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A visit from Vanderbilt seems to be a case of favorable scheduling and good timing for the Florida Gators, who are nursing a hangover from last weekend’s loss to Georgia.

Lately, though, the post-Bulldogs blues have not so easy to shake.

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The struggling Commodores (2-6, 1-4 SEC) will look to capitalize at noon Saturday in the Swamp a year after giving the No. 10 Gators (7-2, 4-2) a scare during a 37-27 loss in Nashville.

Vanderbilt pounced on the Gators and built a 21-3 lead with a blitz of big plays against a defense caught flat-footed. UF’s defense now looks to rebound from a demoralizing day against Georgia, during which coordinator Todd Grantham’s group could not make critical stops.

“You go back to everything you did,” Grantham said this week. “I think our preparation was really good. I thought we practiced the right way. At the end of the day, we just didn’t make enough plays.”

Georgia’s ability to convert 12 times on third down was the difference in last Saturday’s 24-17 decision. UF came out flat, allowed Georgia to score on four of its first five possessions to grab a 16-3 and wear down the Gators’ defense.

“It’s pretty frustrating, I mean, first series we were on the field about seven minutes or more,” UF defensive tackle Adam Shuler said.

UF linebackers Jeremiah Moon, Amari Burney out for Gators

UF linebackers Jeremiah Moon, Amari Burney are out for Gators as they prepare to face Vanderbilt at noon Saturday in the Swamp.

Against the Gators last season, the Commodores drove 98 yards, highlighted by a 43-yard run by tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn, for a touchdown on their second possession of the game. Vaughn needed just one play the next time his team touched the ball, taking a screen pass 75 yards for a score. The Commodores scored again when UF quarterback Feleipe Franks fumbled on the Gators’ 28 and the defense then committed two penalties, helping Vanderbilt reach the end zone yet again.

Vaughn, who is fourth in the SEC with 790 rushing yards, will look to lead his team’s offense again Saturday.

“I think their line’s pretty physical. I think the running back’s really good,” Grantham said. “When you’re not having the success as a team, a guy like that does not get noticed. He’s hard to tackle, he runs through guys.

“He’s a guy you have to respect and understand that he can run through you, so you got to play.”

Vanderbilt, though, has big questions at quarterback.

Mo Hasan, who started his team’s 21-14 upset win against Missouri on Oct. 19, sat out last week’s 24-7 loss to South Carolina with a concussion. Riley Neal, the Commodores’ starter during their other seven games, left the South Carolina game with a concussion.

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason is unsure Neal can play Saturday, leaving Deuce Wallace next in line. The redshirt junior has appeared in six games, passing for 217 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.

Gators encouraged by UF QB Kyle Trask’s strong fourth quarter against Georgia

The Florida Gators were encouraged by Kyle Trask's strong fourth quarter performance against the Georgia Bulldogs and see it as something the offense can build on moving forward.

“It’s not where you want to be, but sometimes it’s just where you are,” Mason said this week.

A week after holding Georgia’s D’Andre Swift and the SEC’s leading rushing attack to 119 rushing yards — 111 below its average — the Gators would appear poised to contain the Commodores.

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But UF will be without play-making linebackers, sophomore Amari Burney and redshirt junior Jeremiah Moon, two of the team’s most versatile defenders.

Moon has 31 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, three quarterback hurries and two pass breakups. Burney has 32 stops, an interception and a pass breakup.

“In some ways you’re not only losing two, but you can actually lose four,” Grantham said. “You’re really losing two players because he can do multiple things for you.”

The Gators remain 25-point favorites. At the same time, the week after the Georgia game has not been a good one in recent seasons for UF.

The past two years, UF lost to Missouri by a combined score of 83-34. The Tigers did have record-setting quarterback Drew Lock under center, but in 2016 UF followed a 24-10 win against the Bulldogs with a no-show at Arkansas, losing 31-10.

In 2015, Florida needed a game-winning field goal from embattled kicker Austin Hardin to eke out a 9-7 homecoming win over Vanderbilt.

While UF’s players might not know the program’s history, the Gators remember last weekend well. The Commodores have their attention.

“They’re well-capable of winning and beating us if we slip up or do what we did last week,” Shuler said. “The key is going out there full-speed. We know who we are, we know that if we play to our best abilities we’ll come out how we want to.”

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