Late in the first half of No. 14 Florida’s weird win at Vanderbilt, the two teams (and their head coaches) got into a sustained verbal and physical scuffle. It started after a Florida player put a heavy crack-back block on a Commodore during a UF punt return, and it continued with chaos involving both players and coaches.
Both teams spilled onto the field, with Vanderbilt players and coaches leaving their sideline and getting really close to the Florida sideline and UF personnel coming out a bit, too:
UF head coach Dan Mullen and Vandy head coach Derek Mason screamed at each other, as Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham yelled in Mason’s direction too:
That was just the start of it:
- Houston was ejected for targeting.
- Both entire teams got unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
- That worked out to be the second unsportsmanlike for Florida’s Vosean Joseph, who also had one of his own. Officials disqualified Joseph on the grounds that his own penalty was his second unsportsmanlike foul of the day. (Joseph’s personal penalty didn’t come after the bench assessment, but before it.)
- But Joseph had no interest in leaving the field:
So, this is the recap of how that worked out for Florida:
So Florida just lost…
– 30 yards on two penalties
– James Houston IV
– Vosean Joseph
…on a punt return that could’ve ended up in Vandy territory.
— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) October 13, 2018
Mullen told an ESPN reporter on his way off the field for halftime, with the Gators trailing 21-13: “That’s on them.” He appeared to be referring to the officials.
After the game, Mason didn’t hold back when addressing the situation:
(2/2) Mason continued: “I say something back and Dan gets mad. That’s how it started. Obviously, at the end of the day, we’re just trying to make sure we play the game the right way, keep the game safe and make sure everybody walks out of there.”
— Graham Hall (@GrahamHall_) October 13, 2018
This was a whole, entire mess. It appeared to literally break ESPN:
Typos happen. And this game has screwed with everyone’s mind, to be fair.
Also, this kerfuffle wasn’t even the first time Grantham’s gotten into a screaming match with Vandy coaches. From seven years earlier, when he was at Georgia:
This was the capper to a wild first half, which also included:
- An absurd but nearly successful attempt to a Vanderbilt defensive back to return an interception 98 yards for a touchdown after clearly being down:
QB Feleipe Franks se fait intercepter dans la red zone des Commodores par DB Joejuan Williams ! Quel gâchis pour les Gators qui pouvaient prendre l’avantage. pic.twitter.com/1JbwHujhYC
— TBP College Football (@thebluepennant) October 13, 2018
- A preposterous game of soccer after a Florida fumble, ending in Vanderbilt taking the ball:
- Vanderbilt actually having the lead against Florida, a team that’s beaten Vandy 26 of the last 27 times the two have gotten together. The halftime score was 21-13, and Vanderbilt coming out of a Florida game on top might be the weirdest thing of all about this matchup.
The game stayed weird in the second half, culminating with Florida — after trailing 21-3 early on — covering a 9.5-point spread with a last-minute field goal.