Run defense improved, Gators seal victory

The Florida defense knew what it was facing on Saturday night. Arkansas was going to pound the football on the ground. However, the emotions and excitement got the best of the Gators in the first quarter, as they allowed 81 rushing yards. Over the final three quarters, Florida held the Razorbacks to 30 rushing yards while playing more disciplined on defense.

Freshman Alex Collins came into Saturday's game with four 100-yard rushing games in Arkansas' first five games this year. After posting 41 yards on four carries in the first quarter on Saturday, he looked well on his way to another one. Collins gashed the Gators on the ground, keying an eight-play, 64-yard touchdown drive to get the Razorbacks on the board with a 7-0 lead.

"Disappointed with how we played the run early in the game," Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. "We got out of our gaps, and guys were trying to make plays. When you play a team like that, you can't get frustrated. Our guys want to create negative plays, and when you do that, you become very undisciplined in your gap control. That's what happened to us a lot.

"Far too many situations where we're not in the right gap, our eyes are in the wrong gap. That was disappointing."

The defense got into a better groove after that long drive, allowing just three points the final 47:09 of the game. Collins finished the game with 13 carries for 54 yards rushing. Jonathan Williams, his counterpart in the backfield, ended it with eight carries for 32 yards and the lone touchdown.

Nothing surprised Florida. They played too much off emotion and lost control of their defensive responsibilities. Once those changed and the Gators were in position, the Arkansas run game couldn't gain any traction.

"I fully expected it, and we just didn't play blocks well," Muschamp said. "Gap control wasn't good, but we played runs better in the second half. Our guys still need to get better."

INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) was held out of the game. He practiced on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but didn't feel like the knee was ready to go after warm ups. The coaches expect him to be ready for next weekend's game at LSU.

"We've just got to get him a little more time," Muschamp said. "He should be fine for this week. We need to be full speed for this week."

Freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis also suffered a cheek laceration on the opening kickoff. He was held out of the game after it was swollen, and the trainers feared it could reopen if he was back on the field. He is expected to be fine for next week.

HARRISON EJECTED:Florida center Jonotthan Harrison was ejected in the third quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct, and while the officials and Florida wouldn't announce what officially happened, Harrison was spotted on replays making contact with an official.

Muschamp said he wouldn't "get into all that," but he knew the ejection was the right call.

"Jon's an emotional guy," Muschamp said. "He lost his temper and did something he shouldn't have done. He was ejected from the game, and rightfully so. We'll handle it and move forward."

KICK GAME STRUGGLES: After Austin Hardin had a 48-yard field goal blocked in the first quarter, Muschamp made the switch to backup Brad Phillips. The protection was solid on Hardin's kick, but the execution was not.

"The blocked kick wasn't what we wanted," Muschamp said. "Austin just kicked it too low. It had nothing to do with penetration. I could've blocked it."

Phillips made a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter before missing an extra point after Florida's final touchdown. The battle will remain open this week in practice.

"You see where we are a little bit there in the kicking game, where we've had some issues, and where I've been with that," Muschamp said. "I've got confidence in those guys. Both of those guys have the ability, they've just got to get out and do it. Consistency is what needs to improve."

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