Jim Harris: Two-Minute Drill – Florida 30-Arkansas 10


Final Score: Florida 30-Arkansas 10

Florida 30-Arkansas 10

For the second straight week, Arkansas’ offense gave up a momentum-changing touchdown, another pick-six off the arm of Brandon Allen, this time with Arkansas holding a 7-3 lead, and the Razorbacks didn’t have enough weapons to make up for the gift. Allen, perhaps showing more effects from the shoulder injury suffered three weeks ago than he did last week against Texas A&M, was not accurate most of the night and he wasn’t helped by his receivers, who dropped at least seven throws. Allen completed 17 of 41 passes for 164 yards and was hit often even when he wasn’t sacked; he also sat three plays in the fourth quarter after hurting a finger on a Florida roughing-the-passer penalty. After the pick-6, the cruncher for Arkansas, which played well defensively for most of the first half, was allowing a 75-yard drive in the last two minutes of the half, capped by a 51-yard catch and run through the secondary by 5-foot-9 speedster Solomon Patton. The play came on a third-and-12 situation. The Gators added another 75-yard scoring drive on first possession in the second half when Patton again got loose against the soft zone for a 38-yard score. Both times Patton broke weak tackle attempts by junior cornerback Tevin Mitchel.

The 18th-ranked Gators struggled for a quarter against the Hogs before defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy stepped in front of Brandon Allen’s ill-advised throw on the run intended for Keon Hatcher, with Purifoy and two other Gator defenders standing in the way. Purifoy took it back 42 yards for the go-ahead score and Florida never looked back. Quarterback Tyler Murphy, a junior who took over for injured starter Jeff Driskel three weeks ago and was making his first start at Florida Field, was efficient running and throwing, completing 16 of 22 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns, while not turning the ball over. Florida came in renowned for its rush defense, but it was the pass coverage by the Gators that was superb in stopping Arkansas, rarely allowing the Hog receivers to get loose and intimidating the receivers to drop catchable throws.

Arkansas had seemingly solved its biggest negative of 2012, when it ranked last in the country in turnover margin at minus-19 (19 more turnovers than created). In week four at Rutgers, the Hogs forced three turnovers (including a pick-6) while committing none, yet still lost the game 28-24. However, in SEC play beginning with last week’s 45-33 loss to Texas A&M, Arkansas is minus-4 in the turnover department, with two in both games. Also, both games have featured a back-breaking pick-6. Against A&M, Brandon Allen was intercepted for a 34-yard touchdown runback when A&M safety Deshazor Everett jumped Keon Hatcher’s in-route. On Saturday, however, Allen simply made an ill-advised throw toward a well-covered Hatcher, who wasn’t going to catch the pass. Instead, Loucheiz Purifoy grabbed it and took it to the house. Allen also fumbled after a blind-side hit from a blitzing cornerback, giving Florida possession at the UA 29 early in the game. But the Gators got no points when 6-10 freshman Dan Skipper blocked a 48-yard field goal attempt. It was Skipper’s second field goal block of the year, the first coming at Rutgers. Another Allen fumble after a blitzing hit was wiped out by an offsides penalty on the Gators.

If one player on Arkansas’ side proved he belonged on the same field with the Gators, it was the Hogs’ freshman five-star running back Alex Collins, who was returning for the first time to his home state to play a college football game. Collins is from Plantation, Fla., near Miami. Saturday night, Collins showed off not only his strong running ability, but he also was probably the best receiver on the field for Arkansas as well. Collins had a 28-yard run from scrimmage on Arkansas’ early scoring drive, and later in the game Collins made an incredible sideline grab of a 30-yard toss from Brandon Allen. It was the second longest pass play for Arkansas, behind the 31-yard Allen-to-Hunter Henry pass in the first quarter that set up the Hogs’ only score, Jonathan Williams’ reverse-the-field scamper from 4 yards. Collins had five receptions for 45 yards and also had 54 yards rushing on 13 carries.

