Saturday represents the first ever “black out” in the Swamp as Florida takes on Arkansas at noon.
The following are our staff’s predictions for Florida vs Arkansas:
Carson Euverard – Billy Napier announced the Gators will be without their leading-tackler Shemar James for the rest of the season, leaving Scooby Williams to anchor the linebackers. Arkansas’ offense is ranked 120th nationally, so the defense should be able to control the tempo of the game with James’ absence. The Gators only have four turnovers this year and will have to start forcing more turnovers to get the offense into a rhythm. Austin Armstrong will need to dial-up pressure on KJ Jefferson and force him to make mistakes.
The Gators offense will look to bounce-back after facing a sound Georgia defense. Expect to see Eugene Wilson III to get the ball more after a stellar first drive against the Bulldogs. The Gators will have their way on defense and take this one, 27-17.
Hugh Green – Coming off a lackluster performance last week against Georgia, the Gators will try to bounce back against a much lesser opponent in Arkansas. Florida will be without linebacker Shemar James for the rest of the year after injuring his knee against the Bulldogs. James leads the team in tackles, so filling his shoes will be a tough task.
This week offers what should be a friendlier matchup than last week as the Gators are back in the Swamp against the Razorbacks. Arkansas has lost their last six games after winning the opening two. The Razorback defense has been keeping them in games as they have lost their last three by a combined 14 points. However, the Arkansas offense has not been up to par. This was shown last week as they scored just three points in a 7-3 loss to Mississippi State.
The Florida defense should be able to handle the Arkansas offense that has struggled so mightily in recent weeks. On the offensive side, the Gators will need to get back to how they played against Vanderbilt and South Carolina, when they scored 38 and 41, respectively. Graham Mertz will be a big part of that as he looks to lead his team to victory. Florida, 31-14.
Regan Roberts – Arkansas is 0-5 in SEC play this season and is coming off of their bye week. Their last game against Mississippi State they only put up 3 points in a 7-3 loss. The Razorbacks schedule does not reflect their strength of schedule. They lost 34-31 to No. 13 LSU, 27-20 against No. 11 Ole Miss, and 24-21 to No. 8 Alabama. The Razorbacks held their own in those games and posed a real threat to those teams.
The Gators are coming off of a rough week against the Bulldogs in Jacksonville. Mertz had a decent offensive showing with 230 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in an otherwise blank Gators offense. The Razorbacks will be more of a test to the Gators than people would expect from their be record and they will be hungry for an SEC win. If the Gators can get their offense to produce, they should be able to handle Arkansas, but it will be a closer game than most will expect. Florida, 21-14.
Brian Fox – If you think Florida has had a rough year, the fans in Fayetteville aren’t going to want to hear it. The Hogs are 0-5 in SEC play despite big expectations for an offense led by QB KJ Jefferson.
In this matchup, the Gators are the better team and should take the win, though the game will likely be closer than it should. Florida 27, Arkansas 21.
Florida and Arkansas are set to kick off at 12:00 PM from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The game will be aired live on ESPN2.