FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was impressed with Florida’s defensive stand in the closing minutes last Saturday.
The Gators held a comfortable 20-point lead and had secured their third straight Southeastern Conference win. But it didn’t matter. Bielema said nothing stopped Florida from going all out, digging in to keep the Razorbacks out of the end zone.
1. Swanson, Hines Updates
Arkansas had to finish its 30-10 loss with center Travis Swanson watching from the sideline because of a knee injury. But Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is optimistic Swanson won’t be without the senior again when the Razorbacks (3-3, 0-2 in Southeastern Conference) play No. 14 South Carolina (4-1, 2-1) on Saturday.
Five Keys Review
1. Third-Down Success — Not Accomplished
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Arkansas wanted to make a statement in The Swamp, confident its hard-nosed philosophy under coach Bret Bielema was ready for a big test.
Its ground-and-pound philosophy was successful early, helping the Razorbacks take a surprising lead against Florida. But there was one problem: It was only the first quarter.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It wasn’t the way Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen wanted to perform in his first start on the road.
His white uniform was covered in grass stains by halftime. He was harassed, battered and bruised in a 30-10 loss to No. 18 Florida. Allen finished 17-of-41 for 164 yards with an interception. That’s a 70.2 quarterback rating, well below his season rating coming into the game of 149.6.
SOLOMON PATTON: The senior wide receiver for Florida had a career night against Arkansas with six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Patton, with six of the Gators’ 16 receptions, had more yards than the rest of the receiving corps combined. The Gators had 240 yards passing.
ALEX COLLINS: The freshman for the Razorbacks made a mark in his return to his home state, rushing for 54 yards on 13 carries and catching five passes for another 45 yards. Collins, out of Plantation High School in Fort Lauderdale, was recruited by both Florida and Arkansas, among others.
Arkansas-Florida, by the numbers:
42 — Yards Louchiez Purifoy returned his first career interception, giving Florida a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
What wound up being the impetus for a late first-half scoring drive by Florida occurred after what Arkansas fans considered a controversial call. It started with a 35-yard punt by Sam Irwin-Hill that Florida’s Louchiez Purifoy attempted to fair catch at his 10. He bobbled it and an Arkansas player — listed as Austin Jones in Florida’s official statistics — tried to retrieve it.
FIVE KEYS TO TODAY’S GAME
1. Third-Down Success
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said he breaks down a defense by dividing them into thirds: Defensive line, linebackers and secondary.
The veteran coach then does a ranking of each level. The weekly routine helps Chaney figure out where his offense is best suited to attack an opponent.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas receiver Javontee Herndon grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., so the 45-minute drive down to Gainesville was pretty easy.
He made several trips to attend Florida football games with his family. Herndon said they were Florida fans, so there was nothing like being part of the deafening crowd in the Swamp when it was home to so many big college football games.
1. Long’s “Big Complement”
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long is expected to represent the Southeastern Conference on the College Football Playoff selection committee, according to The Associated Press.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash believed his group had a good week of preparation for Texas A&M.
The Razorbacks knew the challenge they were facing Saturday against quarterback Johnny Manziel. They realized how much of a threat he posed because of his strong arm and scrambling abilities. They knew how they were going to defend him.
1. Florida Hogs Eager For Return
It wasn’t long ago that wide receiver Javontee Herndon was the only player on Arkansas’ roster from Florida. But Herndon has plenty of company this fall.
FAYETTEVILLE — One thought flashed in Arkansas forward Coty Clarke’s mind when he and the Razorbacks saw Bud Walton Arena’s flooded floor last month.
“We weren’t going to have conditioning,” Clarke said Wednesday. “I was like, ‘Yes.’”
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney didn’t notice his two massive guards during the 45-33 loss to Texas A&M last Saturday.
Normally, losing sight of 6-foot-10, 317-pound Dan Skipper and 6-foot-5, 345-pound Denver Kirkland would be a big problem. Not along the offensive front, though, where going unnoticed in the trenches means no egregious errors.
1. Arkansas O-Line Dirty?
Florida’s Damien Jacobs expects a physical matchup against Arkansas’ offensive front Saturday night.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema couldn’t go to sleep after his team’s 45-33 loss to Texas A&M last Saturday.
He wasn’t exactly lamenting the missed opportunities and mistakes that led to his team’s second straight loss, though. Bielema was thinking about something else.
FOUR DOWNS — ARKANSAS FOOTBALL NOTES
1. ‘Feisty … Angry’ Quarterback