Florida stops slide by beating Vanderbilt

Florida 26, Vanderbilt 21

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jeff Demps ran for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, shouldering the load because of Chris Rainey’s ankle injury, and Florida beat Vanderbilt 26-21 Saturday to end a four-game skid.

Teammates and fans cheer as Florida running back Jeff Demps runs for a 52-yard touchdown against Vanderbilt. Demps had a career-high 158 yards in the victory.  John Raoux/Associated Press
John Raoux/Associated Press
Teammates and fans cheer as Florida running back Jeff Demps runs for a 52-yard touchdown against Vanderbilt. Demps had a career-high 158 yards in the victory.

The Gators now have won 21 in a row against the Commodores, extending their dominance in a series that has been one-sided since 1989.

The latest one was one of the closest in recent years.

Florida (5-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) led 17-0 at halftime and could have been up more had it not been for a missed field goal and a fumble at the goal line. But Vanderbilt (4-5, 1-5) scored on consecutive drives in the second half, cutting the lead to 20-14, and had a chance to move ahead.

It didn’t happen. Florida took advantage of two penalties to keep a drive alive, and Demps went untouched for a 52-yard score with 2:13 remaining.

KENTUCKY 30, MISSISSIPPI 13

In Lexington, Ky., Maxwell Smith threw for 283 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter as Kentucky beat Mississippi.

Smith, a freshman. had 128 yards passing at halftime, but the Wildcats couldn’t quite reach the red zone as four drives ended between the Ole Miss 30-yard line and the 50.

Using deep passes in the second half, the Wildcats (4-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) took a 16-13 lead on Smith’s 38-yard touchdown to La’Rod King with 12:22 left.

After forcing the Rebels (2-7, 0-6) into two punts, Smith put the game out of reach with a 56-yard pass to King that set up an 8-yard touchdown throw to Gene McCaskill.

CoShik Williams had 111 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Kentucky.

TENNESSEE 24, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 0

In Knoxville, Tenn., Tauren Poole ran for two touchdowns as Tennessee beat Middle Tennessee 24-0 on Saturday night.

The Vols (4-5) cruised to their 26th homecoming victory in 28 seasons after a month that saw them lose four consecutive games to Southeastern Conference opponents.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 55, TENNESSEE-MARTIN 17

In Starkville, Miss., Vick Ballard rushed for two touchdowns, and the two-pronged quarterback system of Chris Relf and Tyler Russell combined for three scores as Mississippi State rolled past Tennessee-Martin..

Ballard, who has 27 career touchdowns in 21 games, gained 102 yards on 11 carries and scored a pair of first-half touchdowns as Mississippi State (5-4) won consecutive games for the first time this season.


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