In what was expected to be a tough game for the University of Florida, the Gators showed why they deserve to still be ranked #21. Florida defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores at home by a score of 38-24.
It marks the first time in three years that a game between these two teams has been decided by more than a touchdown. Florida also ties the FBS record for scoring in 365 straight games
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 30, 2017
The Gators running game finally got on track against the Commodores. Florida’s offense did not have a rushing touchdown from any of its running backs so far this year. The ground game for Florida exploded for four touchdowns between backs Lamical Perine and freshman Malik Davis. Perine was able to find the end zone three times, marking the first time since Jeff Driskel in 2012 that a Florida player had three rushing touchdowns in a game.
The game began as a shootout between Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur and the Gators Luke Del Rio, who started over Feleipe Franks. While Shurmur went 0-4 to start the game, he eventually picked up his production finishing the game going 18-40 with 264 yards and three touchdowns.
Del Rio started this game strong connecting with his receivers to go 7-11 with 64 yards before being knocked out of the game with a left shoulder injury. This is the same shoulder that was surgically repaired in the offseason.
Enter Feleipe Franks. The freshman came in and made an immediate impact in the Florida passing game. He connected with Tyrie Cleveland on a similar 49-yard post route late in the second quarter to move the Gators into field goal range. That big play allowed Eddy Pineiro to kick his only field goal of the game as Florida tied the score up at 17 heading into halftime.
We had written that this game had “trap” written all over it and for 30 minutes it looked like it.
After halftime, it was all Florida and there was nothing the Vanderbilt defense could do about it. The Gators came out of the locker room with a new mentality as they began to make finish drives in the end zone.
On their second possession of the half, Florida drove all the way from their own 27 yard line for for Davis to scurry in for a one yard touchdown run to take a 24-17 lead. They followed that drive with a 65 yard drive to extend their lead to 31-17. On that drive, Franks connected on a tipped pass to Freddie Swain to bring the Gators to Vanderbilt’s 2 yard line to set up Perine’s third TD of the game.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 30, 2017
The Gators would continue to make stops on defense as Vanderbilt tried to claw back into the 14-point deficit. They were able to cut the lead to 7 when Shurmur found Nathan Marcus open in the end zone to bring the score to 31-24. On the Gators final offensive drive, they were attempting to run the clock down when Davis founds a hole on the right side of the offensive line. After breaking a tackle, the freshman Davis was off to the races as he scored a 39 yard touchdown.
While it seemed head coach Jim McElwain would’ve rather seen him go down to run the clock out, he was still pleased with putting more points on the board.
The Gators improve to 3-1 and 3-0 in conference play.
Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday
The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.
The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:
Coast to coast❗
🐻 at 🐊 2026
🐊 at 🐻 2027#GoGators
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) February 7, 2020
A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.
With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.
As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.
Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.
It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.
Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.
Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools
National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.
The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of former DB C.J. Henderson.
Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.
The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.
Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?
Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.
The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.
Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.
Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.