Inside the Numbers: A closer look at Florida heading into Vanderbilt week
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Welcome to the latest installment of Inside the Numbers, a weekly column that breaks down the stats you need to know about Florida Gators football heading into gameday.
This week, as the No. 21 Gators prepare to host Vanderbilt at Noon ET Saturday for the first of a three-game homestand, we take a closer look at Florida three games into the season as well as its series history with the Commodores.
The Gators are 6-0 under coach Jim McElwain in the first home game immediately following a road or neutral-site game. Five of those wins are against SEC opponents: Tennessee in 2017; Missouri and South Carolina in 2016; and Tennessee and Vanderbilt in 2015. The sixth was a home game against Florida Atlantic in 2015.
Florida is also a perfect 4-0 in noon kickoffs under McElwain.
Florida has averaged 177 rushing yards over the past two games — wins over Tennessee and Kentucky — after gaining just 11 yards in the season opener. In those two games, the Gators have averaged 5.4 yards per carry — which would rank 26th in the country and third in the SEC behind just Alabama and Mississippi State — and had three runs that went for at least 20 yards.
Freshman Malik Davis leads the team with 195 rushing yards on 26 carries. His 7.5 yards per carry ranks 36th nationally, fifth among all freshmen and fourth in the SEC.
Vanderbilt senior running back Ralph Webb, a Gainesville native, has always found success against Florida. In three career games, the 5-foot-10, 202-pound running back has averaged 103.7 rushing yards against the Gators.
Webb has had a down year so far this season, gaining just 169 yards in four games while averaging a subpar 2.6 yards per carry.
Florida is one of 17 teams that is still perfect in red-zone efficiency. The Gators have scored on all four trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, with three of those drives ending in touchdowns and the fourth in an Eddy Pineiro field goal.
Georgia is the only other SEC school that has converted every red-zone opportunity into points.
On the other side, the Gators’ defense has only allowed opponents to score touchdowns on 30 percent of their red-zone attempts (3-for-10), which leads the SEC and is seventh nationally.
Florida’s Johnny Townsend leads the country in punting, averaging 50.8 yards. Ten of his 16 punts this season have gone for at least 50 yards, while four have pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line.
Florida has won 25 of its past 26 games against Vanderbilt, with the lone loss coming in 2013 when the Gators went 4-8. The Gators won those 25 games by an average margin of 19.3 points. Overall, Florida is 38-10-2 in the series, which dates back to 1945.
The Gators’ defense has recorded a tackle for loss (which includes sacks) on 11.1 percent of their plays this season (23 of 206). Junior defensive end CeCe Jefferson leads the way with 4 tackles for loss, which ranks tied for 11th in the SEC. Florida is tied for seventh in the SEC in total tackles for loss and fifth in the league in sacks (10) despite being one of three conference teams to have played just three games so far this season.