Ask and you shall receive; if you wanted a night football game in Gainesville, your wish came true as the Florida Gator football team welcomes to the Swamp for the first time since 2009 the Arkansas Razorbacks.
So far in Bret Bielema’s first year as Arkansas head coach, the Razorbacks are 3-2 with back to back losses and looking for their first win in the conference. Sophomore Brandon Allen is under center for the Hogs but it’s their running game that stands out. They rank 21st in the nation, rushing for 237 yards per game behind freshman running back Alex Collins and sophomore Jonathan Williams.
This power running game will be met against the SEC’s and possibly even the nation’s best defense. The Gators rank second in total defense and first in rushing defense. While this Florida team is known for its superior defense, if the offense can do what’s it supposed to then it will only set matters up even nicer.
UF will need quarterback Tyler Murphy to continue his efficiency as he’s been completing 71 percent of his passes while committing just one turnover. Keep an eye out for Murphy to target receiver’s junior Quinton Dunbar and senior Solomon Patton as they have emerged as receivers who can help UF’s leading receiver, Trey Burton.
Consistent play from Murphy and power running with control of time of possession could be Florida’s key to success. They already lead the nation in time of possession and we will see if running backs Matt Jones and Mack Brown can move the chains so the Gators can meet or succeed their 211 yards rushing per contest total.
The teams offensively are mirror images of one another; both want to run the ball, dominate time of possession, throw enough to be successful and control the line of scrimmage. The Razorbacks have run the ball 224 times this season, more than any other team in the SEC and the Gators are not far behind with 193 rushing attempts.
Arkansas has a solid front four and a defense that leads the SEC in sacks with 15; Florida has had trouble at times stopping edge rushers and penetration from the opponent’s front four so this could be an area worth watching. Arkansas also allows only three sacks, the best in the SEC as well.
You can catch all the live game coverage on ESPN 850 WRUF Saturday beginning at 3pm.