Florida vs. Vanderbilt: Gators Get Final Tune-Up Before Meat of SEC Schedule

Darin PikeContributor IOctober 13, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 06:  Tharold Simon #24 of the LSU Tigers attempts to tackle Quinton Dunbar #1 of the Florida Gators during the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Florida Gators are fresh off a 14-6 win over a struggling LSU Tigers team. They travel to Nashville on Saturday to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-3, 1-2 SEC) in a game that should allow them to get healthy and prepared for a pair of Top 15 matchups.

Florida (5-0, 4-0 SEC) certainly can't afford to look past Vanderbilt on Saturday. No. 9 South Carolina needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to secure a tight 17-13 win in Nashville to start the season.

But the last 21 games in this series have gone to Florida, and the odds of that changing on Saturday are low.


When: Saturday, Oct. 13, 6:00 p.m. ET

Where: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.

Watch: ESPNU and online via ESPN3

Spread: Florida -9


The Gators' offense will likely focus on the ground game. 

Running back Mike Gillislee is leading the SEC with a 110-yard-per-game average. He's gaining 5.3 yards per rush, with two games above 140 yards.

Vanderbilt surrenders an average of 179 yards rushing per game.

The Commodore defensive line allowed Georgia's Todd Gurley to run for 130 yards on just 16 carries, while Keith Marshall added another 82 yards on 10 attempts. They each tallied a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Florida may not have the same punch from the No. 2 runner, Trey Burton, but it should still be able to churn clock and yards.

Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers has struggled to maintain the starting job. He's completing just 55 percent of his passes and has two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The priority for the Gators may quickly become rotating personnel so they leave this contest fresh and healthy.

They host No. 3 South Carolina next week and play the 14th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs the following Saturday in Jacksonville. These games will determine their standing in the SEC, not to mention keep them alive for FBS supremacy.


Prediction: Florida 31, Vanderbilt 17