After a breakout game with a couple of big plays for his first Razorback action last week, Saturday night in Gainesville was a night to forget for Osceola product Korliss Marshall on kickoff returns. The first one didn’t matter as it came so late in the first half as to be meaningless, but Marshall bobbled the kickoff after a touchdown that put Florida up 17-7, and he let the ball roll out of bounds at the UA 8. But after another Gators score early in the second half, Marshall drifted to close to the sideline to field a kickoff and stepped out at the 3, giving Arkansas its worse starting field position of the game.

Arkansas played a soft zone pass defense again Saturday night, and as we’ve seen all season, opposing receivers were running loose all night. Tyler Murphy had a big night in connecting on 16 of 22 passes, and Florida averaged an overwhelming 10.9 yards per attempt — that’s in contrast to Arkansas’ passing game averaging a paltry 3.8 yards per throw. Tevin Mitchel was most notable in coverage but also most notable in missing tackles on both of Solomon Patton’s catches and runs for TDs. The Hog safeties were never around the action, it seemed. On one play in the first quarter, Florida went to its bag of tricks with a flea-flicker. Murphy didn’t have anything deep, but his secondary target, Quinton Dunbar, was all alone for 16 yards at the right sideline before sophomore nickel back Rohan Gaines eventually reached him at the UA 29. Florida eventually got a 28-yard field goal from on that drive.

Arkansas’ pass defense took a hit in the second half when starter Will Hines suffered what was later said to be a broken right arm. Hines was injured making a tackle on Florida’s Mack Brown.

Arkansas will be monitoring starting center Travis Swanson this week after the senior suffered a knee injury in the second half against the Gators. Swanson appeared to suffer the accidental version of an offensive lineman being chop blocked — Swanson was engaged with a Florida defensive lineman upright while another Gator making a tackle nearby rolled over Swanson’s  left leg.

Freshman tight end Hunter Henry came out briefly in the second half under his own power, but later returned.

If Arkansas had any chance to turn the game back its way, the Hogs squandered that one big opportunity late in the first half after the Purifoy pick-6. Punter Sam Erwin-Hill blasted a 60-yard punt over the Gators’ returners and the ball was downed at the Florida 8. Arkansas’ aroused defense immediately knocked the Gators back to the 1 on three plays to force a punt, and the Hogs gained possession at the Florida 46. But Allen, apparently still a bit shaky from the interception, badly missed a wide-open Kiero Small at the left sideline for what could have been a long gain. Two more plays netted little and Arkansas punted it back. This time, Erwin-Hill’s high kick was muffed by the returner, but Arkansas was flagged for interference on the catch, negating Jarrett Lake’s recovery of the muff. However, the SEC office was quick to get an explanation out to the pressbox in Gainesville, saying that a returner must be allowed a fair opportunity to field the punt, including muffing it as long as the ball does not hit the ground, when he has signaled for a fair catch. Lake and Austin Jones immediately contacted the returner and the ball as it bounced up from his hands after the attempted catch.

Instead of starting at its 10, Florida was awarded 15 yards for the penalty. And from the 25 and 1:57 left in the half, the Gators found Arkansas in a soft, prevent-like defense that let the Gators drive to their 49, facing a third-and-12, before Patton turned a short pass into a 51-yard scoring play, eluding Mitchel in the middle of the field, cutting right and skirting down the sideline with 20 seconds left in the half.

“Obviously disappointed. It’s not a lot of fun. We had too many issues — dropped balls, a pick-six, a couple missed tackles that resulted in an easy 14 points for them. Playing a ranked opponent on their home turf, you can’t do those things and expect to win.” — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema

“We had a lot of things not go our way.There were some big momentum swings that we couldn’t get back to our side. … Their defense is No. 1 for a reason. They have a lot of speed on defense.” — Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen

Arkansas’ run of difficult SEC opponents over a four-week period continues next Saturday when the Hogs (3-3, 0-2 in SEC) entertain No. 8 ranked South Carolina (4-1, 2-1) in Fayetteville at 11:21 a.m. The SEC Network will carry the game on television. South Carolina defeated Kentucky 35-28 on Saturday and was without star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who sat out the game with a rib injury.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,