Saturday November 8, 2003Football Defeats Vanderbilt 35-17
The No. 17 University of Florida football team won its fourth straight SEC game by defeating Vanderbilt 35-17 Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Keiwan Ratliff broke the single-season interception record by nabbing his eighth interception with 56 seconds left in the game. Ratliff returned the interception 52 yards for a touchdown, assuring the Gators a win in the Swamp.
The running back trio of Ran Carthon, Ciatrick Fason and DeShawn Wynn rushed for 181 yards. Fason had both a rushing and receiving touchdowns in the game. Florida balanced the run game as quarterback Chris Leak went 15-for-25 with 179 yards passing and one touchdown.
Vanderbilt took the early lead after Florida fumbled a punt return on the 25-yard line. A 19-yard Jay Cutler pass to Erik Davis put the Commodores on the board first, 7-0.
The Gators quickly rebounded with a 13 play, 80-yard drive that was capped off with a Leak one-yard rushing touchdown, the first of his career.
After a three-and out by the Commodores, Florida started their drive in Vanderbilt territory. Leak's 36-yard pass to O.J. Small set up a Fason 12-yard plunge making it 14-7 in the first quarter.
With six minutes to go in the second quarter, Vanderbilt drove 40 yards and Patrick Johnson was able to convert on a 37-yard field goal attempt to put the game within four. Vanderbilt would get no closer as Florida was able to move the ball 80 yards with three minutes remaining in the half. Ran Carthon capped the drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown.
The Commodores' last second hail mary attempt at the end of the first half was intercepted at the 2-yard line securing the 21-10 lead at intermission.
Nearing the end of the third quarter, Dixon intercepted his second pass of the day allowing the Gators to regain possession at the Vanderbilt 12-yard line. Fason scored his second touchdown of the day on a 3-yard rush up the middle, giving Florida the 28-10 lead.
The Commodores were, once again, able to close the gap in the fourth quarter after a DeShawn Wynn fumble. Vanderbilt put together 13 plays for 58 yards that ended on a 3-yard Matthew Tant rushing touchdown to bring the score to 28-17. The Ratliff interception squelched any chances the Commodores had at a comeback.
The Gators return to SEC action Saturday, November 15, 2003 when they travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks at 12:30 E.T.