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No. 5 Gators Rout Vanderbilt

Coach Steve Spurrier is still waiting for fifth-ranked Florida to dominate an opponent.

Doug Johnson threw for 460 yards and four touchdowns as the Gators routed Vanderbilt 45-13 Saturday in a game in which the score could have been worse.

The Gators (8-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) scored 28 points within the first 16 minutes, and had their best offensive day this season, rolling up 571 yards to Vandy's 232.

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  • "We're getting close to playing the way we used to. We're getting close," said Spurrier, who broke a tie with former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer with his 91st victory at Florida for most victories in the first nine years by a major college coach.

    The offense continued to have problems holding onto the ball, committing three turnovers which Vanderbilt (2-7, 1-5) turned into 10 points. Florida's defense, which hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season, gave up 101 yards to Jared McGrath.

    When Florida's offense was clicking, it looked great.

    Florida scored quickly with all but one of its drives lasting under three minutes. The quickest came on Vanderbilt's first possession when Jevon Kearse blocked Joe Webb's punt into the air. Mike Peterson grabbed the ball at the Vandy 27 and ran in for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

    "Finally, we're clicking a little better than before," offensive tackle Cooper Carlisle said. "That should help us on the way."

    Vanderbilt, with coach Woody Widenhofer's complex defensive schemes, has given Florida trouble the last three seasons. But Vandy is last in the SEC this season and playing with five freshmen on defense.

    Florida an Vanderbilt
    Florida's Darrell Jackson hauls in a touchdown pass in the second quarter Saturday. (AP)

    The Gators' offensive line gave Johnson plenty of time to find open receivers as the Commodores tried to blitz repeatedly. He completed 10 of his first 12 passes for 272 yards, hooking up on TD passes of 59, 52 and 11 yards, and he added a 9-yard TD to Travis McGriff in the third quarter.

    "Doug Johnson just got hot, and he hit all of those slants and fades," Widenhofer said. "They are a great team, and it is hard to get back out of a hole for a freshman football team against Florida."

    Johnson, pulled mid-series in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, finished two yards short of Danny Wuerffel's school record for passing yards in a game. He was 24-of-39 with one interception.

    "I couldn't say this was my best game," Johnson said. "They used a lot of one-on-one coverage, and if our receivers could get by them, then we knew they would be wide open."

    Instead of putting Vanderbilt away, the Gators started struggling midway through the second quarter. Three of their last four possessions ended with punts, and freshman linebacker Chuck Losey stopped the other when he intercepted Johnson's pass at the Vandy 39.

    "We went bad," Spurrier said. "We couldn't score anymore. They blitzed us and zone-blitzed, dropped out a lineman. We lobbed it right to him. We were trying to get to 35 or 42 at the half, to tell you the truth."

    The Gators' defense was more than enough to stop a Vandy offense playing without its starting quarterback and tailback.

    Backup David Wallace was either off target or his receivers simply dropped the ball as he finished 13-of-35 for 78 yards. He managed an 8-yard TD pass to Billy Miller with 2:35 left, but it was way too late.

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