NASHVILLE -- The University of Florida prevailed Saturday night against Vanderbilt 31-17 despite playing without two key players and losing several more through the course of the game.
According to a school release just before kickoff, offensive lineman James Wilson did not travel to with the team after sustaining an undisclosed injury in practice last week.
Wilson had started all of Florida’s first five games at left guard and had been playing at a high level for the Gators.
Redshirt sophomore Ian Silberman replaced him in the starting lineup.
Defensive end Dominique Easley traveled with the team but did not dress for Saturday’s game.
Freshman Jonathan Bullard started in his place at left defensive end.
Center Jonotthan Harrison (elbow) left during the first quarter Saturday and did not return.
It was unclear how Harrison injured his elbow.
Tight end Jordan Reed was gouged in the eye early in the first half and sat out the remainder of the half. He returned on Florida’s first drive of the third quarter.
Starting left tackle Xavier Nixon also sustained an injury in the first half, leaving the field with eight minutes to play in the second quarter. He was replaced by freshman D.J. Humphries, making it three reserves playing on the offensive line for Florida.
Near the end of the first half, freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman injured his right knee after colliding with Omarius Hines on a running play near the goal line. He also did not return.
Defensive tackle Damien Jacobs also went down with a knee injury early in the third quarter.
He had to be helped from the field by trainers.
Starting weak-side linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb) dressed for the game with a club on his right hand but did not play.
Flags pile up
for florida again
Florida entered Saturday in a tie for 86th nationally with 38 penalties, and that number increased drastically in the first half as the Gators racked up seven flags for 55 yards.
Although the flags ran the gamut from false-start penalties to personal fouls, the most costly came near the end of the half.
Following a timeout, the Gators were flagged for having too many men on the field when they had 13 men lined up on second-and-goal from the Vanderbilt 1-yard line.
Coach Will Muschamp tried to call a timeout but was unsuccessful, and the offense was backed up to the 6 and had to settle for a field goal to make the score 11-7 at halftime.
To that point, Florida had scored touchdowns on six consecutive trips into the red zone.
Another slow start for UF
During the first quarter Saturday night, Florida had just 66 yards of total offense and was 0 for 3 on third-down conversions.
The Gators came out flat on defense as well, allowing several big plays, and trailed the Commodores 7-0 after 15 minutes.
Vanderbilt picked up 88 yards of total offense and five first downs, and quarterback Jordan Rodgers was 3-of-6 passing for 54 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.
Florida has been outscored 27-17 in the first quarter of its games this season and has been outgained 579-378.
But the Gators have also been able to rebound in the second half of games this season, outscoring opponents 78-13 and 41-0 in the fourth quarter.