Jeff Driskel fooled Vanderbilt once, shame on him. The Florida quarterback fooled the Commodores twice, shame on them.
He fooled them thrice – and that was the ballgame.
Driskel scored three touchdowns and set the school’s single-game rushing record for a quarterback, surpassing Tim Tebow, as Vanderbilt fell 31-17 on Saturday night at Vanderbilt Stadium.
His went 70 yards for his last score, which the fourth-ranked Gators a two-touchdown lead with 2:20 left. The loss was the 22nd straight for Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3 SEC) against Florida (6-0, 5-0).
“We put too much emphasis on stopping their running back that we overcompensated and were susceptible to a big run by the quarterback,” coach James Franklin said. “He’s explosive, athletic, and fast. ... If you give him an opportunity to make big plays, he will.”
Driskel finished with 177 yards on 11 carries to break the mark Tebow set in 2007 when he rushed for 166 yards on 27 carries against Ole Miss.
The 6-foot-4, 237-pound sophomore buried the Commodores three times by faking inside handoffs to the SEC’s leading rusher Mike Gillislee. By the time the defense realized Driskel still had the ball, he was all alone sprinting down the sideline. In addition to the 70-yard jaunt, he scored on runs of 37 and 13, going untouched each time.
“The fakes weren’t that great,” linebacker Archibald Barnes said. “They executed better than we did. We had a plan to stop it and we did stop it a couple times. And a couple times it spurted out and that turned out to be a big play.”
Florida converted just 2-of-11 third downs and Driskel passed for only 77 yards.
But the Gators, without three offensive line starters due to injury, still churned up the yards on the ground. They finished with 326 rushing yards, with Gillislee accounting for just 67.
Plus, Driskel came up clutch.
“We kept running really the same play and they didn't really make adjustments,” he said. “So we kept going to it. If something's working, keep going to it. ... I could just kind of walk in on some of them.”