Vanderbilt 34, Florida 17: Gators fall, 2013 season on the brink of complete failure

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators' season is now on the brink of complete failure: win two of the next three or no bowl game. And we all know what that means.

Suddenly, there it was.

Looking the Florida Gators right in the face.

A season that has fallen apart due to a plethora of reasons. Reasons — problems — that would crumble any team. Too many and too outlandish expectations, a storm of injuries, a questionable coaching staff, a lack of playmakers. Add in five, eight, 50 more reasons: You'd be hard pressed to find any complaints.

At the half against the Vanderbilt Commodores the Gators trailed 17-3, in part due to Tyler Murphy's lack of situational awareness, Austin Hardin's missed field goal and Antonio Morrison's inability to make even the simplest of tackles.

Murphy threw two bad (and costly) interceptions, each into double coverage, one overthrown and one underthrown, leading to 14 points for the Commodores. Meanwhile, drives continued to stall in part due to the play-calling of offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who at this point probably couldn't coordinate his family's holiday weekend.

The Gators had more total yards than the Commodores at the half, 140 to 92, but the turnovers were the difference: The Gators committed three, all Murphy's responsibility, and the 'Dores had zero.

Things didn't improve in the third quarter.

Murphy began the Gators' first drive by throwing behind Trey Burton so badly that the ball was intercepted and almost returned for a touchdown. Vanderbilt would score two plays later and extend their lead to 24-3 — the Gators' biggest deficit of the year.

One of the few bright spots for the Gators on the day was Kelvin Taylor, who did everything in his power to get the Gators back into the football game. His rushing touchdown from four yards out narrowed the the score 24-10 in favor of the Commodores with a little over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

But the third quarter drew to a close with the Commodores knocking on the door to put the game away, and the 'Dores scored the touchdown we all expected on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend their lead once again, this time to 31-10.

Just like last week against the Georgia Bulldogs, the Gators did their best to get back into the game late. This time the hero was freshman Ahmad Fulwood, who made an amazing catch of a tipped pass in the endzone to bring the Gators to within two touchdowns.

However, the Gators would fail to recover an onside kick, and Vanderbilt would add a field goal late, bringing us to the final score of 34-17.

Despite the final stats suggesting the game should have gone differently, it was the turnovers that proved to be the difference.

Murphy finished the game 30-of-46 for 305 yards and a touchdown, and three interceptions. The Gators' two-headed rushing attack, Taylor and Mack Brown, combined for 24 carries for 79 yards and one touchdown.

The leading receiver for the Gators was Quinton Dunbar, who had six catches for 78 yards.

Florida fell to 4-5, and now owns its first losing record since 1988. The Gators must win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible — and with games against South Carolina and Florida State in that mix, the odds look outlandishly long.

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