1. Third-Down Success — Not Accomplished
Florida had suffocated opponents on third downs this season, allowing teams to convert just 18 percent of the time (8 of 45). So in that regard, the Razorbacks ability to convert on 6 of 16 chances (37.5 percent) wasn’t terrible. But Arkansas hurt itself overall on third down with an interception returned for a touchdown, several dropped passes and other mistakes that ended drives.
2. Stop The Run — Accomplished
The Razorbacks were determined to make amends for the run woes against Texas A&M and bounced back well against Florida. Arkansas limited a strong run game to 111 yards, 100 below Florida’s season average. Tailbacks Matt Jones and Mack Brown combined for 89 yards on 28 carries. Quarterback Tyler Murphy finished with 15 yards. The Gators averaged 2.8 yards a carry a week after Texas A&M managed 6.0 yards an attempt against the Arkansas defense.
3. Eliminate Special Teams Gaffes — Somewhat Accomplished
Arkansas didn’t have any monumental mistakes. In fact, there was plenty of solid play. Offensive lineman Dan Skipper blocked his second field goal. Punter Sam Irwin-Hill averaged 45.7 yard an attempt. Kicker Zach Hocker remained perfect on field goals. It was hard to fault linebacker Jarrett Lake for the catch interference penalty, too, after watching the ball pop out of Loucheiz Purifoy’s hands. But Arkansas coach Bret Bielema pointed to one mistake on an onsides kick attempt when the Razorbacks trailed 24-10. The play was executed to perfection with one significant problem: WR Javontee Herndon was offsides. It took away an opportunity for Arkansas to regain the ball with a chance to carve into UF’s lead.
4. Win The Fourth — Not Accomplished
Arkansas’ struggles in the fourth quarter continued in Gainesville. The Razorbacks were outgained (65-54) and outscored (6-0) by the Gators, who successfully protected a 14-point lead. Arkansas did put together a 16-play, 72-yard drive at the end of the game, but got nothing out of it despite having first-and-goal at the Florida 5. So it became the third straight game Arkansas has been shut out in the fourth quarter. The Hogs have been outscored 27-0 total in past three games.
5. Limit Turnovers — Not Accomplished
Florida has thrived on turnovers and Arkansas helped the Gators change the game with a big mistake in the second quarter. Brandon Allen’s ill-advised pass became his second interception returned for a touchdown in two games. Allen also fumbled the ball after being hit from the blind side Saturday. It was recovered by Florida, but didn’t result in points after Skipper’s blocked field goal in the first quarter. Arkansas finished with two turnovers and is minus-4 in turnover margin the past two weeks.
• Arkansas offensive coordinator on QB Brandon Allen’s pick six — which was his second in two games — and how it affected him:
“When you get a scar, you usually remember those elements of that scar. For a quarterback, you can’t. You’ve got to let it go and it was tough on him. He feels the pain of that as we all do. And we’ve got to clean that part up. For two weeks in a row we’ve spotted our opponent too many points.”
• Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash on his team’s tackling troubles on Florida’s two long scoring plays Saturday night:
“Football is a simple game when you really think about it. Can you get off blocks? Can you run? And can you tackle? The tackling part of it was something we struggled at last night.”
• Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman on his group’s pass protection:
“We can’t get him hit. We went a week ago and we didn’t get him hit at all. And this week we’re responsible for eight times he gets hit. I mean you can’t keep the same quarterback in the game if you do that, so we’ve got to do better.”
• Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith on his group’s dropped passes:
“Instead of being as detailed as they needed to be, they were pressing, I believe, and just trying to make plays out there instead of just doing what they’ve been coached to do and what they’re capable of doing. I just think a lot of that played into it.”
• Ash on losing starting CB Will Hines for the rest of the season:
“It’s time for next man in. Everybody’s got to prepare like they’re going to be one play away from being a starter, and that’s basically what it is right now for the next guy. We’ll make a decision on whether it will be Carroll Washington or Jared Collins as we go through the week, but it’s time for one of those guys to step up and play.
Players of the Game
Offense – RB Alex Collins (54 rushing yards, 45 receiving yards)
Arkansas didn’t have a banner night offensively, finishing with 275 yards. But Collins was the best of the bunch in the return to his home state. The freshman helped Arkansas get off to a great start with a 28-yard run on his first carry. He had 41 yards on 4 carries in the first quarter before Florida shut Arkansas’ ground game down. Collins had 13 yards on 9 carries in the final three quarters.
