NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Wright threw three touchdown passes and Vanderbilt upset Florida 31-24 on Saturday afternoon for its second straight Southeastern Conference victory.
Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5) took a 7-3 lead and never looked back against Florida (6-5, 3-5). The loss ended a two-game win streak for the Gators, who had won their last eight games against Vanderbilt.
Florida opened the scoring with a 26-yard field goal by Adam Mihalek and managed nothing but a 44-yard Mihalek field goal the rest of the half.
Vanderbilt took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter when Mike Wright connected with Jayden McGowan for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Commodores weren’t finished.
With 3:22 left in the first half, Florida’s Jason Marshall Jr. fumbled a punt from Vanderbilt’s Matthew Hayball at the Gators’ 5-yard line. The ball rolled into the end zone where it was recovered by Wesley Schelling for the touchdown and a 14-6 Vanderbilt lead at the half.
Florida struck on its first possession of the third quarter. Anthony Richardson found running back Montrell Johnson Jr. on the right side for a 3-yard scoring pass to get the Gators within 14-12. A two-point conversion pass failed.
Wright connected with flanker Gavin Schoenwald for a 7-yard touchdown with 3:22 left in the third and Vanderbilt led 21-12.
Jaylen Mahoney picked off a Richardson pass and the Commodores took over at the Florida 28-yard line. Wright fired a scoring strike to tight end Ben Bresnahan on first down and the Commodores took a 28-12 lead into the final quarter.
Richardson connected with Daejon Reynolds for a 74-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Florida trailed 28-18 after the two-point conversion pass failed again.
Joseph Bulovas kicked a 27-yard field goal with 4:38 left to play to extend Vanderbilt’s lead to 31-18.
Richardson passed to Reynolds for a 16-yard score with 3:13 remaining to cap the scoring for Florida.
Florida: The Gators defense extended its shutout streak to seven quarters in a row holding the Commodores to 94 yards in the first quarter including zero yards on the Commodores’ first drive.
The streak ended in the second quarter when Vanderbilt took a 7-3 lead. The Gators gave the 81-yard drive by Vanderbilt a huge assist with a pair of 15-yard penalties for unnecessary roughness and a facemask. The Gators were penalized seven times for 80 yards in the game.
Vanderbilt: With the wins at Kentucky and at home against Florida, the Commodores have won two SEC games in a row for the first time since 2018 when they beat Ole Miss and Tennessee. At 5-6 they are one win away from being bowl eligible.
A knack for recovering fumbles continued to be a plus for the Commodores. They entered the game with 10 fumble recoveries tying for second in the SEC and 13th nationally.
Florida: The Gators are on the road at No. 20 Florida State for the final regular-season game.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores host fifth-ranked Tennessee in the regular-season finale.
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