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Sports

Driskel adds a new dimension

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 05:14 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

There have been some comparisons at Florida between Jeff Driskel and Tim Tebow.

The current Gators quarterback reluctantly acknowledges some of the reasons — his large size for a QB and ability to scramble — but refuses to say he should be considered on the same level.

But Saturday's game at Vanderbilt went a long way in explaining why some try to compare.

Driskel rushed for 92 yards on seven carries in the first half against Vanderbilt, then went over the 100-yard mark for the first time his career in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run that gave the Gators an 18-7 lead.

Driskel, who scored UF's first touchdown on a 37-yard run in the first half, added a 70-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter and finished with 177 yards — a UF record for a quarterback — on 11 carries.

Tebow went over 100 yards five times in his career at Florida, the last a 102-yard game on seven rushes against Florida International on Nov. 21, 2009. His best game running the ball was 166 yards in his 2007 Heisman Trophy season against Ole Miss.

Banged-up Gators

Florida traveled to Vanderbilt without starting OL James Wilson and DL Dominique Easley. Reasons were not disclosed prior to kickoff aside from Wilson suffering a midweek injury. Easley has been slowed by a knee problem.

Problems got worse in the first half. C Jon Harrison left the game with his right arm wrapped and Sam Robey replaced him. TE Jordan Reed also went out early after catching a pass and being hit in the eye.

OT Xavier Nixon went to the locker room in the second quarter with an injury that was not disclosed by Florida.

Defense's streak ends

After not allowing a touchdown in two-plus games, Florida's defense gave up its first touchdown in more than nine quarters when Vanderbilt went up 7-0 at the 6:45 mark in the first quarter.

The Commodores drove 66 yards in six plays, capped by Jordan Rodgers hitting Jordan Matthews in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard scoring strike.

Prior to Saturday, UF had given up just 13 points in the first quarter all season.

Roberson steps up

Sophomore CB Marcus Roberson had two huge plays back-to-back in the second quarter to stall a Vanderbilt drive.

First, he sacked Rodgers for a 9-yard loss to push the ball back to Florida's 43.

Then on third down, Roberson knocked away a Rodgers pass deep in UF territory when it looked like Vandy WR Chris Boyd would catch it for a huge gain.

Those two plays created a big momentum swing.

Noteworthy

The game was billed as "A Salute to the Armed Forces'' by Vanderbilt. Activities included a parachute drop of the game ball by the U.S. Army Special Forces' "Black Daggers,'' a group of wounded warriors participating in the anchor presentation and a 50-soldier band from the Army's 101st "Screaming Eagles'' Airborne Division participating at halftime. Vandy also honored All-America golfer and 2012 PGA Tour FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker on the field during the second quarter. … Driskel's 10 completions in the first half went to nine different receivers. … Florida's first-half touchdown drive of 91 yards was the longest of the season. … Vandy was held to 6 yards of offense in the second quarter.

David Jones, Florida Today

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