The No. 14 Florida Gators (5-1, 3-1 SEC) were impressive on Saturday, taking down a top-5 team in then-No. 5 LSU with a game-sealing pick-six by safety Brad Stewart. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium erupted, and the emotion in that moment was uncontrollable for many of the 90,000 strong that were in attendance.
Take it from someone who witnessed it (or maybe just watch the video below), the Swamp went absolutely bananas.
For as great of a game that it was for the Gators, it’s now in the past, and the team can’t allow the emotion from that contest to negatively impact how they play moving forward. It has to be business as usual this week with a potential trap game against Vandy in Nashville up next for UF.
Coach Dan Mullen realizes the challenge that Vanderbilt will present to Florida on Saturday, and he talked a bit about it on Monday at his press conference. “Playing obviously a tough team in Vanderbilt this week, a very veteran quarterback, the league’s leading wide receiver, a veteran offensive line,” Mullen said. “They can hit you with explosive plays or with ball control, and they have an excellent defense. And this game’s been pretty close over the past couple years.”
Mullen continues to preach the importance of mental toughness to his team and according to him, his guys continue to buy in. “As it keeps going, it’s the multitude of games, it’s not just one, it’s about that mental toughness from one game to the next to the next to the next,” Mullen reminded the media. “I think our guys have done a great job of that.”
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks came in to speak to the media right after his head coach, and when he was asked what the team needed to do to avoid a letdown, his answer mimicked Mullen’s comments. “It’s another SEC road game, and it’s not easy to win road games, let alone just an SEC game in general,” Franks said. “We can’t take them lightly, just gotta continue to prepare, gotta have a good practice today.”
Although many expect UF, especially with the way they’ve been playing lately, to go into Nashville and handle the Commodores, it’s hard to ignore the recent history between the two schools. In 2015, the Gators won a 9-7 slugfest that gave them the SEC East title, and in 2016, UF managed to hold on in a low-scoring affair, 13-6. Even last year, it was 31-24 in the final minutes before Malik Davis’ game-sealing touchdown.
The Gators will look to improve to 6-1 when they battle the Commodores from Nashville on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for noon ET.
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