This Week in the SEC: Florida

<b>INSIDE SLANT</b><br> Florida coach Ron Zook is hoping his young football got a lot more than win out of Saturday's home game against Arkansas. He's also hoping the Gators learned a valuable lesson.<p> The Gators led 38-7 with 3:30 left in the third quarter before allowing Arkansas to rally and cut the lead to 38-30 with 6:47 left in the game. The Gators survived the scare to win 45-30, but the game didn't have to be that close.

No. 12 Florida (3-1, 2-1 SEC) should have known better. The Gators led Arkansas 33-7 last year before holding on for a 33-28 victory.

"I just told these guys, enjoy this win because a lot of times you get in a game like that and lose," Zook said. "I don't know why things happen the way they do. But they happened last year. I told them I refused to let them walk out of the locker room feeling bad.

"The thing we have to do is be able to play a whole game like we did the first half. If I had the answer why we didn't, I probably wouldn't be coaching. It's something you have to continue to stress. When we had to have it, we did it."

The fans want winning to be impressive and overwhelming, but sometimes, given the competitive and dangerous nature of the SEC, winning is all that really matters.

"There's no reason to walk around here with our heads down," tailback Ciatrick Fason said. "We came up with the victory and that's all that matters."

Still, the Gators must realize that victory could have become a defeat.

"In the SEC, you have to be ready to play every day," safety Cory Bailey said. "You can't let up. You have to play a full 60 minutes."

NOTES, QUOTES

GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Chris Leak -- He bounced back from a subpar performance against Kentucky with a big game against Arkansas, completing 23-of-38 passes for three touchdowns and a career-high 322 yards.

KEEP AN EYE ON: LB Channing Crowder -- He's usually known for his tackling, but his interception of a tipped ball with 4:24 left to play helped Florida hold off Arkansas' rally. He also led the Gators with 11 tackles.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We were sitting back in Cover 2 and their player came across and I just did my job. The ball got tipped right into my stomach and I just took off running. We just had to keep playing because it's a 60-minute game and that's what it's all about. We just have to work on playing a full game and we'll be fine." -- Florida LB Channing Crowder.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

LOOKING GOOD: After the offense struggled in the red zone the week before against Kentucky, Florida scored on all four of its trips in the red zone, and QB Chris Leak threw for 322 yards and three TDs without an interception. WR Dallas Baker did his part by catching six passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: The Gators led 38-7 in the third quarter, but they let the Razorbacks in the game and came dangerously close to putting the game up for grabs. Do that against Georgia and it could cost them the game and the division title.

ROSTER REPORT: The Gators appeared to survive without any new significant injuries to key players, which should put them in a good position going into this week's home game against LSU.


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