Vandy beats Florida 34-17, snaps series streak (VIDEO)
Saturday, November 9, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tyler Murphy's four turnovers led to three touchdowns, helping Vanderbilt embarrass Florida 34-17 Saturday for the program's first win in Gainesville since 1945.
The Commodores snapped a 22-game losing streak in the lopsided series and moved a step closer to becoming bowl eligible for the third consecutive season under coach James Franklin.
It was another signature win for Vanderbilt, which knocked off Southeastern Conference powerhouses Georgia and Florida in the same season for the first time in school history.
Murphy was Vandy's MVP in this one, a loss that probably will leave the Gators (4-5, 3-4 SEC) out of a bowl game for the first time since 1990.
The Commodores (5-4, 2-4) scored after each of Murphy's three interceptions, taking advantage of short fields to build a 24-3 lead. Vanderbilt finished with 12 first downs and 187 yards. Florida had 26 first downs and 353 yards.
Murphy completed 28 of 45 passes for a career-high 297 yards. But his three interceptions — he also lost a fumble — were key.
He overthrew Quinton Dunbar in the first quarter, a pass Andre Hall picked and returned to the Florida 10-yard line. Jerron Seymour scored on the next play, breaking five tackles on the run and putting the Commodores ahead 10-0.
It was a big boost for a team that had been outscored 85-24 in the first quarter in its previous eight games.
It also was just the start of Florida's failures.
Two drives later, Murphy underthew a pass as he was getting hit. Kenny Ladler picked it off and returned it to the Florida 22. Quarterback Patton Robinette, making his second start in place of Austyn Carta-Samuels, scrambled for a 5-yard score four plays later to make it 17-0.
Florida finally got on the board, but only after a chorus of boos.
The Gators had first-and-goal inside the 1 when offensive coordinator Brent Pease called an option play to the short side of the field. Murphy pitched to Kelvin Taylor, who fumbled out of bounds for a 5-yard loss. The offense never recovered, and Solomon Patton's third-down drop at the goal line left Florida to kick a field goal.
The homecoming crowd reacted vocally, booing the Gators as they lined up for the field goal.
The Swamp fell silent after Murphy's third interception.
Murphy threw behind Trey Burton on a third-and-3 play to open the second half. Burton tipped the ball into Andrew Williamson's hands. He juggled it briefly before rambling to the 4. Seymour scored two plays later, putting Vandy ahead 24-3.
Seymour's third touchdown, a 1-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter, erased any doubts about the outcome. It sent many of Florida faithful scrambling for the exits and wondering about coach Will Muschamp's future in Gainesville.
Muschamp is 22-13 in three seasons, and without last year's 11-2 season, his job would surely be in jeopardy.
The Gators have been ravaged by injuries, but has that been enough to excuse losing to Vanderbilt for the first time since 1988?
And now they're likely to be home for the postseason.
Florida needs to win twice down the stretch in games against No. 13 South Carolina, lower-division Georgia Southern and third-ranked Florida State to go bowling for the 23rd straight year.
Vanderbilt needs to beat Kentucky, Tennessee or Wake Forest over the next three weeks to make a third bowl in Franklin's three years.
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