Saturday, November 3, 2007

Gators Dominate Vanderbilt

Its great to be home. After not playing a home game since the end of September the gators returned to the swamp for homecoming weekend. energized by the crowd, the Gators dominated Vanderbilt in every facet of the game and enjoyed a well deserved victory.

Urban Meyer stated at the beginning of the year that every time he won the coin toss he would elect to receive the ball, but this week his defense asked for the ball. The defense was tired of listening to how bad they are in the media and wanted to come out and set a tone for the rest of the game. The Gator defense let Vandy move the ball a little, but stopped them and made them punt the ball. It was only one stop and it wasn't a 3 and out, but that one stop on the opening drive fired up the crowd and the team for the rest of the game. The defense had let this team down many times this season, but against Vanderbilt they were going to make sure they were not the cause of the loss.

The Gators came into the game hurting on defense and converted freshman offensive lineman Mike Pouncey to defensive tackle due to injuries. Pouncey got the start and played great. The big man clogged up the middle and played with a fire that had been missing from this defense throughout the year up front. The linebackers were flying to the ball all game and Brandon Spikes had one of his best games of the season. Major Wright played the game with a boxing glove on his hand to protect his broken thumb, but even one handed he made plays and looked better than Kyle Jackson. Jackson missed tackles and had to get bailed out by corner Joe Haden on a touchdown pass. This defense is growing up and you can see the talent that guys like Joe Haden and Major Wright have. The defense took a major step in this game and the Gators would love to see it continue the rest of the season.

The Gators offense was pretty much unstoppable in the game. Vanderbilt came into the game with one of the top overall defenses in the NCAA. They were first in the SEC in sacks, tied for first in interceptions, and third in overall defense, but the Gators dominated them up and down the field all day. In the first half the Gators scored touchdowns on 5 of 6 drives and shot themselves in the foot on the sixth drive inside the 10 yard line. Percy Harvin had maybe his best game as a Gator with over 100 yards rushing and receiving in the game. Harvin made hit the holes the offensive line made and with one cut he was gone into the end zone or down the field for a huge gain. Vanderbilt had no answer for Harvin all game. Tebow did not run much and had no real need to. Harvin, Jarred Fayson, and Kestahn Moore were getting great yards on the ground and Tebow found Andre Caldwell and Percy Harvin through the air at will. The wide outs made Tebow look even better than he was with great runs after the catch as well. The Gators missed having the extra threat of Caldwell in the lineup and with him back they have another option in the passing game to help Tebow move the ball.

With the win over Vanderbilt the Gators kept their SEC East Title hopes alive and made next weeks game against South Carolina even bigger. The Gators need to win next week and have Tennessee and Georgia lose one game a piece to go to Atlanta. With some tough SEC games left it is a big possibility that the Gators could get to Atlanta. The team from the west that makes it will not want to meet Florida in that game. The Gators are only getting better and with the additional weeks to help the defense get better and the offense to heal up, this will be a formidable team for anyone.

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