No. 6 Florida looks to keep momentum vs. Arkansas
The Florida Gators will be chasing their third consecutive victory, and possibly a move higher up in the rankings, when they play host to the Arkansas Razorbacks in an SEC battle Saturday night.
The Razorbacks (3-3, 3-3 SEC) will be without their head coach Sam Pittman, who tested positive for COVID-19 this week and will not make the trip to The Swamp.
Defensive coordinator Barry Odom will serve as interim coach. Pittman will be the first SEC head coach to miss a game though he is the third conference coach to test positive, joining Alabama’s Nick Saban and Florida’s Dan Mullen earlier this season.
“I’m embarrassed. To be honest with you I haven’t done anything different than what I’ve done ever since we were on Test 33,” Pittman said Monday. “As far as the voice of the team and such, that’ll be Coach Odom.”
No. 6 Florida (4-1, 4-1) is coming off a 44-28 victory over Georgia on Saturday when the Gators scored 27 unanswered points after trailing 21-14. Quarterback Kyle Trask piled up 474 passing yards and four touchdowns, completing 30 of 43 passes.
“They’re a really good football team. There’s so many weapons offensively,” Pittman said of the Gators. “They do as good a job as anybody in the country of running their backs out of the backfield.”
Florida has scored at least 38 points in every game this season, even in a loss to Texas A&M. But the Gators might not have one of their best offensive weapons, star tight end Kyle Pitts.
Pitts was questionable early in the week with a concussion from the Georgia game. The junior from Philadelphia has 24 catches for a team-best 414 yards with eight touchdowns on the season.
Saturday’s game also marks the return of former Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks, now the signal-caller for Arkansas. Franks suffered a knee injury at Florida last season and lost his starting job to Trask, and then he transferred.
“He’s picked it up really fast, and I think he’s having a great year,” Mullen said. “But I wouldn’t have expected anything less than that from him and, you know, the Feleipe I know.”
The Razorbacks are coming off a 24-13 win over Tennessee last week. In that game, Arkansas scored 24 unanswered points in the second half, after being shut out in the first half of a game for the first time this season.
Franks completed 18 of 24 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns, and is up to 14 passing touchdowns on the season, the most by a Razorback QB since Austin Allen’s 25 in 2016.
Franks is also the first Razorback quarterback to throw for 200 or more yards in the team’s first six games since 2000.
Florida has won nine out of the last 10 meetings between the teams, with Arkansas winning the most recent game in 2016 by a 31-10 score.
–Field Level Media