<
>

No. 23 Florida wins as sluggish Gators hold off Vandy 13-6

play
Gators need to get back to work after win over Vandy (0:40)

Florida head coach Jim McElwain discusses the Gators' performance against the Commodores. (0:40)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jordan Scarlett ran for a 4-yard touchdown with Eddy Pineiro adding a pair of field goals as No. 23 Florida held off Vanderbilt 13-6 Saturday.

Florida (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) came up with two interceptions and two sacks on a day where the Gators defense otherwise struggled against one of the nation's worst offenses with three starting linemen missing most of the game.

Ralph Webb ran for 110 yards as Vanderbilt outgained Florida 265-236 in total offense. The Commodores (2-3, 0-2) had a final chance to force overtime until Nick Washington intercepted a Wade Freebeck pass with 54 seconds left sealing the Gators' win.

The Gators never trailed and led 10-3 after Scarlett scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, and Pineiro kicked a 42-yard field goal as the half expired. Pinero added a 26-yarder with 8:17 left.

Florida had a chance to pad its lead after Vanderbilt punter Sam Loy fumbled the snap and lost the ball with 5:07 left with the Commodores trailing 13-6. But Austin Appleby fumbled the snap on second-and-goal at the Vanderbilt 1 with 2:56 left giving the Commodores one last chance.

"It's beyond me how you fumble the ball on a quarterback sneak at the end of the game," Florida coach Jim McElwain said. "It happened, and yet our defense stepped up. They had to step up twice."

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida: This set up as the perfect trap game for the Gators between Tennessee and LSU against an opponent they've dominated over the years. The Gators had the majority of the 30,565 fans in Florida colors and still came out sluggish. Still, the Gators take home their third straight win and 25th in the last 26 games in this series.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores finally showed signs of the stingy defense that ranked in the top 30 nationally in a lot of categories last season. Better yet, Webb gashed a defense that had been giving up only 76.5 yards rushing.

"This group is playing to win," Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. "We're not satisfied with moral victories. There are no moral victories in football. This team is growing up and playing extremely hard."

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Gators barely stayed inside the Top 25 after being routed by Tennessee . Voters will have to decide how impressive Florida was against Vanderbilt.

DEFENSIVE SHOW

Vanderbilt had forced only two three-and-outs in each of the Commodores' past three games. The Commodores opened this game forcing the Gators three-and-out on their first two drives. Adam Butler also had two sacks on one drive, the second forcing a Gators' punt, for a defense that hadn't managed more than one sack in each of the past three games.

UP NEXT

Florida: The Gators return home to host LSU, the only SEC team to beat the Gators during the regular season last year in winning the Eastern Division.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores visit Kentucky still looking for their first SEC win.

---

Online:

AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org and AP-Top 25 Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker