October 19, 2018

Florida Gators

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  Gators looking to avoid Vandy trap

After an emotional win against LSU, Florida is brimming with confidence.

But the last thing that head coach Dan Mullen wants is for the Gators to feel overconfident heading into a Saturday matchup at reeling Vanderbilt.

No. 14 Florida (5-1, 3-1 SEC) is coming off its third straight win, knocking off LSU 27-19 in a charged atmosphere at The Swamp. Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2 SEC) is still seeking its first conference win of the season and is coming off a 41-13 loss at Georgia

"I've played in games up there," Mullen said. "It's going to be a different atmosphere than what we've seen. It doesn't have to affect our performance on the field and how we play and how we execute and how we practice all week.

"It's not going to affect that. So, for our guys to have any thought, except for how hard I can go on the next play, would be us taking a step backward as a team. That has to be the focus of everybody within the program."

Florida took a step forward in its LSU win, rallying from a 19-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to pull off its first win against a top five opponent since knocking off No. 3 Ole Miss on Oct. 3, 2015. Florida won with balance on offense (215 yards rushing, 176 yards passing) and a defense that recorded five sacks and three turnovers.

"The biggest thing is to not let our improvement that we keep making slip up," Florida junior receiver Josh Hammond said. "We've got to continue to get better, get better, get better and let that propel us into the game on Saturday."

Florida starting QB Feleipe Franks has already shown he can handle hostile road environments this season, leading the Gators to back-to-back wins at Tennessee and Mississippi State in late September. Franks, a redshirt sophomore, will need to continue to play with poise in his 15th career start.

"It's not easy to win road games, let alone an SEC game in general," Franks said. "We can't take them lightly. We're just got to keep on preparing, keep on having really good practices.