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Chomp: Florida gets lackluster win over Vandy amid wild college football weekend

Florida head coach Dan Mullenv calls out instructions in front of quarterback Emory Jones during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Gainesville.
Florida head coach Dan Mullenv calls out instructions in front of quarterback Emory Jones during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Gainesville. (AP photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.


Florida’s 42-0 home victory over Vanderbilt hardly registered on the radar of a crazy college football Saturday. But during the game, the spotlight was squarely on Emory Jones.

Jones had a career-high four touchdown passes, while Anthony Richardson played sparingly for the second straight week.

RECAP: Jones’ career day helps Florida blank Vanderbilt 42-0

The Gators were inconsistent at times, and coach Dan Mullen wasn’t pleased with their first-half performance in which Florida (4-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) led 21-0. He ripped into players at halftime and finally got them going with a fake punt on the fourth play of the third quarter.

In addition to Jones’ performance, there were some signs of progress by Florida. Gators Breakdown host David Waters goes over those and reviews the win over the Commodores in this episode. You can also hear from other fans in the latest episode of Gators Breakdown.

The win was Florida’s eighth straight in the series with Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-2) and its 30th in the last 31 meetings.

📈📉 New No. 1 after thrilling college football Saturday

The Gators didn’t see much movement in the polls after Saturday’s lackluster win, remaining at No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and rising one spot to No. 17 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.

But there was a big shakeup at the top of each poll after the historic loss by defending national champion Alabama to unranked Texas A&M.

Here are a few reasons why the loss was so significant:

  • It was Nick Saban’s first loss to a former assistant (Jimbo Fisher). Entering Saturday’s game, Saban was 24-0 in those matchups.
  • It was Alabama’s first loss since a 48-45 road loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30, 2019.
  • The loss ended the Crimson Tide’s streak of 100 wins over unranked teams that dated back to a victory over Colorado in the 2007 Independence Bowl at the end of Saban’s first season leading Alabama.

The Tide slipped four spots in both polls to No. 5, and the Aggies reentered each poll’s top 25, coming in at No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 18 in the Coaches Poll.

So, now there’s a new No. 1: Georgia, which took care of business on the road and defeated now-unranked Auburn 34-10. It’s the first time the Bulldogs have been in the AP Poll’s top spot during the regular season since November 1982.

AP TOP 25 TAKEAWAYS: Georgia is No. 1, Big Ten grabs half of top 10

In a thrilling game of back-and-forth scoring, Ole Miss — now No. 13 in the AP Poll and No. 14 in the Coaches Poll — held on to beat Arkansas 52-51 in a home game that ended when the Razorbacks went for a two-point attempt instead of trying to tie the game with the extra point and failed to convert. Arkansas is now No. 17 in the AP Poll and No. 19 in the Coaches Poll.

Also in the SEC, Kentucky, coming off the win over Florida, dominated unranked LSU 42-21.. The Wildcats have quickly soared up in the rankings and are currently in the No. 11 spot in both polls.

And future SEC teams Oklahoma — now No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 3 in the Coaches Poll — and Texas, now No. 25 in the AP Poll, also entertained in the Red River Rivalry game in Dallas, with the Sooners coming back from a 21-point deficit to beat the Longhorns, 55-48.

Now-No. 2 Iowa also came from behind to beat Penn State at home, 23-20. The Nittany Lions dropped to No. 7 in the AP Poll and No. 8 in the Coaches Poll.

Here are the entire AP Poll and the full Coaches Poll released Sunday.

Blades no longer with team

As first reported by The Athletic, cornerback Elijah Blades, a graduate transfer from Texas A&M, is no longer with the Florida football team.

Nick de la Torre, with Gators Territory, reported Monday that Mullen confirmed the news.

He tweeted: “Dan Mullen on Elijah Blades: ‘We dismissed him from our program. He’s no longer with the team. I met with him and dismissed him from the program yesterday.”

It’s another hit to Florida’s secondary. The Vanderbilt game was the Gators’ third without Kaiir Elam, who is recovering from a sprained right knee. The unit is also without Jaydon Hill, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee before the start of the season.

📺 LSU game to be broadcast on ESPN

While it was already announced that the Gators’ road game this week against LSU was slated for noon, we now know it will be broadcast on ESPN.

CBS opted to televise Auburn at No. 17 Arkansas at noon, followed by Kentucky at Georgia in the traditional afternoon window at 3:30 p.m.

It’s the second weekend in a row that CBS has had doubleheaders.

We’ll preview the Florida-LSU game in our Thursday edition of the newsletter, but with the Tigers’ coming off back-to-back losses and speculation underway about the future of Tigers coach Ed Orgeron, this will be a pivotal contest for the Gators. Florida has dropped four of the last five games in Baton Rouge.

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About the Author:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4Jax in March 2016.