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Florida's Kyle Trask throws a pass against South Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Columbia, SC. Florida defeated South Carolina 38-27. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Gators Get One Step Closer to New Heights in Win Over Vanderbilt

Seven games down, and three to go for the Gators.

Three touchdown passes closer to the Heisman if you are Kyle Trask. For the record, three is the fewest number of touchdown passes Trask has had this year. Regardless, it was enough for the Gators to pick up another win, beating Vanderbilt, 38-17.

A Wacky First Quarter

It was not exactly the start the Gators had planned on when they took the field in Nashville. It was the Commodores who scored first. Quarterback Ken Seals found wide receiver Chris Pierce Jr. for a 16-yard touchdown pass to give Vandy an early 7-0 lead.

The Gators did respond quickly. Quarterback Kyle Trask completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Kadarius Toney to tied the game 7-7. Vanderbilt would lead at the end of the first quarter, however, with a 10-7 lead.

The pass coverage just was not there for the first 15 regulation minutes. Even against a 0-6 team, a lingering problem looked to creeping up on Florida. It appears that the Gators realized this chose to play shutdown the rest of the game.

No Trouble the Rest of the Way

The Gators held the Commodores scoreless the rest of the half, and they would score one more time. Florida head coach Dan Mullen said tightening up the defense and playing better coverage helped the defense get it together.

Meanwhile, Evan McPherson tied the game on a 33-yard field goal, and Trask followed it up with his 30th touchdown of the season. With that touchdown, Trask passed Joe Burrow for most touchdowns through seven games. Burrow accomplished this feat just a season ago. The Gators took the lead and gave it back.

To start the second half, Dameon Pierce carried the ball across the goal line to extend the Gators lead to 24-10. On the next drive, Trask extended his record with a touchdown pass to Kemore Gamble, making it 31-10. Trask needed one more touchdown pass to tied the NCAA record. However, he would not get there.

Vanderbilt would score one last time when Seals found Pierce Jr. again for a 58-yard touchdown.

Emory Jones picked up a touchdown pass to make it 38-17, and that would be the final.

Defensive back Kaiier Elam said the Gators will appreciate this win, especially when its against an SEC opponent

Sure, this was a win over Vanderbilt. But you have to pick up the easy wins too, you know. The Gators are a game closer to their first appearance in the SEC Championship game since 2016. The Gators win puts them in a spot to possibly climb higher in the AP Poll, and the first College Football Playoff poll is days away.

This is indisputably the best position the Gators have been this far into a season in the playoff era. Picking up this one easy one gets them one step closer to getting a coveted top-four spot to reach their first playoff.

The Gators return next Saturday. Instead of the usual post-Thanksgiving game against FSU, the Gators will face the Kentucky Wildcats. Kickoff is set for noon.

About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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