Pat Dooley Grades The Gators (VANDERBILT vs. FLORIDA )

The Tailgate’s Pat Dooley grades the Gators after their 38-14 win Saturday over Vanderbilt in The Swamp:

OFFENSE B+

First half: Florida was able to be balanced and had three nice drives to take the halftime lead. There were a few boos when Florida threw a screen pass on third-and-23, but there aren’t a lot of good plays you can call on third-and-23.

Second half: There were not many highlights during the third quarter, because Florida’s offense was stuck in the mud. The fourth quarter was the way to finish a game like that. The young guys like Arlis Boardingham and Tre Wilson were a glimpse into the future.

For the game: Vanderbilt has been struggling on defense so Florida should be able to move the ball and score five touchdowns, which it did. There are still way too many offensive penalties.

DEFENSE B

First half: If you take away the one play – an 85-yard touchdown pass where Will Sheppard should have been called for a facemask – Florida only allowed 152 yards in the half. They also stopped Vandy on a pair of fourth downs and limited the Commodores to 1-for-7 on third down.

Second half: The Gators were able to keep Vandy at bay in a third quarter where the offense went stagnant and then shut down a pretty decent Commodores’ offense in the fourth. There were a lot of guys who played well, but now we get to see if they can do it on the road.

For the game: Other than that first play, let’s remember Vanderbilt came into this game feeling pretty salty about the offense. Florida was able to pressure QB Ken Seals with a four-man rush and the secondary had a ton of pass break-ups.

SPECIAL TEAMS B

First half: It was actually a good half for the special teams, if uneventful. Jeremy Crawshaw’s 64-yard punt to the five was a big play and Trey Smack was perfect on extra points. It was the Vandy special teams that made the mistakes.

Second half: In a game with this kind of score, it’s difficult to imagine that a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter matters, but it did, as Smack gave Florida that three-score cushion.

For the game: OK, so the special teams were pretty good this week and the other team made a handful of big special teams mistakes. That’s what should happen when you have superior athletes. I’m not lecturing, just saying what I think.

OVERALL B+

This was a game that Florida as a program could not afford to lose. It was still a bit uneven, but Florida was able to put it away with a big fourth quarter. This team is going to have to play better on the road, but any chances of bowl eligibility are still alive thanks to a win over an 18-point underdog. Hey, you have to take what you can get.

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