SEC Week 8 – Arkansas Hopes to Play Spoiler at Florida

by | Nov 14, 2020 | College Football | 0 comments

Only three games and six teams take the field on Saturday in the SEC due to COVID-19 penetrating the conference. Originally seven games scheduled are reduced to three, as the college football world fears cancellation and the hard fought efforts of players, coaches and programs, evaporating.

The conference features Vanderbilt (0-5) at Kentucky (2-4), and South Carolina (2-4) at Ole Miss (2-4), but only one has National importance. Four of the five ranked teams scheduled to play Saturday had road games, with #6 Florida being the only exception as they host Arkansas.

Games postponed this week.

VisitorHomeStatus – Reschedule Date ?
#1 Alabama (6-0)LSU (2-3)PostponedTBD
#5 Texas A&M (5-1)Tennessee (2-4)Postponed – December 12
#12 Georgia (4-2)Missouri (3-3)Postponed – TBD
#24 Auburn (4-2)Mississippi State (2-4)Postponed – December 12

Coach of the Year candidate, Sam Pittman, will miss Saturday’s game at Florida due to COVID.

Arkansas (3-3) at #6 Florida (4-1), 7:00 PM EST (ESPN)

One of the infected this week is Arkansas coach Sam Pittman. Pittman is the third known SEC coach to test positive for COVID-19 joining Alabama’s Nick Saban and Florida’s Dan Mullen. Barry Odom will serve as interim coach.

First Meeting Since 2016

The Gators and Razorbacks meet for the first time since 2016. Arkansas defeated Florida 31-20 on November 5, 2016, representing their only victory against Florida since joining the SEC in 1992 (Florida won the previous nine matchups).

Arkansas Series History
vs Florida
W-L
Overall2-9>>
at Florida0-4
Florida ranked in Top 101-5
Florida ranked in Top 50-5
Arkansas ranked in top 251-3
SEC Championship Game0-2
>>1-9 since joining SEC in 1992

Last game – Arkansas

Felipe Franks threw three second-half TD, overcoming a 13-0 deficit to defeat Tennessee 24-13. Treylon Burks continued his strong recent play, hauling in the decisive score, giving him 23 catches for 349 yards and four TD in his last three games. 

Treylon Burks
2020 Season
First 2 GamesLast 3 Games
Receptions823
Yards112349
YPC1415.2
TD14

Last game – Florida

The world’s largest outdoor cocktail party saw Florida face the same start as Arkansas did against Tennessee.  After allowing 136 yards on their first seven plays, the Gators defense strangled the Bulldogs, allowing only 142 total yards (80 coming on their only other TD drive) the rest of the game.

Florida Defense
November 7 vs Georgia
1st 2 DrivesLast 11 Drives>>
Plays750
Yards136142
Yards Per Play19.42.8
Punts07
TD21
Turnovers03
>>Gators outscored Georgia 44-14

The Gators defense has improved considerably in their last two games.

Florida Defense
2020 Season
1st 3 GamesLast 2 Games
PPG33.317.5
Yards PG495262.5
1st Downs28.714
Turnovers35

The Gators defense broke the back of Stetson Bennett and Georgia holding them to 2.8 yards per play on their last 50 plays

While Florida’s defense dominated, Kyle Trask led the Gators offense, setting an SEC record with this fifth straight game with four or more TD passes, as the Gators scored 44 of the final 58 points, outgaining Georgia by 294 yards (571-277).

Florida Strengths

Kyle Trask leads an explosive Florida offense ranked 19th in the nation in YPG (495) – second in the SEC – and 12th in PPG (42.4) – second in the SEC. Trask’s 22 TD ties him with three others for the most in the nation, despite playing fewer games (Trask 5 – others have at least 6).

Kyle Trask set an SEC record in the Gators 44-28 win over Georgia with his fifth straight game throwing at least four TD.

Since taking over for Felipe Franks in week three of the 2019 season against Kentucky, Trask has 46 TD passes and 4,590 passing yards in his 15 starts. Trask has registered at least 4 TD passes in each of his five starts this season. 

Graham Harrell of Texas Tech holds the record for most games with 4 TD passes from the start of the season, with six in 2007. Davis Webb playing for Cal in 2016 is the only other QB to throw 4 TD in his first five season games.

Most Games 4 TD Passes, QB
NCAA Football, Since 2000
GamesTeamYearTD
Graham Harrell6Texas Tech200724
Kyle Trask5Florida202022
Davis Webb5California201622
>>From Start of Season

Arkansas Defense
2020 Season
TotalSEC Rank
Passing YPG222.22nd
Turnovers Forced151st
Defensive TD Scored31st

Arkansas Strengths

Sam Pittman’s crew leads the SEC in turnovers forced with 15. Only Kentucky allows fewer than Arkansas’ 220 passing yards PG in the SEC. However, the Hogs’ inability to stop the run (179.3 YPG – 2nd worst in SEC) is something Florida’s offense could exploit.

Arkansas Offense
2020 Season
First 2 GamesLast 4 Games
PPG15.529
Total YPG277.5426
Rushing YPG70172.3

Arkansas offense taken off the last four games, averaging 426 yards per game and 29 PPG after averaging 277.5 yds per game and 15.5 PPG in their first two games. Felipe Franks gets his chance to show the Gators they made the wrong choice when Kyle Trask replaced him against Kentucky last season. Franks has 14 TD and just one INT in his last five games. 

Felipe Franks and Treylon Burks have grown familiar the last three weeks, combining for 23 catches, 349 yards and four TD.

Prediction:

The Gators offense is too much for a much-improved Razorbacks defense, but the Hogs’ revenge factor with Franks will inspire them to stay in the game until the fourth quarter.

Final Score

Arkansas 24

Florida 34 

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