Game recap: Florida football falls to Vanderbilt in final SEC matchup

Ainslie Lee
Gator Sports

The Florida football team is coming off a week that saw the Gators get off to a hot start against South Carolina and go on to hammer the Gamecocks 38-6 in Florida's final homestand. 

But when the Gators (6-4, 3-4 SEC) kickoff against Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5 SEC), today at noon, "hot" won't be the word. 

Temperatures in Nashville are slated to be in the 30s when Florida and Vanderbilt kick off at noon. 

And should the Gators take their time to roll out of bed and warm up, the Commodores could jump on the opportunity to secure their second straight conference upset after Vanderbilt knocked off Kentucky 24-21 in Lexington last week. 

Meanwhile, Billy Napier and the Gators will have an opportunity to build their win streak out to three games, as well as even their SEC record at 4-4. 

What to watch for:5 storylines to watch for Gators' game at Vanderbilt

How to watch the game:When does Florida football game at Vanderbilt start? And what TV channel will they play on?

Who's back and who's out?:Florida football: WR Justin Shorter back, Xzavier Henderson out vs. Vanderbilt

3:26 p.m. | Vanderbilt wins

For the first time since 1988, the Commodores knocked off the Gators 31-24. 

Florida falls to 6-5 (3-5, SEC), while Vanderbilt improves to 5-6 (2-5 SEC). 

3:14 p.m. | Gators continue to fight

Anthony Richardson finds Daejon Reynolds for a 16-yard touchdown to help close the gap with 3:13 to play. Adam Mihalek's extra point was no good. 

Florida trails Vanderbilt 31-24. 

3:08 p.m. | Vanderbilt continues to stun Florida

The Commodores seemingly put the game on ice as Joseph Bulovas connects on a 27-yard field goal, increasing their lead out to 31-18 with 4:33 to play. 

2:39 p.m. | Florida begins its fourth-quarter rally

Knowing they had to score and do it fast, the Gators' offense drew up a 74-yard touchdown play as Anthony Richardson delivered a deep strike to Daejon Reynolds. Florida's two-point conversion was unsuccessful, allowing Vanderbilt to keep a two-possession lead. 

The Commodores lead the Gators 28-18 with 12:03 to play. 

2:23 p.m. | Commodores start to distance themselves

Capitalizing on another Florida turnover, Vanderbilt added to its lead with a 28-yard passing connection from Mike Wright to Ben Bresnahan. Vanderbilt now leads Florida 28-12 in the final minutes of the third quarter. 

2:10 p.m. | Vanderbilt builds its lead

Mike Wright fires a dart to Gavin Schoenwald, good for a 7-yard touchdown for the Commodores, who increased their lead out to nine points. Vanderbilt leads Florida 21-12 with 3:23 to play in the third quarter. 

 1:55 p.m. | Florida finds the end zone

The Gators scored their first touchdown of the game on their opening drive of the second half after Anthony Richardson and the Florida offense marched 72 yards down the field before Richardson found Montrell Johnson Jr. for a 3-yard touchdown.

The Gators' two-point conversion was unsuccessful, allowing the Commodores to keep a 14-12 lead early in the third quarter. 

1:29 p.m. | Halftime

Vanderbilt maintains its 14-6 lead at the break after the muffed punt. Florida will start with the football in the second half. 

1:16 p.m. | Commodores capitalize on Gators' muff

Vanderbilt increased its lead out to eight points after recovering a muffed punt in its own end zone, good for a touchdown. The Commodores lead the Gators 14-6 with 3:22 to play in the first half. 

1:06 p.m. | Florida tightens the gap with a second field goal

Adam Mihalek connects on his second field goal of the afternoon, splitting the uprights from 44 yards out. The Gators continue to trail the Commodores 7-6 with 4:38 to play in the second quarter. 

12:53 p.m. | Vanderbilt finds the end zone and the lead

Mike Wright finds Jayden McGowan on a 10-yard scoring connection to give the Commodores a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. 

12:19 p.m. | Gators kick their way to a 3-0 lead

Adam Mihalek connects from 26 yards out to give Florida an early 3-0 lead over Vanderbilt with 8:21 to play in the first quarter.

12:12 p.m. | Vanderbilt's BJ Anderson gets ejected

Vanderbilt football cornerback BJ Anderson was ejected for targeting early in the first half of Vanderbilt's game against Florida (6-4, 3-4 SEC) for leading with the crown of his helmet.

Because Anderson's ejection occurred in the first half, he will have to sit out the rest of the game but will be allowed to return next week against Tennessee.

The play in which Anderson was ejected was a first-down screen pass that was originally dropped for a loss by Anderson and defensive end Darren Agu. But although Agu's tackle was clean, Anderson's was deemed not to be after review. On the prior play, Anderson missed a tackle on 3rd-and-25 that could have ended the drive.

After the 15-yard penalty on Anderson, the drive continued and resulted in a Gators field goal to take a 3-0 lead over the Commodores.

-- Aria Gerson, The Tennessean

12:04 p.m. | Underway from Nashville

The Gators and Commodores have kicked off from FirstBank Stadium in Nashville. Vanderbilt will start with the football. 

11:45 a.m. | Vandy QB AJ Swann out for today's game, Mike Wright to start

Vanderbilt quarterback AJ Swann did not dress and is out for Vanderbilt football's matchup with Florida.

Swann, who suffered an injury during the Commodores' loss to South Carolina on Nov. 5, did not travel to Kentucky last week and was listed as "questionable" for the Gators game by Clark Lea.

That leaves junior Mike Wright, who led the win over the Wildcats a week ago, to start once again.

– Aria Gerson, The Tennesseean