Thursday, June 21, 2018
Colleges

Vanderbilt snaps long losing streak against Gators

GAINESVILLE — Vanderbilt coach James Franklin was not alive the last time his school beat Florida in Gainesville.

But Vanderbilt did just that Saturday, snapping a 20-game losing streak there, which dated to 1945, 34-17. It also ended a 22-game overall losing streak to Florida that dated to 1988.

Afterward, Commodores tailback Jerron Seymour and his teammates celebrated in the locker room.

"It was an amazing atmosphere," Seymour said. "You should have been there. Everybody was going crazy."

Although Seymour averaged only 2.9 yards per carry, he gave Florida trouble all afternoon. The Hialeah native rushed for three touchdowns and 66 yards on 23 carries.

Filling in for injured quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, Patton Robinette rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown despite passing for only 57 yards on a 6-of-12 clip.

A year after Jeff Driskel ran down the Vanderbilt defense's throat for 177 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-17 Florida win, the Commodores returned the favor.

Forty-two of Vanderbilt's 54 plays were on the ground.

"We just wanted to grind the game out a couple plays at a time and just wear them down with the run game," Seymour said.

After recorded 326 yards on the ground last season in Nashville, Florida rushed for only 56 on 35 carries Saturday.

"We just knew we had to stop them up front running the ball and then the rest would take care of itself," Commodores defensive end Walker May said.

The Vanderbilt defense forced Tyler Murphy into three interceptions and a lost fumble. Although Florida outgained Vanderbilt 344-183, it ultimately did not matter because of the turnovers.

"If you look at it statistically, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense," Franklin said.

With Saturday's win, Vanderbilt has beaten Florida and Georgia in the same season for the first time.

But entering Saturday, the Commodores' decades of failure in Gainesville did not concern Franklin, who at age 41 was born 27 years after the last win. The coach was more concerned with winning this game for his regime.

"We've only been here three years, so we're excited to get this win," Franklin said. "All that stuff that happened 80 years ago, we don't really talk about that."

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