Florida at Vanderbilt

No. 23 Florida wins as sluggish Gators hold off Vandy 13-6

By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Florida Gators aren't in the mood to pick apart a road win in the Southeastern Conference, especially after last week's ugly loss.

No matter what they might need to fix.

Jordan Scarlett ran for a 4-yard touchdown with Eddy Pineiro adding a pair of field goals as No. 23 Florida held off Vanderbilt 13-6 Saturday.

''A wise man once said, `you even have to bring your ugly babies home from the hospital,' and that was ugly,'' Florida coach Jim McElwain said. ''In fact that might have been what someone told my dad when I was born. But I feel really good that our guys found a way to win.''

Florida (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) came up with two interceptions and two sacks on a day where the Gators defense otherwise struggled against one of the nation's worst offenses with three starting linemen missing most of the game.

Ralph Webb ran for 110 yards as Vanderbilt outgained Florida 265-236 in total offense. The Commodores (2-3, 0-2) had a final chance to force overtime until Nick Washington intercepted a Wade Freebeck pass with 54 seconds left sealing the Gators' win.

The Gators never trailed and led 10-3 after Scarlett scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, and Pineiro kicked a 42-yard field goal as the half expired. Pinero added a 26-yarder with 8:17 left.

Florida had a chance to pad its lead after Vanderbilt punter Sam Loy fumbled the snap and lost the ball with 5:07 left with the Commodores trailing 13-6. But Austin Appleby fumbled the snap on second-and-goal at the Vanderbilt 1 with 2:56 left giving the Commodores one last chance.

''It's beyond me how you fumble the ball on a quarterback sneak at the end of the game,'' McElwain said. ''It happened, and yet our defense stepped up. They had to step up twice.''

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida: This set up as the perfect trap game for the Gators between Tennessee and LSU against an opponent they've dominated over the years. The Gators had the majority of the 30,565 fans in Florida colors and still came out sluggish. Still, the Gators take home their third straight win and 25th in the last 26 games in this series. McElwain complimented the turnout by the Gators' fans.

''I really think it had an effect on one of those third downs when they were coming out of their end zone,'' McElwain said.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores finally showed signs of the stingy defense that ranked in the top 30 nationally in a lot of categories last season. Better yet, Webb gashed a defense that had been giving up only 76.5 yards rushing.

''This group is playing to win,'' Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. ''We're not satisfied with moral victories. There are no moral victories in football. This team is growing up and playing extremely hard.''

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Gators barely stayed inside the Top 25 after being routed by Tennessee . Voters will have to decide how impressive Florida was against Vanderbilt.

THE REPLACEMENTS

The Gators played most of the game without three starting defensive lineman. Senior defensive tackle Joey Ivie missed the game with a thumb injury that will sideline him at least a month. Defensive ends Bryan Cox Jr. and Jordan Sherit played sparingly with injuries. Without them, sophomore defensive tackle Khairi Clark made his second career start, and defensive ends CeCe Jefferson (sophomore) and Jabari Zuniga (freshman) saw extensive time.

''Obviously, we were missing some guys, but I feel like we played well,'' Gators defensive tackle Caleb Brantley said.

DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT

Vanderbilt had forced only two three-and-outs in each of the Commodores' past three games. The Commodores opened this game forcing the Gators three-and-out on their first two drives. Adam Butler also had two sacks on one drive for a defense that hadn't managed more than one sack in each of the past three games.

UP NEXT

Florida: The Gators return home to host LSU, the only SEC team to beat the Gators during the regular season last year in winning the Eastern Division.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores visit Kentucky still looking for their first SEC win.

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Online:

AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org and AP-Top 25 Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 

Related Video

 
Scoring Summary
FLAJordan Scarlett 4 yd run (Eddy Pineiro kick)
VANDYTommy Openshaw 38 yd FG
FLAEddy Pineiro 42 yd FG
VANDYTommy Openshaw 27 yd FG
FLAEddy Pineiro 26 yd FG
 
Team Stats
 FLAVANDY
First Downs1521
Third Down Efficiency6-155-15
Fourth Down Efficiency0-00-1
Plays-Net Yards63-23669-265
Rushes-Yds35-9237-147
Passing Yds144118
Kick Return Yds290
Punt Return Yds-414
Passes19-28-012-32-2
Punts7-3636-285
Fumbles-Lost1-12-1
Penalties-Yds4-456-47
Time of Poss.27:532:55
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
FLA: Jordan Scarlett 12-55, Lamical Perine 6-28, Jordan Cronkrite 2-13, Mark Thompson 7-11, Austin Appleby 3--1, Brandon Powell 1--2, Team 4--12
VANDY: Ralph Webb 24-110, Khari Blasingame 5-41, Darrius Sims 2-23, Josh Crawford 2-10, Kyle Shurmur 3--8, Sam Loy 1--29
PASSING
FLA: Austin Appleby 19-28-144-0
VANDY: Kyle Shurmur 9-25-82-1, Wade Freebeck 3-7-36-1
RECEIVING
FLA: DeAndre Goolsby 8-37, Brandon Powell 4-23, Antonio Callaway 3-36, C'yontai Lewis 2-39, Tyrie Cleveland 2-9
VANDY: Kalija Lipscomb 3-43, C.J. Duncan 3-31, Ralph Webb 2-17, Nathan Marcus 2-15, Caleb Scott 1-11, Khari Blasingame 1-1
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Florida1st SEC East0-00-0
Vanderbilt1st SEC East0-00-0

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