By Dory LeBlanc
The No. 18 Florida Gators remain unbeaten in the Southeastern Conference (3-0) after a shaky start, falling behind 7-0 to the Arkansas Razorbacks before going on to outscore the Hogs 30-3.
Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III took college football by storm in his first four games with seven tackles (including one for loss), three interceptions and a blocked kick while Loucheiz Purifoy, said to be the Gators' top draft prospect, sat out the opener due to a suspension and had been quiet in the three games that followed, still looking for his first career interception.
All of that changed Saturday night at the Swamp.
Purifoy forced a fumble after taking QB Brandon Allen to the ground in the first quarter and put the Gators up 10-7 after intercepting the Hogs signal caller and returning it 42 yards for a score. However, as good as the junior from
The Gators, who entered the game ranked 35th in the nation in rushing, continued to split carries between Matt Jones and Mack Brown who combined for a dismal 89 yards on 28 carries.
With Arkansas' defense focused heavily on stuffing the Florida RB tandem Tyler Murphy was forced to keep the ball in the air, and did not disappoint, throwing for three touchdowns – the first time A Gator QB passed for at least three scores since Jeff Driskel did it with four against South Carolina almost a year ago.
Murphy, who completed 16-of-22 passes for 240 yards also ran the ball seven times for 15 yards.
Two of those touchdown receptions were caught by Solomon Patton, who matched his season total in TDs against the Hogs and picked up 124 yards on six receptions and 14 yards on two attempts on the ground.
All was not positive for
SEC says Gators C Jon Harrison NOT automatically suspended for 1st half of next game following ejection— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) October 6, 2013
The Gators also committed eight penalties for 84 yards.
Entering the contest with the nation’s best run defense, the Gators allowed a season-high 111 rushing yards to
So far in the first five games this season, the Gators have outscored opponents a combined 72-12 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, without allowing a TD and have held 12 consecutive SEC opponents to 20 points or less.
Next up: The Gators travel to