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Arkansas703010
Florida0177630
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30


Arkansas (3-2) at (18) Florida (3-1)



Saturday, October 5, 7 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The 18th-ranked Florida Gators will attempt to win their third straight conference game on Saturday night when they play host to the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The Brett Bielema era of Arkansas football got off to a fast start, as the team won each of its first three games, but things have not gone so smoothly in recent weeks. The Razorbacks have slipped to 3-2 after suffering a road loss to Rutgers on Sept. 21 (28-24), and a home defeat to Texas A&M in their SEC opener last Saturday (45-33).

"I'm excited about this group," Bielema said. "If they continue to give me the effort they gave me (versus Texas A&M) we'll be able to win some games. Obviously the schedule doesn't get any easier with Florida coming up but I think they understand how much they have to give."

Since losing at Miami-Florida on Sept. 7 (21-16), Florida has bounced back with victories in each of its first two SEC tilts, winning at home versus Tennessee (31-17), and at Kentucky (24-7), and while it faces three ranked foes over the next six weeks, Will Muschamp's club still controls its own destiny in the SEC East.

"It's been a long week for us psychologically and mentally as much as anything," said Muschamp, whose team has been decimated by injuries in recent weeks. "I'm very pleased with how our guys pulled together and came up (to Kentucky) and did what we did."

The Gators have dominated the all-time series with Arkansas, winning eight of the nine previous matchups, including all three bouts in Gainesville.

Despite experiencing almost a complete overhaul of starters from last season, the Arkansas offense is performing well in putting up averages of 29.2 ppg and 414.6 ypg.

Brandon Allen missed the Rutgers game with a shoulder injury but returned against Texas A&M to throw for a career-high 282 yards. Despite tossing eight touchdowns paired with just three interceptions, the signal caller is completing just 53.8 percent of his pass attempts.

The Razorbacks are at their best when they are committed to the ground game. Alex Collins is the workhorse, leading the SEC in carries (100) and yards (597), while scoring three times. Jonathan Williams has also been heavily involved with 471 yards and three scores.

Javontee Herndon (14 receptions, 236 yards, four TDs) and Hunter Henry (12 receptions, 234 yards, TD) are Allen's two most trusted targets at receiver. Williams is sure-handed out of the backfield with six catches and a pair of scores.

The Arkansas defense has held up to the tune of 22.2 ppg and 336.4 ppg allowed, both of which rank in the upper half of the SEC, although over the past two losses the unit has yielded 73 total points.

Jarrett Lake has a club-best 38 tackles despite missing a game. Chris Smith is one of the nation's top pass rushers with 7.0 TFL, 6.0 sacks and five QB hurries, while Trey Flowers (5.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, two FF) has also played well along the defensive line.

Florida's offense has been disappointing to say the least, as it ranks 13th in the SEC in scoring (23.8 ppg) and 12th in yardage (403.0 ypg), all while posting an unacceptably high turnover number (10).

The Gators appeared to be in trouble when they lost quarterback Jeff Driskel for the year with a broken leg, but Tyler Murphy has played very well in his place, completing nearly 72 percent of his passes for 290 yards with two scores and a pick, to go along with 120 rushing yards and two more touchdowns.

"I had a few nerves just like every game," said Murphy, who made his first career start last week versus Kentucky. "I was able to hand the ball off to Matt Jones and throw a swing route to get the offense going. I was then able to settle down. I felt really calm as I had the support of teammates. They made my job real easy."

Jones had a busy day against Kentucky with 31 touches for 196 total yards and a touchdown, giving him a team-high 272 rushing yards on the season. Mack Brown has also been involved in the rushing attack with 245 yards and three touchdowns, although he averages just 3.8 ypc.

Trey Burton (226 yards, TD), Quinton Dunbar (231 yards) and Soloman Patton (224 yards, two TDs) make up a solid receiving trio. No other Gator has more than 26 receiving yards.

While the offense has been sluggish, Florida's defense has been nothing short of spectacular. Not only does it lead the SEC in points permitted, (12.8 ppg), but it ranks second in the nation in total defense (202.5 ypg).

The unit has forced nine turnovers, with Vernon Hargreaves leading the way with three interceptions. Dante Fowler is well on his way to an All-SEC campaign, racking up 6.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. The team suffered an unfortunate blow last week when it lost defensive tackle Dominique Easley for the season with a torn ACL. Easley had 2.0 TFL and four QB hurries and was projected as a first-round pick in next year's NFL draft.

Florida has overcome a lot of adversity so far in dealing with the litany of injuries that have been piling up over the past few weeks and it is eager to prove that it overcome those setbacks. Arkansas appears on the right track to rebuilding the program under Bielema, but it is not yet ready to contend with a high-quality opponent on the road. Expect the Gators to prevail in a tune up for their Oct. 12 matchup with LSU.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida 24, Arkansas 10

10/02 10:55:09 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
 
3rd
HAW 10
NEV 16
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14