Florida roared to a 24-0 first quarter lead and never looked backed as they downed Vanderbilt 71-13 in an SEC game played at Gainesville, FL.
The Gators used four Vanderbilt turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown, four block punts and a passing attack that accounted 388 yards and six touchdowns. The Gators handed the Commodores their sixth loss of the season. Vanderbilt has not had a winning season since 1982. The 71-13 loss was the worst by a Vandy football team since a 65-0 loss to Tennessee in 1994 and is sure to result in more outcries by Vanderbilt supporters to have embattled Head Coach Woody Widenhofer replaced.
Running back Earnest Graham got the Gators going early when he scored on a three yard scamper early in the game to put the Gators up 7-0. Later in the first quarter Graham scored again, this time from five yards out to put the Gators up 14-0.
The lead would swell to 37-0 by haftime. Vanderbilt was in a position to score in the second quarter but Senior quarterback Greg Zolman fumbled the ball at the Florida five yard line, thus killing that opportunity.
In the second half the Gator onslaught continued. Second string quarterback Brock Berlin completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kirk Wells to put the Gators up 71-0 with 8:31 left in the game. The Gators worked vigorously to get more points on the board by going for it on fourth down and continuing it's lethal passing attack. The Gators even used trick plays such as double reverses in an attempt to get more points. However, the Vandy reserves would hold the Gators out of the end zone the last eight minutes.
Vanderbilt Sophomore quarterback, Benji Walker, replaced second string quarterback Tim Olmstead and engineered two fourth quarter scoring drives that kept the Commodores from being shut out. Walker completed two of four passes for 48 yards. Walker rushed for two scores, the first from 24 yards out and the second from two yards as time expired.
Florida limited Vanderbilt to 277 total yards offense while gaining 561 yards themselves. The Gators gained 388 yards in the air and 173 on the ground. Vanderbilt gained 212 yards passing and 65 yards rushing. The Commodores were led in rushing by Norval McKenzie who had 40 yards in just four attempts. Senior running back Rodney Willams had 20 yards in 14 carries. Williams also caught four passes for 48 yards. Vanderbilt was led in receiving by Dan Stricker with five catches for 87 yards.
Vanderbilt falls to 2-6 (0-5 SEC) on the season. Florida improves to 7-1, (5-1 SEC). Vanderbilt hosts the Kentucky Wildcats next Saturday in Nashville. Florida travels to South Carolina next for an SEC East showdown.