September 29, 2016

Florida Gators
INSIDE SLANT

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  Gators look to regroup at Vandy

The streak was going to end sooner or later. Still, Florida didn't expect it to end in this fashion.

The Gators left Neyland Stadium in stunned silence after blowing an 18-point halftime lead in a 38-28 loss to the rival Vols. The loss ended UF's string of 11 straight wins over Tennessee.

Florida (3-1) will look to regroup this Saturday in a noon kickoff at Vanderbilt. The Gators are hoping their second trip to the Volunteer State will have a happier ending than their first.

"The big thing moving forward is what are we going to learn from this and how are we going to let it affect us," Florida coach Jim McElwain said of the Tennessee loss. "We have a lot of football ahead of us and there's a lot that we can accomplish. It will be interesting to see how we handle people writing us off, jumping off the ship."

Vanderbilt (2-2) is coming off a 31-30 overtime win at Western Kentucky. The Commodores are led by a pair of junior standouts running back Ralph Webb and linebacker Zach Cunningham.

"They play disciplined, they play sound," McElwain said. "And I think Cunningham is one of the most underrated players in the league."

Florida has plenty to clean up following its second-half collapse. UF's normally air-tight secondary allowed Tennessee senior quarterback Josh Dobbs to throw for 319 yards and 4 TDs in the loss. A Florida offense that moved the ball effectively in the first half went three-and-out on five second-half drives.

"They came and took it to us," McElwain said. "That's disappointing. We gave them a lot to cheer about.