Setting A Trap (Game) In The Swamp

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Tim Tebow could probably wallpaper his bedroom with every magazine cover he has graced over the past few years.

The Florida quarterback made his seventh appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week with a picture of him in midair, trying to elude a tackle by LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

But Arkansas' players are more concerned with re-enacting the events that led to Tebow's least favorite Sports Illustrated cover, the one that came out a year ago showing the Heisman Trophy winner getting smacked by an Ole Miss defender.

Despite being 22-point underdogs, the Razorbacks hope to repeat what the Rebels did a year ago by going into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at 2:30 p.m. today and shocking another highly ranked Gators team.

"We don't have to do anything extraordinary to win this game," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "We just have to play Razorback football."

If enough goes right for the Razorbacks (3-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference), Tebow could be back on the cover of Sports Illustrated next week, this time in another unflattering pose.

To prepare for today's game, Petrino said he reviewed film from Ole Miss' 31-30 win over Florida on Sept. 27, 2008. He wanted to see what the Rebels did that no other team has been able to do since then, beating the Gators by throwing the deep ball and forcing turnovers.

That was the last loss for top-ranked Florida (5-0, 3-0 SEC), who boast the nation's longest winning streak at 15 consecutive games. The streak began the following week with a 38-7 win over Arkansas in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"Arkansas could definitely beat us. They have a great team, a lot of great players, a good coach," Tebow said. "That's not a trap game. That's a competitive game in my opinion."

After knocking off a pair of previously unbeaten teams in Texas A&M and Auburn over the past two weeks, the Razorbacks enter today with the confidence that they can make it three in a row.

Arkansas has gotten Florida coach Urban Meyer's attention with a high-powered offense that leads the SEC in passing (318.2 yards per game). The defense has shown lately that it can hold its own, limiting Texas A&M and Auburn to just 42 points total.

And unlike in the days leading up to a 35-7 loss at third-ranked Alabama on Sept. 26, Petrino gets the sense that his players believe they can go into one of the SEC's most hostile environments and do what's needed to pull off the upset.

The Razorbacks have twice lost when facing a top-ranked Florida team, 42-7 in 1996 and 56-7 the following year.

"It's not about playing the No. 1 team. It's not about playing for a championship (or) this and that," Arkansas middle linebacker Wendel Davis said. "It's about what we do and how we go out there and play."

Sounds easy enough, right?

Today is Florida's homecoming, but Meyer admitted that Arkansas isn't the typical homecoming opponent that's expected to lose big. He said the Razorbacks are "arguably one of the top 5 teams as far as hot teams in the country right now."

Meyer, meanwhile, has spent the past few days answering questions about his luke-warm offense. The Gators were conservative in last week's 13-3 win at No. 10 LSU, relying on their top-ranked defense to pull out the win in Tebow's first game back from a concussion.

But Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson isn't buying the notion that Florida has gone away from its complex offense that calls on Tebow to make plays with his arm and legs.

"You always have to be a little bit afraid of a wolf in sheep's clothing," Robinson said. "They're setting the trap for you a little bit, but you still have to go in and stop the run. You always do."

So can Arkansas shock the college football world like Ole Miss did a year ago by leaving The Swamp with a unexpected win?

"Honestly, we're really not worried about what Ole Miss did," Arkansas wide receiver London Crawford said. "We're worried about what we know we can do."

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