Florida 30, Arkansas 10: Gators Win Sloppy Game

Al Messerschmidt

It wasn't pretty, but it never is when Florida is involved anymore.

In an ugly game in Gainesville, Florida pulled away in the second half to defeat Arkansas 30-10.

Loucheiz Purifoy was the man of the first half, with a number of key plays involving him. He had a sack and strip of Arkansas's Brandon Allen, leading to a Florida recovery. He had a pick six to get the Gators' first touchdown. He also muffed a punt late in the half that was the subject of much controversy.

Purifoy signaled for a fair catch and bobbled the ball. An Arkansas player then came in to knock it away in the air, leading to an apparent turnover and setting up the Razorbacks close to Florida's end zone. The refs threw a kick-catch interference flag, however, and the Gators used the ensuing drive to go down the field and extend their lead from 10-7 to 17-7. The rule on this play, Article 1b in Section 5, is as follows:

When a Team B player [Purifoy, in this case] makes a valid fair catch signal, the unimpeded opportunity to catch a free or scrimmage kick continues if this player muffs the kick and still has an opportunity to complete the catch. This protection terminates when the kick touches the ground.

Because Arkansas's players touched the ball before it hit the ground, it was a penalty by rule.

Anyway, I spent all that space on the controversial call because the rest of the game wasn't terribly interesting. Neither team could run it all that well, with Arkansas getting 3.8 yards per rush and Florida getting 2.8. Arkansas's receivers dropped at least a half dozen passes, too. Tyler Murphy and Solomon Patton provided most of the offensive action on the night, really. Murphy completed 16 of 22 for 10.9 yards per attempt (240 total) with three TDs and no INTs. Patton caught six passes for 124 yards and two TDs, and he proved as slippery as ever as he wriggled out of a number of tackles.

After a while, this one came down to counting just how many personal foul penalties Florida could get and how many Razorbacks would leave the game due to injuries. Those two counters coincided when Allen injured a finger on his throwing hand after getting a late hit from Dante Fowler. Allen would return, but the more major injury was Travis Swanson's. The terrific Arkansas center left the game in the second half and wouldn't return.

Arkansas is a very limited team that is very much in rebuilding mode. Florida is a pretty good team that wins by dragging games down into the mud and making them ugly. We knew those facts going in, and nothing we saw tonight changes that narrative.

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