No. 11 Florida holds off Vanderbilt 9-7, clinches SEC East

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Austin Hardin’s 43-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining helped No. 11 Florida beat pesky Vanderbilt 9-7 on Saturday and clinch a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Order restored – barely.

The Gators won the Eastern Division for the first time in 2009, and in coach Jim McElwain’s first season. McElwain’s mantra all season has been “restore the order” by getting Florida back to the top of the division.

Vanderbilt nearly wrecked it.

The Commodores (3-6, 1-4 SEC) held Florida to 258 yards, including 57 in the second half. But the Gators (8-1, 6-1) did just enough on their next-to-last possession to set up Hardin’s winning kick.

Hardin, who only handled kickoffs earlier in the game, drilled it.

Vanderbilt had one final chance but failed to pick up a first down on a fourth-and-25 play.

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