Win Over Hogs Raises Questions

First things first. Even in this year where SEC road teams are playing better than anyone can remember any road win in the SEC is a good thing. A road win by 31 points is an even better thing. Florida's 38-7 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville was not as impressive as the final score might tend to indicate.

As a result there is still much to learn about this team, and there is still much room for it to improve.

Arkansas only put seven points on the board, but a lot of that is due to the Razorbacks having lousy field position most of the day. The Gators saw the Hogs drive at least 40 yards on seven of its 11 possessions. Florida could only force four punts on the afternoon and created just two "three-and-out" situations. Arkansas ended up with 361 yards of total offense and gained ridiculous amounts of yardage on draw plays. Hogs quarterback Casey Dick threw 38 times and while Florida was officially credited with four sacks, those four sacks totaled just eight lost yards.

Offensively the Gators got it done with big plays in the running game. Jeff Demps took off on scoring runs of 36 and 48 yards while Chris Rainey exploded for a 75-yard score. That's 159 yards and three touchdowns on those plays alone. Tim Tebow supported the big play freshmen with 217 passing yards and two scores, though he did throw his first interception since third grade (or so it seemed). He also spread the ball around, hitting eight different receivers including Carl Moore and Deonte Thompson twice each.

Two Key Sequences

This game would have been a whole lot scarier for Gator partisans except for two sequences in the second half. The first came with the Gators up 17-7 when Tebow was intercepted, giving Arkansas good field position at the Razorbacks' 39-yard line. A score there and it's a one score game. However the Gator defense got one of its "three-and-outs" at this critical juncture. After Arkansas pinned the Gators down on their 17, Florida responded with a six play drive ending in a touchdown pass from Tebow to Percy Harvin.

The next key sequence was soon to follow. The Hogs drove from the 40 to the Gators' 11 and on fourth down had a short field goal to get back within two scores. Ahmad Black blocked the kick and four plays later his fellow Lakeland High School alum Chris Rainey raced 75 yards for the game clincher.

Florida came through when it mattered most and you'll never hear me downgrade a 31-point win. Still with LSU looming next week the Gators have some things to improve upon. It starts with the middle of the defense which is not getting enough push in the pass rush nor is it clogging up the running game. Granted in Jonathan Luigs the Gators just faced one of the best centers in the nation. A guy that good can cause defensive fronts all kinds of problems. Florida got some playing time for Torrey Davis and maybe he can make a difference. The Gators got only three tackles from their defensive tackle starters, all by Lawrence Marsh. That play in the middle must improve a lot and in a hurry. The next team they face is probably the best team they'll face the rest of the way.


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