GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It was beyond ugly for most of the day for Florida's offense, but when everything was on the line, the Gators turned to their kicker.
The position that has given Florida so many problems this season saved the Gators' SEC Eastern Division title hopes when the much-maligned Austin Hardin nailed a 43-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining in No. 10 Florida's 9-7 win over Vanderbilt.
Florida (8-1, 6-1 SEC) totaled six possessions that started in Vanderbilt territory, yet came away with just nine points and 256 total yards.
What the win means for Florida: The Gators won the East for the first time since 2009. However, the offense has to get much, much better if the Gators are going to win out and have a chance to win the SEC in Atlanta and play in the College Football Playoff. On Saturday, quarterback Treon Harris was a dismal 12-of-24 for 158 yards and an interception, while the offensive line was mostly dominated up front. The Gators go to South Carolina next week.
What the loss means for Vanderbilt: This had to be a heartbreaker for Vanderbilt (3-6, 1-4). The Commodores' only score came on a 74-yard touchdown run from Gainesville native Ralph Webb, but the offense was abysmal for most of the afternoon. Vandy's defense kept the Dores in the game all day, though. It was a masterful performance by a unit that defended Harris nearly perfectly by spying him all game. Vandy is officially out of the SEC East race and faces Kentucky next.
Stat of the game: Florida entered the day with six turnovers on the season and leading the SEC with a turnover margin of plus-13. The Gators turned the ball over four times against the Commodores, including three times in the red zone.
Unsung hero: Defensive end Alex McCalister lived in Vandy's backfield Saturday. He led the Gators with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. He also came up with a crucial sack on Vandy's final drive to help seal Florida's win.