Ratliff Vents After Final Pick

Cornerback Keiwan Ratliff released a season of frustration after carrying his third interception into the endzone Saturday...

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - His frustrations boiling over from a season plagued by criticism, Florida cornerback Keiwan Ratliff let it go. Without saying a word, he screamed his disapproval for anything negative anyone said.

The senior just intercepted his third pass of the game, this time carrying the pick 44 yards for a touchdown and a 33-7 lead. As Ratliff cleared the end zone, he heaved a spiral into the upper deck of Razorback Stadium.

The move cost Florida an unsportsmanlike penalty. This time, it may have been worth it.

"You get fed up of hearing, 'The Gators are this, the Gators are that,'" said Ratliff, who apologized for his actions. "After I scored, honestly, I released some frustration. It was a selfish thing. It was stupid. But sometimes you just go with your feelings."

Tying the record for most interceptions by a Gator in a single game, Ratliff sparked a defensive performance Florida never expected.

But it wasn't because the Gators defense wasn't capable of making interceptions. Instead, players and coaches just never expected to be given the opportunity.

All week, coaches and players preached about their preparations for Arkansas' potent ground attack. Reason being, the Razorbacks led the conference in rushing yards, consistently plugging away on the ground rather than through the air.

As Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones started to taking to the air, it became clear this would be no ordinary week.

"You look for some of their tendencies," said Ratliff, who also recorded three pass break-ups and seven tackles. "As the game goes on, sometimes you can get a beat on the quarterback."

Quite clearly, Florida's pass defense needed to become acclimated to Arkansas' surprise approach.

Changing sporadically through the game, Matt Jones and Ryan Sorahan shared snaps in attempt to throw off the Gators' defense.

While the rotation worked crisply early on as Jones and Sorahan combined to throw 9 for 9 with 86 yards in the first quarter, the Ratliff-led defense started making adjustments.

In the second quarter, the Razorbacks completed 5 of 15 attempts. Ratliff picked off his first interception - which led to a 39-yard field goal - in the same quarter.

Coach Ron Zook said Ratliff's ability to pick up on the offensive tactics is a result of intense game preparations.

"He's taking action now, and making the big plays," Zook said. "He's preparing harder and harder. He's just playing rather than thinking."

Arkansas players said they were impressed all week when watching game tape of Ratliff. Wide receiver Steven Harris said Ratliff's speed when closing in on a pass is his most impressive ability.

"We were like, Gol-ly!" said Harris, recalling the room's reaction to Ratliff's pair of interceptions against LSU.

With five interceptions in two games, it's clear Florida's defense has found their big-play athlete.

"He is blowing up at the right time for this team," Florida safety Daryl Dixon said. "He doesn't wait for the ball to come to him. He just goes out to get it."

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