The Gators return home to face Arkansas this Saturday after a 24-7 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, Kentucky. Head coach Will Muschamp said, on Monday, that he was “pleased with the win. Offensively we were very workman-like, very efficient…Defensively I thought we handled the tempo very well.” The Gators Defense stepped up in their first game without defensive tackle Dominique Easley. Easley underwent a season-ending knee injury during practice last Tuesday. The Gators had to start Dante Fowler and Ronald Powell on the outside against the Wildcats and repositioned Jonathan Bullard inside beside defensive tackle Damien Jacobs. Even with the injuries the gators have sustained on defense, the two-deep rotation is solid but untested.
Arkansas(3-2, 0-1) and Florida(3-1, 2-0) have not played each other since 2009, when the ranked #1 Gators kicked a field goal in the closing nine seconds of the game propelling the Gators to a win with a score of 23-20. The Razorbacks are coming of an impressive game putting up 33 points against Texas A&M in Fayetteville, AR. Although they fell short losing 45-33, Arkansas stayed close in points throughout the game, boosted by the return of quarterback Brandon Allen. Allen left the game early against Southern Miss, and missed the following Rutgers game due to a sprained shoulder. Allen started against Texas A&M and threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns in the impressive effort.
Florida’s defensive tackle Damien Jacobs anticipates a very physical game with Arkansas’s offensive line. “They’re real physical,” Jacobs said to the Orlando Sentinel, “I think they’re a little chippy. They’re a little dirty. So we’re going to have to be ready for it all this week.” Arkansas has an average of 237 rushing yards a game, ranking second in the SEC. In contrast, Florida through the first three games had only relinquished 214 rushing yards. Florida has been the best team in the country at preventing the running game, only allowing 53.5 yards per game. Even without defensive tackle Dominic Easley Arkansas had coach Bret Bielema said that the gators are still dangerous. According to the Arkansas News website Bielema stated, “Obviously, they lost a real good player in (Easley), But across the board up front, they use their hands well. They’re powerful. Their linebackers run.” In my opinion, the key to winning this game is to win the battle on the line of scrimmage. Let the games begin. The game will be on ESPN2 at 7pm on Saturday.
Information from The Associated Press, Sbnation, GatorZone, The Orlando Sentinel and The SEC Network was used in this article.