Gators are one of seven FBS teams with three players who have at least 25 receptions, 350 receiving yards, and four receiving touchdowns (Kyle Pitts, Freddie Swain and Van Jefferson).
3. Vanderbilt is one of four Power 5 teams with a 3,000-yard career rusher (Vaughn) and a 2,000-yard career receiver (Kalija Lipscomb).
PREDICTION: Florida 30, Vanderbilt 17