Defense – DE Trey Flowers (7 tackles, 3 ½ for losses, 1 sack)
Arkansas wanted to shut down Florida’s ground game and had success, limiting the Gators to 115 yards and 2.8 yards a carry. Flowers played a big role equaling his career high with 3 ½ tackles for losses. He also had one of its two sacks. Flowers now has 4 sacks and 8 ½ tackles for losses in six games.
Special Teams – P Sam Irwin-Hill (Averaged 45.7 yards on 7 punts)
Irwin-Hill handled all of Arkansas’ punting duties for the second straight week and enjoyed his biggest night. The junior averaged 45.7 yards on seven attempts, including a career-high 60-yarder that backed Florida inside its 20 in the first half. Three of Irwin-Hill’s punts were downed inside the Gators’ 20 on Saturday.
5 — Arkansas’ consecutive losses against ranked teams. The Razorbacks are 0-2 so far this season with losses to Texas A&M and Florida. Arkansas also lost to three ranked teams in 2012 (Alabama, South Carolina and LSU). Arkansas’ last win against a ranked team came against Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl to end the 2011 season.
8 — Touchdown passes surrendered by the Razorbacks during their three-game losing streak. Florida’s Tyler Murphy threw a career-high three touchdown passes Saturday night. Arkansas allowed three touchdown passes in its three-game win streak to open the season.
44.2 — Arkansas’ completion percentage in two Southeastern Conference games. Allen went 17-for-36 (47.2 percent) in the loss to Texas A&M and followed it up with a 17-for-41 (41.5 percent) performance at Florida. Poor decisions, dropped passes and other passing game flaws have led to the struggles through the air.
Arkansas endured a rough night in plenty of ways during the 30-10 loss at Florida. One of the most obvious was on the injury front. Several players were banged up.
Cornerback Will Hines was the most serious after breaking a bone in his right arm. Hines, who started six games, indicated via Twitter his season is over.
“Can’t do anything else but stay positive and have faith,” Hines posted on Twitter.
Ash said the Razorbacks must move on as well. Junior Carroll Washington or redshirt freshman Jared Collins will start in Hines’ absence Saturday.
The Razorbacks also will have to keep an eye on center Travis Swanson after Bielema said the senior hurt the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Swanson, who was hit on the side of the leg during a run play, has started 44 straight games at Arkansas. Bielema said he didn’t believe Swanson’s injury was “significant,” while Chaney said backup Luke Charpentier will probably get plenty of work in practice with the team captain is day-to-day this week.
“We need to get him back as soon as we possibly can,” Chaney said of Swanson.
Allen also left the field after injuring his right hand on a play that drew a late hit penalty on Florida. He missed a few plays, but returned to finish the game. The sophomore said he jammed his fingers and Bielema added that Allen’s sore right shoulder was still “tender.” It may affect his practice work this week as well.
“We’ll wait and see what the doctors say as we approach Tuesday’s practice,” Chaney said. “Whether or not he’ll be able to get some reps throwing the ball in or we go to Wednesday or we go to Thursday. It’s a day-to-day thing.”
Tight end Hunter Henry missed a few snaps after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury in the second half. The freshman walked off the field after being checked out by trainers. He returned and finished with two catches for 42 yards.
Arkansas has lost three straight and the path doesn’t get any easier with 14th-ranked South Carolina coming to Razorback Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff for Arkansas’ homecoming game is set for 11:21 and will be shown by the SEC Network.
The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 in SEC) opened the season with an impressive win against North Carolina, but have been shaky since. They suffered a 41-30 loss to Georgia, then squeezed past Vanderbilt (35-25), Central Florida (28-25) and Kentucky (35-28). South Carolina was expected to have one of the SEC’s top defenses, but the Gamecocks enter Saturday’s game ranked 10th in the conference in scoring defense (25.8 points) and sixth in total defense (365 yards a game).
Saturday’s game will be the last for Arkansas and South Carolina as permanent cross-division opponents. Both schools entered the SEC in 1992 and the Razorbacks hold a 13-8 advantage in the series. It includes five wins in the past seven seasons.