Nobody really expected the Vanderbilt Commodores to hang with the Florida Gators, the fifth-ranked team in the country, on Saturday in Nashville, and yet for about a half that was exactly what happened.
Vanderbilt received the opening kickoff and Ken Seals promptly marched the Commodore offense 75 yards in 11 plays, connecting with Chris Pierce for a 16-yard touchdown to put Vanderbilt ahead 7-0. (Somehow, this was Vanderbilt’s first first-quarter touchdown all season — and only the second score of any kind, the first being a field goal in the first quarter of the season opener.) Florida would answer by going 76 yards in eight plays to tie the game at 7.
On the ensuing drive, Will Sheppard put Vanderbilt in business at the Florida 12 with this ridiculous catch:
my goodness, Will Sheppard with the aggression and hands. Moss'ed him pic.twitter.com/LWBEVwU4Fx— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) November 21, 2020
...but Vanderbilt would have to settle for a 25-yard field goal to go up 10-7.
Florida would tie the game up on an Evan McPherson field goal, and then, just before halftime, Kyle Trask would find Trevon Grimes for a 34-yard touchdown pass to give Florida a 17-10 lead going into the half.
And then the Gators would pull ahead 31-10 after back-to-back touchdown drives to open the third quarter. Vanderbilt would pull to within 31-17 on this 58-yard touchdown catch and run by Chris Pierce, his second of the game.
Chris Pierce is the strongest man in the world pic.twitter.com/O26yvQ1j1U— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) November 21, 2020
The Commodores had a brief moment in which they had a chance to cut further into the lead after Dashaun Jerkins forced a fumble, and the offense had a first and 10 at the Florida 28... and then, well...
(10:33 - 4th) Ken Seals pass complete to Grant Miller for a loss of 8 yards to the Fla 34
Grant Miller, you will recall, is Vanderbilt’s center. Vanderbilt would be forced to punt on 4th and 23 at the Florida 39, and Harrison Smith managed to pin Florida at its own 1... which did nothing to stop the Gators from extending the lead to 38-17 six plays later, and that was that.
Ken Seals would finish the game 22-of-34 for 319 yards with two touchdowns and an interception; Chris Pierce caught four passes for 97 yards and was on the receiving end of both touchdowns. Somehow, walk-on Mitchell Pryor was Vanderbilt’s leading rusher with 44 yards on 13 carries. Vanderbilt drops to 0-7 on the season and will host Tennessee next Saturday for its final home game.