If you're going to snap a 22-game losing streak to an opponent, you might as well do it in style. That's what Vanderbilt did as it went to Gainesville and smacked Florida by a 34-17 score at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday afternoon, ruining homecoming for the Gators, who came in as 10-point favorites.
The Commodores intercepted Tyler Murphy three times, returning all three deep into UF territory to set up offensive touchdowns. One of those scores off a pick was from Jerron Seymour, who had three rushing scores on the afternoon.
Patton Robinette added a rushing touchdown for the Commodores (5-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference), who return home to face SEC East cellar-dweller Kentucky next weekend.
It was the first win in Gainesville for Vandy since 1945, and the first in the series since 1988.
Vanderbilt struck first, taking the opening kickoff 64 yards in 14 plays before Carey Spear nudged a 31-yard field goal just inside the right upright for a 3-0 Commodore lead.
After Florida missed a field goal and VU punted, Andre Hal picked Tyler Murphy at the UF 30 and returned it to the Gator 10. On the next snap, Seymour wiggled and spun through several tackles on the way to the end zone, the Spear extra point giving VU a 10-0 lead with three seconds left in the first quarter.
After a Kenny Ladler interception and return that went deep into UF territory, Robinette's 5-yard touchdown run put VU up, 17-0.
The Gators had a first-and-goal from the VU 1 late in the first half, but the Commodores held UF to a 23-yard field goal by Brad Phillips.
Andrew Williamson picked Murphy on the second half's first drive, returning it inside the 5 where Seymour ran in fro the Wildcat formation.
The Gators cut the lead back to 14 when Kelvin Taylor capped a lengthy drive with a 4-yard scoring run, but Vandy answered back when Seymour capped a long drive of Vandy's own with a 1-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Murphy completed an odd-looking touchdown pass to Ahmad Fullwood with 7:40 left. Paris Head batted the ball away in the end zone, but the ball hit his foot, kicked up into the air and landed right into Fullwood's arms for the score.
The Gators had one more chance, but the Commodores brought pressure for much of the drive, which ended with Caleb Azubike sacked Murphy deep in UF territory. Spear added a
Vandy was out-gained 344-183, but it didn't need many yards given the perpetual short field on which its offense played. Many of those yards came on two drives, the opening one for the field goal and the one that led to Seymour's early fourth-quarter score. It also helped that VU didn't commit a turnover.