Oct 13, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) runs for a touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Gators won 31-17. Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
By Travis Duncan
Gator Envy writer
After establishing an 11-7, less than spectacular halftime lead, Florida's second half game plan was simple:
Let Jeff Driskel find openings against a blitzing Vanderbilt defense and make it a foot race between the sophomore quarterback and Vandy defenders to the edge.
He rushed for a total 177 yards on 11 carries with 3 TDs, breaking Tim Tebow's previous record of 166 yards on 27 rushes set in 2007. Driskel made only three passing attempts in the second half, two which fell as incomplete passes and one pass which was completed for no gain.
"A large part of it was what they were giving us," said head coach Will Muschamp.
"They were showing us some packages and they were a little feast or famine. When you stunt and do as much as they do, you’ve eventually going to hit them on some things. We feel much more comfortable with our passing game than maybe it looks. We had some things, we had a couple of drops so we feel like we’re further along than we’ve seen. At the end of the day, we’re going to do what it takes to win games."
Mike Gillislee (whose Heisman campaign was put on hold Saturday) carried the ball for 17 times for 67 yards.
"They were keying in on Gillislee all night, which they should because he’s had a great season," said Driskel.
"When two or three guys go for him, it opens up lanes. We had great blocking from receivers and also from fullbacks and tight ends. It was a full team effort tonight."
Florida's offensive line played without left guard James Wilson who missed the game due to an eye injury he suffered in practice earlier in the week. Then center Jonathan Harrison left the game early with an arm injury and left tackle Xavier Nixon also left the game with an upper body injury in the first half.
Saturday's game won't go down as classic stuff.
The energy on defense was good enough to get the job done but there was a noticeable difference between the enthusiasm against LSU compared to what we saw Saturday. Junior defensive end Dominique Easley did not play because of a knee injury and junior linebacker Jelani Jenkins did not play because of a hamstring ailment. Florida did not have an interception but did recover one fumble.
"We need to get off the field on third down on defense," Muschamp said.
"It was quite evident we didn’t do that well enough. When we have those opportunities, we need to capitalize. We had some silly penalties that we need to get out of our system as the games get a little bigger and the stakes get higher. We need to end the game better."
Florida struggled on third down (2-for-11), and in four red zone chances, came away with just one touchdown and three field goals. If you are waiting for the Gators to open up the passing game, you might have some time on your hands. It appears the M.O. offensively will be centered on misdirection and running the ball.
Up next for the Gators is a home date against South Carolina which lost to LSU. Regardless of the Gamecocks' first loss, the game will have a huge factor in determining the fate of the Gators both in the SEC East and in the BCS.
ESPN's College GameDay will be in Gainesville on Saturday.
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