Arkansas Razorbacks (3-2, 2-2 ATS) at No. 1 Florida Gators (5-0, 2-1-1 ATS)
The Swamp Gainesville, F.L. Saturday October 17th, 3:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The Arkansas Razorbacks blew out the Auburn Tigers last week to score their biggest win of the year by a score of 44-23. The Razorbacks high power offense continued to shine posting 495 yards against a solid Auburn defense and it is the Razorbacks offense that is going to give opposing defenses nightmares this season. The Arkansas offense now will duel with the top defense from the league in the top ranked Florida Gators.
The Gators are loaded with explosive weapons on both sides of the ball and are also fresh off their biggest win of the season coming off a 13-3 defensive battle against LSU who was ranked number 4 in the country at the time. The Gators most brutal portion of the SEC schedule is out the way as they continue to make their trip towards a 3rd National Championship in 4 years. However, the Gators now have to avoid any upsets and that could be jeopardy this weekend after a big win in a letdown situation against one of the best offenses in the conference.
The Gators defense is the most talented 11 man unit in America and those guys will be responsible for foiling Ryan Mallett and an elusive passing attack. The Gators defense is by far the best in the nation holding opponents to just 202 yards of total offense. The Gators also own the nation’s best passing defense holding opponents to a lucrative 115 yards per game. Florida has yet to play a team that keeps the ball in the air as much as Arkansas so it will be interesting to see how many yards they will yield to a solid quarterback, but the Gators secondary is far too talented to cause too much of a worry heading into this Saturday.
In fact if there is any worry it should be on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators offense did not execute very well against the LSU defense and was held to just 327 yards of total offense. Tim Tebow threw for just 134 yards although he completed 11 of 14 passing. The Gators elite running back carousal is their biggest threat to defenses. Running back Jeffrey Demps is among the most explosive playmakers in America averaging 8.9 yards per carry. Demps had 16 carries for 86 yards against the strong LSU defense.
Running backs Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody has also been a huge asset to the nation’s number 2 rushing offense. Both tailbacks have combined for over 500 yards this season while sporting 8 yards per carry on the season. One area that the Razorbacks have struggled in this season is their run defense that has allowed over 145 yards per game. That is not a good area to be struggling in when taking on so many talented tailbacks from the Gators. Despite Tim Tebow only throwing for 352 yards over the last 3 games, it will not be a factor if the Razorbacks can not stop the rushing attack from the Gators.
The Razorbacks offense is led by former Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett who has over 1,400 yards through the first 5 games of the season. Mallett has averaged an extremely impressive 284 yards per game which is nearly 55 yards more than any other quarterback in the SEC. As a result, Arkansas has one of the best passing offenses in the nation ranking 10th overall. Mallett already has 13 touchdowns to just 3 picks and now will try to pick a part the best secondary he will see all season. Even though Mallett tends to throw a bunch of balls down field, expect the Razorbacks quarterback to attempt a lot of short under routes early. If those can be completed early in the game, the corners may get frustrated and move up allowing opportunities to come available down the field.
It must be a methodical approach because Mallett just will not be able
to burn the secondary just with his arm because Florida is too talented.
However if Arkansas can get their 3 talented sophomore wide outs to just
keep catching quick passes and moving the chains, then
perhaps they will get the opportunity to make bigger plays even though Florida
does not normally give up any large gains. The focus for the Florida defense
will be on Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, and Joe Adams who can all
make plays. If there is no pressure up front by Florida, the Razorbacks
will have the chance to score more points than anyone has posted against
the number 1 defense in America.
Jay’s Pick: The Gators will get a lot of pressure up front on Mallett which should prevent Arkansas from having a ton of success with the football. Arkansas is an offense that has scored 40 plus points in 3 of their last 4 games. That noise all stops this Saturday in the swamp and Florida steamrolls them by 4 touchdowns!