Ga­tors bite back for come­back win over Van­der­bilt

Toronto Star - - SPORTS -

Dan Mullen prefers not to talk about what prompted his 14thranked Florida Ga­tors and the Van­der­bilt Com­modores to spill off the side­lines.

Derek Ma­son says a Florida player said some­thing to the Van­der­bilt coach.

In the end, the Ga­tors’ big come­back over­shad­owed the near brawl in which both head coaches yelled at each other.

Jor­dan Scar­lett ran 48 yards for the go-ahead touch­down on the first play of the fourth quar­ter, and No. 14 Florida ral­lied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Van­der­bilt Com­modores 37-27 in Nashville on Satur­day to match the largest road come­back in school his­tory.

The Ga­tors snapped a 26- game skid when trail­ing by18 or more points. They scored 24 straight af­ter Van­der­bilt jumped out to a 21-3 lead mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter, their big­gest come­back win since Sept. 27, 2003, at Ken­tucky.

“Mis­takes hap­pen in foot­ball,” Scar­lett said. “It’s how you fight through ad­ver­sity and how you re­spond, and I think we re­sponded re­ally well.”

The fin­ish was nearly over­shad­owed by an in­ci­dent in the sec­ond quar­ter on a Florida punt re­turn. An of­fi­cial held back Mullen as he yelled at Ma­son, who was near the Ga­tors’ side­line af­ter check­ing on the Com­modore de­fender whose hel­met was knocked off by a hit by linebacker James Hous­ton IV. Both teams spilled onto the field, draw­ing un­sports­man­like con­duct penal­ties.

The penalty cost the Ga­tors their lead­ing tack­ler; Vosean Joseph was ejected for his sec­ond un­sports­man­like con­duct penalty of the first half. Two peo­ple es­corted an emo­tional Joseph off the field. Mullen and Ma­son hugged each other at mid­field af­ter the game. Ma­son said they talked. The Van­der­bilt coach heard a Florida player say some­thing to him and said he re­sponded, then Mullen got mad.

“It’s the ref­eree’s job to ref­eree the game and not ours,” Ma­son said. “I’ve got a lot of re­spect for Dan. He re­spects the process oth­er­wise, so we keep it mov­ing.”

The Ga­tors beat Van­der­bilt for the fifth year in a row and 27th time in 28 games.

Ian Book threw a 35-yard touch­down pass to Miles Boykin with 5:43 re­main­ing and No. 5 Notre Dame re­mained un­beaten, com­ing from be­hind and then hold­ing off Pitts­burgh 19-14 at South Bend. The Fight­ing Ir­ish are 7-0 for the first time since 2012, the year they went to the BCS ti­tle game.

Dwayne Hask­ins threw for 412 yards and three touch­downs and third-ranked Ohio State held off per­sis­tent Min­nesota 30-14 in Colum­bus. Buck­eyes re­ceiver K.J. Hill made the play of the game with a turn­around, one-hand grab that he turned into a touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter. He had a ca­reer-high nine catches for 187 yards.

Jar­rett Guar­an­tano passed for 328 yards and two touch­downs and Ten­nessee snapped an 11-game South­east­ern Con­fer­ence los­ing streak, up­set­ting the No. 21 Tigers 30-24 in Auburn. The Vol­un­teers forced three Auburn turnovers, in­ter­cept­ing two of Jar­rett Stid­ham’s passes and get­ting a strip sack that re­sulted in touch­down by Alon­tae Tay­lor.

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