Razorbacks Overpower No. 10 Florida

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas defense set the tone early and never let up Saturday afternoon inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, holding the 10th-ranked Florida Gators to 241 yards and no offensive touchdowns. The offense was strong too, putting up 466 yards, as the Razorbacks won their sixth game of the year, 31-10, its’ third over a top-15 opponent.

The win is Arkansas’ second ever over the Gators and its fifth over a ranked team in its last eight opportunities. The victory moves the Razorbacks to 6-3 on the year, 2-3 in the SEC, making them bowl eligible for the third straight season.

Sophomore safety Santos Ramirez had the early highlight as he picked off Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio on the Gators’ first play from scrimmage and took it 24 yards for the game’s first score. From there the defense was in the backfield often and never let the Gators get any momentum.

Florida only managed 229 yards passing with two interceptions and 12 yards rushing. The Hog defense also brought the pressure with three sacks in the game, its fourth game this year with 3+ sacks. Along with Ramirez, Josh Liddell came up with a pick late in the first quarter, ending a long Florida drive that reached the red zone.

Arkansas’ offense wasn’t a slouch either. Quarterback Austin Allen finished the game 15 of 26 through the air for 243 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Drew Morgan turned in one of his best games of the year hauling in seven catches for 95 yards. His touchdown grab at the end of the first half gave Arkansas an important two score lead that it never relinquished for the rest of the game.

On the ground, Rawleigh Williams III and Devwah Whaley provided a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield, combining for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Williams led all players with 148 yards on 26 carries, his fifth 100-yard game this season, which currently ties him for second in the SEC.

How It Went Down
The Hog defense came up big early with Ramirez’s pick six. It was Arkansas’ fourth interception return for a touchdown this year, which is the most since at least the 1985 season. For Ramirez, it was his second interception of his career, first this season.

The defense was the story of the first half as it allowed Florida to cross midfield only twice out of seven drives. The one drive that had the Gators’ threatening ended in Arkansas’ second interception of the half coming from Liddell.

Arkansas’ offense got to work after Florida’s first punt of the game. With the drive starting at their own 9-yard line, the Hogs had no problem driving down the field and finishing with a strong 6-yard touchdown run by Williams to go up 14-0. For Williams, it was his seventh touchdown of the year, sixth on the ground.

The drive was highlighted by a 43-yard reception by Whaley that nearly went the distance. It was his first career reception and fourth longest reception by a Razorback this season. Whaley finished the game with two catches for 69 yards on his only two targets.

Florida did cut the lead in half with an interception return for a touchdown of their own to make it 14-7 late in the first quarter. However, Arkansas responded with a good four-minute drive just before halftime to take back its 14-point lead with some help from some crisp passing from Allen.

Tight end Jeremy Sprinkle was the big target on the 87-yard scoring drive, catching three passes on three targets, two going for 10+ yards. His 31-yard catch midway through the drive got the Razorbacks just outside the red zone and was his longest catch of the season.

Morgan finished off the drive with a 7-yard scoring catch to put the Hogs up 21-7 after running a beautiful route in the back of the end zone before Allen thread a pass right through the defense.

Morgan now has three touchdowns on the year and is one touchdown away from tying Greg Childs for 12th all-time in school history with 15 for his career.

The third quarter was much of a defensive stalemate, but Arkansas was able to light up the scoreboard two more times in the fourth quarter as kicker Adam McFain booted a 36-yard field goal to cap a 13-play, 7:20 second drive six minutes into the quarter. It was McFain’s second straight game with a field goal of 35-yards or more.

Williams added in the final score for the Hogs with a 41-yard run right up the middle, his second game this season with two touchdowns, eighth touchdown of the year.

Up Next
The Razorbacks will return home next week on Nov. 12 when they face No. 15 LSU inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium as the two teams will battle for the “Golden Boot” trophy. Arkansas will look to make it three straight wins over LSU with kickoff time still to be determined.