With the loss, Vanderbilt goes to 5-4 overall, and 2-4 in Southeastern Conference play.
First Half Notes: Alex Washington gave Vanderbilt excellent field possession on the opening drive with a 24-yard return to the VU 45-yard line. The Commodores did not score on the drive. Following a missed Florida field goal, Mackenzi Adams directed Vanderbilt's first scoring drive - a 10-play, 79-yard drive. The drive, capped by Adams' 1-yard touchdown run, was highlighted by a 35-yard pass from Adams to TE Jake Bradford to the Gator 2-yard line. It was the second-career reception for Bradford and Adams' first-career rushing touchdown. After holding its last two opponents to a total of 19 points, the Commodore defense struggled in the first half against the Gators. The unit did not force a Florida punt before intermission, and gave up 35 points, the most by a Vanderbilt opponent since Tennessee's 41-0 advantage on Nov. 22, 2003. It also marks the Commodores' second 28-point halftime deficit of the season - the other being at Auburn (28-0, Oct. 6). Florida produced 358 yards of total offense in the first half, 48 yards more than the Vanderbilt defense has averaged allowing each game. Two Commodore defensive secondary players, CB D.J. Moore and safety Reshard Langford, combined for 15 total tackles in the first half.
Second Half Notes: Vanderbilt opened the second half by successfully converting an on-side kick. Kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt recovered his own on-side attempt in the middle of the field. Thirteen plays later, Hahnfeldt kicked a 33-yard field goal. The Commodores' last successful on-side attempt came late in the fourth quarter two years ago at Florida. That conversion led to a last-minute touchdown to tie the game 35-35. Vanderbilt eventually lost the 2005 encounter 49-42 in double overtime. With 9:35 left in the third quarter, Langford notched his second interception of the year after Moore tipped a Tim Tebow pass attempt. It was Langford's eighth career interception, tops among active Commodores. It was also Vanderbilt's 15th interception of the season. The Commodore offense failed to convert on Langford's interception. Vanderbilt scored its second touchdown early in the fourth quarter on another 1-yard plunge by Adams. It capped an 11-play, 51-yard drive. CB Darlron Spead had his first-career touchdown on a 36-yard fumble recovery with 4:48 to play. Spead's fumble recovery not only was the first of his career, it was also the first fumble recovery for a touchdown by Vanderbilt since Moses Osemwegie recovered a fumble in the endzone on Nov. 6, 2004 against Florida.
Commodore Team Notes: Vanderbilt is now 1-2 this season in games against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Earlier, the Commodores defeated No. 6 South Carolina 17-6 (Oct. 20) and lost to No. 12 Georgia 20-17 (Oct. 13). Vanderbilt converted 9-of-18 third down attempts, the most since converting 11-of-18 in a 21-19 win at Arkansas on Sept. 16, 2006. Special teams miscues hurt the Commodores for the second straight season against Florida. Vanderbilt allowed a 53-yard punt return to SEC leader Brandon James, then lost Florida's first punt of the game at its own 11-yard line when James recovered a Vanderbilt fumble. Both miscues led to Gator touchdowns. Last year, Florida blocked two Vanderbilt punts in a 25-19 win over the Commodores. WR Earl Bennett caught five passes for 31 yards, increasing his SEC career receiving record to 220 catches. Mackenzi Adams set single-game career highs in completions (16) and pass attempts (32) in his third starting assignment. D.J. Moore had two kickoff returns for 73 yards, averaging 36.5 yards per return. PK Bryant Hahnfeldt converted a 33-yard field goal and is 11-of-15 on the season. Reshard Langford and Marcus Buggs set career highs with 10 tackles each.
The Commodores return to Nashville next Saturday to face Kentucky in another key SEC Eastern Division game. Kickoff is 1:00 p.m., CT.