Vanderbilt On Fire: Commodores Beat Florida For 1st Time In Nashville Since 1988, Win 2nd Straight In SEC - Now Tennessee

The Vanderbilt Commodores are one win away from bowl eligibility.

Vanderbilt upset 14-point favorite Florida, 31-24, Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium for its first win over the Gators in Nashville since 1988, and only its second win over Florida in 32 games. The Commodores beat Florida 34-17 in Gainesville in 2013.

Just last week, Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5 SEC) broke an 0-26 dryspell in the SEC with a 24-21 at Kentucky. And the Commodores have now won two straight in the SEC for the first time since 2018 when it beat Ole Miss and Tennessee.

Vanderbilt can become bowl eligible with a win over No. 5 Tennessee next week. Florida dropped to 6-5 and 3-5 going into its regular season finale at No. 20 Florida State on Friday. The Commodores last went to a bowl in the 2018 season.

Vanderbilt Coach Clark Lea Predicted Victory ... Sort Of

"I told them last week we're going to do more of these celebrations," Vanderbilt second-year coach Clark Lea said. "We want to fight for postseason. That's what we'll do. Proud of them."

Lea, a former defensive coordinator at Notre Dame under then-coach Brian Kelly, went 2-10 and 0-8 in the SEC in his first season at Vanderbilt last season.

The Commodores led 14-6 at the half after a 7-yard fumble return for a touchdown by long snapper Wesley Schelling. Quarterback Mike Wright threw two touchdowns in the third quarter for a 28-12 lead, and Vanderbilt held on.

Wright completed 10 of 16 passes for 108 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. Tailback Ray Davis led all rushers with 122 yards on 30 carries for the Commodores.

Commodores Held Off Late Rally By Florida

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson had much better numbers than Wright, but in a losing cause. He hit 25 of 42 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. Richardson got the Gators within 28-18 early in the fourth quarter on a 74-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Daejon Reynods.

Richardson hit Reynolds again for a 16-yard touchdown to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 31-24 with 3:13 remaining. Florida reached the Vanderbilt 34-yard line in the final seconds, but a desperation heave by Richardson fell incomplete to end the game.

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Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.