Posted: 3:40 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013
Suddenly there it was.
Looking the Florida Gators right in the face.
A season that has fallen apart due to a plethora of reasons. Reasons that would crumble any team. Too high of expectations, injuries, a questionable coaching staff and a lack of play-makers. You could even add in five, six or fifty more reasons and you'd be hard pressed to find any complaints.
At the half against the Vanderbilt Commodores the Gators trailed 17-3, in part due to Tyler Murphy's lack of situational awareness, Austin Hardin's missed field goal and Antonio Morrison's inability to make even the simplest of tackles.
Murphy threw two bad (and costly) interceptions, each were into double coverage and overthrown and under thrown respectively, leading to 14 points for the Commodores. Meanwhile, drives continued to stall in part to the play-calling of offensive coordinator Brent Pease who at this point probably couldn't coordinate his family's holiday weekend.
The Gators did have more total yards than the Commodores at the half, 140 to 92, but the turnovers were the difference. The Gators committed three and the 'Dores had zero.
Things didn't improve much in the 3rd quarter as Murphy began the Gators' first drive by throwing behind Trey Burton so badly that the ball was intercepted and almost returned for a touchdown. Vanderbilt would score a touchdown two plays later and as a result their lead was extended to 24-3.
One of the few bright spots for the Gators on the day was Kelvin Taylor, who did everything in his power to get the Gators back into the football game. His rushing touchdown from four yards out put the score 24-10 in favor of the Commodores with a little over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The third quarter drew to a close with the Commodores knocking on the door to put the game away. The Commodores scored the touchdown we all expected on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend their lead once again, this time to 31-10.
Just like last week against the Georgia Bulldogs, the Gators did their best to get back into the game late. This time the hero was freshman Ahmad Fulwood who made an amazing catch in the endzone to bring the Gators to within two touchdowns.
However, the Gators would fail to recover a somewhat surprise onside kick and Vanderbilt would add a field goal late to bring us to the final score of 34-17.
Despite the final stats looking like maybe the game should have gone differently, it was the turnovers that proved to be the difference. While the Gators look like a shell of the team that began the season, I'm sure there are some that don't by into that but there are a few that will.
Murphy finishes the game 30-of-46 for 305 yards and a touchdown (three interceptions as well, but we'll get to those later). As for the Gators' vaunted two-headed rushing attack, Taylor and Mack Brown combined for 24 carries for 79 yards and one touchdown.
The leading receiver for the Gators was Quinton Dunbar who had 6 catches for 78 yards.