Gators look to bounce back at home against Commodores
The 10th-ranked Florida Gators will attempt to get back to their winning ways this weekend after a hard-fought defeat at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, as they welcome in SEC East foe Vanderbilt. A 10-win regular season is still in play for Dan Mullen's team, as the Gators aim for a New Year's Six bowl game. Meanwhile, Derek Mason and Vanderbilt will hope to catch Florida a bit flat after visions of reaching Atlanta and the CFB Playoff were apparently dashed. The Commodores enter Gainesville after a roller-coaster couple of weeks, which included a stunning upset of Missouri and a less-than-inspiring effort at South Carolina.
Vanderbilt at Florida
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m. ET
Spread: Florida -26.5
When Vanderbilt Has the Ball
Expect the offensive struggles to continue for Vanderbilt when the Commodores are on offense. Quarterbacks Riley Neal and Mo Hasan are both injured, and neither is expected to play. Redshirt junior Deuce Wallace (33-of-76, 217 yards, three interceptions) should see plenty of reps, as could freshman Allan Walters, who would be making his season debut. Ke'Shawn Vaughn is Vanderbilt's most accomplished player, and the running back could be in for a long day against Todd Grantham's defense with the Dores not posing much of a threat via the passing game. Vaughn has totaled 790 yards rushing and six scores while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He may find running room a little tougher to come by against Florida's defense, which is ranked fourth in the SEC in rushing yards allowed per game (123.6).
When Florida Has the Ball
Expect Dan Mullen to continue spreading teams out with Kyle Trask at the helm. Trask is completing 67 percent of his passes and has thrown for 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions as the starter. Trask has a multitude of weapons that should be pressure points for the Vanderbilt defense, including Kyle Pitts (39 receptions), Freddie Swain (29 receptions), Van Jefferson (29 receptions), Trevon Grimes (23 receptions) and Josh Hammond (20 receptions). On the ground, Lamical Perine has run for 491 yards and four touchdowns this season, including an 88-yard score. The Gators' offense should be able to move the ball at will on coordinator Jason Tarver's defense. Vanderbilt ranks last in the SEC in total defense (453.6 ypg) and is 13th in the other three major categories — scoring (32.4 ppg), rushing (202.5 ypg), and passing (251.1 ypg) defense.
Barring a flat performance from the Gators, coming off of a loss to Georgia, Florida should roll in this contest. The Gators' skill players on the perimeter, offensively, are a mismatch for Vanderbilt's secondary, and the Gators defense will harass Wallace most of the afternoon, making it very difficult for Vanderbilt to muster much offense. Florida should win this game with relative ease.
Prediction: Florida 41, Vanderbilt 10
— Written by Nick Kayal, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network as a college football and NFL writer. Nick is a Morning Show Host in Nashville on 102.5 The Game. Follow him on Twitter @NickKayal.