Arkansas-Florida: Intriguing Weekend in the Swamp as Gators Host Hogs

James Walker@BRJamesWalkerAnalyst IIOctober 15, 2009

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 06:  Jermaine Cunningham #49 of the Florida Gators reacts with Brandon Spikes #51 and Carlos Dunlap #8 after Cunningham's sack against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the SEC Championship on December 6, 2008 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

This weekend, coach Bobby Petrino's Arkansas Razorbacks come to Gainesville to face the No. 1-ranked Florida Gators. It is also Florida's Homecoming.

Last week, Arkansas convincingly defeated Auburn, handing them their first defeat of the season.

Ryan Mallett threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran four yards for another touchdown. Razorbacks RB Michael Smith rushed for 145 yards and one touchdown.

However, this week Arkansas faces the No. 1 defense in the country when they play the Florida Gators. 

Florida's pass defense is compelling. This season they have given up one touchdown while intercepting seven passes. Only 576 total passing yards have been given up this season.

On the other hand, Arkansas' passing offense is ranked No. 10 in the country. Currently the Razorbacks are averaging 318.2 yards/game through the air. If they are to meet or beat their average this weekend, they will have to pass for 55 percent more yards than the Gators have given up all season.

Arkansas surely will attempt to establish a running game in order to facilitate their passing attack. Florida relinquishes 87.4 yards/game on the ground and has given up just one touchdown this season via rushing. Arkansas has scored seven times on the ground this season. 

Tim Tebow returned last week against LSU after suffering a concussion against Kentucky two weeks prior, and the question remains if Tebow will return to his normal self this week. If so, the Arkansas defense will have their work cut out for them.

Coach Petrino and his staff will have to create and implement a masterful game plan, and his players will have to play flawlessly if they hope to have any chance of victory.

Against Auburn last week, Arkansas allowed RB Ben Tate to rush for 184 yards on 22 attempts. He scored two touchdowns and averaged 8.4 yards/carry. Arkansas will have to solidify their rushing defense if they hope to stop Tebow, Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey, and Emmanuel Moody.

Florida's Homecoming celebration will begin Friday night with their annual Gator Growl, and the party will continue well into Saturday afternoon. Florida will win convincingly, 34 to 14.