Vanderbilt plays host Saturday to No. 6 Florida, which is back on the road for its first away game since the Texas A&M loss.
The Gators (5-1) will be aiming for their fourth-straight win and sixth in a row over Vandy, while Commodores (0-6) are still searching for their first victory of the season.
Here are three keys to Saturday’s game, which will kickoff at noon (ET) on ESPN.
Win on third down
The Commodores rank 10th or lower in the SEC in more than 10 statistical categories, but third down is one area they’re not awful at. Vandy is sixth in the league in both third-down conversions and third-down defense.
If the Gators are going to dominate this game as expected, they need to win the money down on both sides of the ball. UF has performed well on third down offensively, ranking fourth in the SEC, while the defense has moved up to eighth in opponent third-down conversations after some early-season woes.
2. Pour on the points
This game could be over before the first quarter ends if the Gators come out firing on all cylinders. They’re capable of running up of the scoreboard with a scoring offense that ranks No. 2 in the country at 45.8 points per game.
Vanderbilt, meanwhile, is tied for 100th nationally in scoring defense, surrendering 35.8 points per game. Florida could reach that by halftime, but it needs to set the tone from the opening drive and take the wind out of Vandy’s sails by pouring on points early and often.
3. Sacks on Seal
The pass rush has been elevated by the return of starting defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, and UF now ranks first in the SEC in sacks (19.0) and tackles for loss (40.0. Vanderbilt’s offense line will have its hands full Saturday, but pass protection is another area the ‘Dores don’t struggle with mightily.
They ranked sixth in the SEC in sacks allowed, giving up 11.0 so far this season. Vandy will look to neutralize Florida’s pressure with quick passes and misdirection, so the Gators need to play discipline and don’t over-pursue. Most importantly, they need to get after freshman Ken Seals and sack him a few times.