Posted October 09, 2012 on AP on Fox
Sandwiched between contests against top-five opponents, Florida faces a Vanderbilt team it hasn't lost to in nearly a quarter-century. While the matchup has the making of a potential trap game, Will Muschamp insists his team is not about to overlook the Commodores, especially after surviving a close call against them at home a year ago. Coming off an emotional victory, the fourth-ranked Gators go for their 22nd straight win over Vanderbilt on Saturday in Nashville. Florida (5-0, 4-0 SEC) moved up six spots in the latest poll after defeating then-No. 4 LSU 14-6 last Saturday. Mike Gillislee ran for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns while the defense limited the Tigers to 200 yards in avenging last season's 41-11 loss in Baton Rouge. "They beat us down last year,'' said safety Matt Elam, who forced a key fumble. "We had something to prove.'' The Commodores (2-3, 1-2) are fully aware of what it's like to be beaten down by an SEC rival, having dropped 21 straight to the Gators since a 24-9 win in 1988. Despite the one-sided series with Vanderbilt - loser of 15 straight against ranked teams - and a home contest versus No. 3 South Carolina next weekend, Florida is focused on the task at hand. "Our guys have worked hard and I don't see a whole lot of difference in how they approach every day and how they've approached each game so far this year," Muschamp said. "We're not going to put any more hours in as coaches this week than we did a week ago, we're not going put any less, either. We're going to prepare very similar to what we've done thus far in the season, as far as what we've got to do to be successful and that's winning the football game." Winning came easy for the Gators against the Commodores from 2007-10, with the games decided by an average of 30.0 points. It was a different story last season, though, as Florida pulled out a 26-21 victory. Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns and also scored on an 8-yard run. "He's a guy that's very effective throwing it but he will pull down in any spot and run the ball, so pass rush discipline is going to be key." Muschamp said. "He hurt us with his legs last year and he hurt us throwing the ball. He's a guy that in every call you have to understand that there could be an option situation." Rodgers didn't have one of his better games last Saturday against Missouri, finishing with a season-low 182 passing yards and an interception, but Vanderbilt's defense came up big in a 19-15 victory. The Commodores did have the advantage of facing a redshirt freshman quarterback after the Tigers' starter got injured. Though they won't be lined up against one of the nation's premier passers this week, stopping Gillislee poses a whole other set of challenges. The Gators make no secret about running the ball - their 47.2 attempts per game are among the nation's most - but the combination of a physical offensive line and Gillislee's ability to hit the hole makes it hard to stop. Jeff Driskel attempted just 12 passes against LSU and Florida ran on its final 25 snaps, but the Tigers still couldn't stuff Gillislee. The senior, who leads the SEC with 109.6 rushing yards per game, didn't finish with a negative run on any of his 34 attempts. "I think that's where talent, size and power come in," Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said of Florida's ground game. "They have a really good offensive line that has grown and matured, and they have a really good back who can make plays." The Commodores have had little luck stopping the run in their two games against ranked foes, surrendering a combined 507 rushing yards against South Carolina and Georgia.
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