The third quarter of Florida’s 30-10 win over Arkansas might as well be called the field position quarter. Arkansas had the ball three times — two that ended in punts and one with a field goal. Two drives began with absolutely putrid starting field position and one did not. Coincidence? I think not.
Series No. 8: Six plays, 17 yards, 2:08 time elapsed.
After a kick return gaffe by the Razorbacks, the drive began at the three-yard line. A drive that begins in the shadow of your own goal post rarely produces anything good. On the third play of this drive, Arkansas showed a play they’ve had success with, a simple handoff to a receiver in motion.
As you watch the play develop, Florida safety Cody Riggs reads it all the way and makes a quick check to safety Jabari Gorman
But Gorman doesn’t notice, and bails out. This leaves a lot of green grass for a receiver to get open.
Luckily, this is an inside run play and Florida’s front seven isn’t fooled, but the confusion on the back end could have spelled trouble if the Razorbacks had decided to check to a passing play at the line of scrimmage.
On the next play, Loucheiz Purifoy was again called upon to blitz from his corner spot. When Arkansas lined up on the near hashmark, Purifoy was by himself on the quarterback’s blind side. Look for the Gators to dial this blitz up more often. It almost works like it did in the second quarter.
When the play unfolds, Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen’s slight pumpfake forces Purifoy to stutter step slightly.
That buys him just enough time to get the throw off. Allen had a slightly open receiver in Julian Horton, but the pass was a bit behind him and incomplete.
On the next play, Florida again played soft coverage, allowing for underneath throws, but yet again, Allen’s pass was incomplete.
Series grade (B): The Gators did allow Arkansas a first down, but was bailed out by two bad passes that could have been drive-extenders. The Gators remained stout against the run game.
Series No. 9: seven plays, 43 yards, 2:21 time elapsed.
Midway through this drive you see Brandon Allen make what can only be described as a perfect pass to a pretty well defended Alex Collins, who leaked out of the backfield.
It’s hard to defend a play better than that for a linebacker going out of his element in downfield pass coverage. That just goes to show what a great pass can do. On the next play, Allen went for the endzone, but Florida defensive back Jaylen Watkins played perfect coverage and ended up with a pass breakup. Two more plays and the Razorbacks were done for this series.
Series grade (A): Florida rebounded from a big play and held firm to only allow Arkansas a field goal on this drive.
Series No. 10: seven plays, 35 yards, 02:23 time elapsed.
This drive ended in the fourth quarter but began in the third with Arkansas starting with horrendous field position at its own eight. One thing you notice when watching this clip is what a good push Florida’s front got off the ball and how they pushed around the Arkansas interior linemen, led by Dominique Easley’s replacement, Darious Cummings.
Watch as Cummings engages his blocker well, firing off the ball and standing him straight up.
Again here, voiding all attempts at a double team.
That’s the big question mark that faced the Gators once they lost Dominique Easley, and this Arkansas offensive line is one of the better ones Florida will go against all season. On the final play of the drive, Florida played back in coverage and was bailed out by yet another third down incompletion.
Series grade (A): No concerns, or qualms, another solid series for the Gators.
Quarter grade (A): It was a good performance from this Gators coming out of the half, aided by the Razorbacks poor field positioning. Why play soft in coverage so often? Because it forces an offense to sustain a 90+ yard drive, something Arkansas was unable to do. The Razorbacks beat themselves often in the passing game, misfiring on passes they should have completed. You can’t ignore a Florida defensive unit that –except for a very well placed pass– gave up one play that went longer than 10 yards in any of these three series.