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(Saturday, October 13th)
Final Score: (4) Florida 31, Vanderbilt 17
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - With its potent running attack, Florida is used to getting the ball and hanging onto it this season.
This wasn't the case for the Gators on Saturday, yet they still avoided the trap.
Jeff Driskel ran for a quarterback school-record 177 yards and three touchdowns, which included a late 70-yard score to put the game away, in fourth-ranked Florida's 31-17 triumph over Vanderbilt.
The sophomore Driskel, who also threw for 77 yards on 11-of-20 efficiency, topped Tim Tebow's mark of 166 rushing yards against Mississippi State in 2007.
"Jeff had an outstanding night running the football and we did a lot with him in the passing game," Florida coach Will Muschamp said of his quarterback. "His legs create a lot of things for our offense and we need to continue to take advantage of that."
Mike Gillislee carried the ball 17 times for 67 yards for the Gators, (6-0, 5-0 SEC) who extended their winning streak to 22 games over Vanderbilt and will host No. 3 South Carolina next Saturday.
The Gators lead the SEC in time of possession at 35:19 per game, but lost the battle to the Commodores 33:10 to 26:50.
Jordan Rodgers completed 17-of-31 passes for 237 yards and a score, while Jordan Matthews caught eight balls for 131 yards and a touchdown for Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3), which was coming off a win at Missouri last week.
"We had a game plan, but you can't make those types of mistakes against the No. 5 team in the country on your own field," Vanderbilt coach James Franklin admitted. "We had opportunities in the passing game, but we had too many dropped balls in critical situations."
Zac Stacy gained 86 yards on the ground in the setback, but his 1-yard TD plunge, which capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive midway through the final frame, cut the Commodores' deficit to 21-14.
It was the first fourth-quarter point allowed by Florida this year.
Andre Debose, though, ran the ensuing kickoff 60 yards down to the Vandy 37- yard line, which led to a Caleb Sturgis 26-yard field goal and a 24-14 Florida edge.
Rodgers heaved and hit Matthews in stride for a 53-yard gain down the right sideline on the first play of the Commodores' next touch.
On a 3rd-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Rodgers rolled right and hit Stacy in the flat, but the running back dropped the football and Vandy had to settle for a 22-yard Carey Spear field goal which cut the margin to 24-17.
Just one play into Florida's ensuing series, however, Driskel put the game out of reach.
On a zone read play, Driskel kept the ball himself, found a gaping hole along the right edge and broke free along the right sideline for the 70-yard TD run and a 31-17 Gators' advantage with 2:20 to play.
Rodgers' pass to Josh Grady on 4th-and-goal on Vandy's next series fell incomplete to seal the victory for Florida.
The Commodores struck first on their second possession of the game when Rodgers flipped a 10-yard score to Matthews midway through the opening stanza.
The Gators, though, scored 21 unanswered points.
A 37-yard rushing score from Driskel preceded Sturgis' 23-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the half, which gave Florida an 11-7 edge heading into the locker room. Trey Burton ran in a conversion attempt after Driskel's touchdown to account for that total.
Vanderbilt took 8:32 off the clock on its opening drive of the second half, but got no points to show for it.
Safety Josh Evans sacked Rodgers for a 14-yard loss on a 3rd-and-10 from the Florida 13-yard line, and defensive end Earl Okine blocked Spear's 44-yard field goal on the very next play.
The Commodores seemed to force a three-and-out on Florida's next touch, but Solomon Patton scampered 54 yards on a fake punt, which led to a 13-yard TD run by Driskel for an 18-7 edge.
Sturgis added a 29-yard field goal early in the fourth to make it a 14-point game.
Florida had outscored its opponents 41-0 in the fourth quarter heading into the contest ... Vanderbilt last beat Florida in 1988 ... Florida outgained Vanderbilt, 403-363 ... Florida was 2-of-11 on third downs, while Vandy finished 7-of-17.
10/14 02:49:42 ET