GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s injury-riddled season has reached a new low – and it likely will end without a bowl trip.
Tyler Murphy’s four turnovers led to three touchdowns, helping Vanderbilt embarrass Florida 34-17 Saturday for the program’s first win in Gainesville since 1945.
The Commodores snapped a 22-game losing streak in the lopsided series and moved a step closer to becoming bowl eligible for the third consecutive season under coach James Franklin.
Franklin also notched another signature win, giving Vanderbilt victories over Southeastern Conference powerhouses Georgia and Florida in the same season for the first time in school history.
“The difference in the game was turnovers,” Franklin said. “Our defense was able to get turnovers. If you look at it statistically, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But because of the turnovers ... our offense was in short field a lot of times, and that was the difference of the game.”
Murphy was Vandy’s MVP.
The Commodores (5-4, 2-4) scored after each of Murphy’s three interceptions, building a 24-3 lead after getting the ball inside the 22-yard line three times. Vanderbilt finished with 12 first downs and 187 yards. Florida had 26 first downs and 353 yards.
Once ranked, Florida has its second four-game losing streak in coach Will Muschamp’s three seasons, fueling more speculation about his future.
“I certainly don’t like the product we are putting on the field, and that’s my responsibility,” Muschamp said. “I take full credit for that. When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s not good, it’s not good – and it hasn’t been good. And that’s on me.
“I’m not asking for anybody to be happy. I’m not asking anybody to give a pass. This is the real deal. This is the University of Florida. My expectation I’ll guarantee is as high or higher than anyone sitting in those stands. There’s nobody more let down or hurt or competitive-edge dented a little bit by this. So it’s on me. We’ll get it turned. I can assure you that.”
Murphy completed 28 of 45 passes for 297 yards, but his turnovers were key.
MISSISSIPPI 34, ARKANSAS 24
In Oxford, Miss., Bo Wallace danced in the pocket for a few seconds and then double clutched. It looked like a play ripe to end with a bad decision.
Instead, the junior threw another beautiful pass in a career-day full of them, hitting Ja-Mes Logan in stride for a 75-yard touchdown that sparked the Rebels to a 34-24 win over Arkansas on Saturday.
Wallace completed 26 of 33 passes for a career-high 407 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions as Ole Miss (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) earned bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season under coach Hugh Freeze.
“Six wins isn’t our goal, but it’s good to get it over with,” Wallace said. “We’re not trying to go to a 6-6 bowl, we’re trying to go to a 9-win bowl.”
Arkansas (3-7, 0-6) has lost seven in a row. The loss assured there will be no postseason for the Razorbacks and first-year coach Bret Bielema.
Arkansas kept the game tight for much of the afternoon, pulling within 20-17 on Kiero Small’s 1-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
But the Rebels broke it open with two long touchdown passes – the 75-yard strike to Logan and a 52-yarder to Donte Moncrief – and the Razorbacks never seriously threatened again.
Moncrief caught seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown while Logan added five catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. It’s the first time two Ole Miss players have had at least 100 yards receiving in a game since 2003.