Florida's Tim Tebow is coming off a performance unbecoming of a player that won the Heisman Trophy last year. Arkansas, meanwhile, is sorely missing the runner-up to that award.
Tebow and the 12th-ranked Florida look to put an upset loss behind them Saturday when they face a Razorbacks team clearly in rebuilding mode after losing Darren McFadden to the NFL.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Florida –25 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 94% of bets for this game have been placed on Florida –25 (View College Football bet percentages).
Florida (3-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) dropped from fourth in the latest Associated Press Top 25 after a 31-30 loss to Mississippi last Saturday. The Gators will have a chance to bounce back quickly in a conference matchup with the Razorbacks (2-2, 0-1), who have been blown out in each of their last two games and have had trouble mustering much production on offense with McFadden gone.
Tebow, who finished ahead of McFadden in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2007 to become the first sophomore to win the award, will be looking to take advantage of Arkansas' struggles. Against the Rebels, Tebow lost a fumble, was sacked three times, finished with seven yards rushing on 15 attempts and was stuffed on a crucial 4th-and-1 run.
Florida had three turnovers overall, allowed four big plays and suffered several special teams breakdowns.
"We'll find out what kind of team we're made of," Gators coach Urban Meyer said. "Any clown can walk up there and pick up a crystal ball and put on a hat and all that fun stuff. How many guys can rally come back after an Auburn loss or after an Ole Miss loss?
"We'll find our what kind of toughness we have, what we're made of. Everybody says that, but that's the truth. We're going to find out what we are."
Tebow did run for two touchdowns and completed 24 of 38 passes for 319 yards, but his only TD pass was nearly intercepted. He also overthrew four open receivers and skipped a pass to another in the end zone.
Constant pressure, though, didn't help. Tebow was sacked three times and often under duress when dropping back to pass.
Tebow has already been sacked six times after only absorbing 13 last year, when he became the first Division I player in history to both pass and rush for 20 TDs.
The Gators' defense also had a subpar game, allowing more than 10 points for the first time this season. They gave up 140 yards rushing after yielding an average of 72.3 in their first three contests.
"It's not the adversity, it's not injuries that you have to worry about happening. Those are going to happen every year in the history of college football," Meyer said. "It's how a team, how a player, how an athlete, how a program reacts to it.
"Tough loss, devastating loss. ... But there's a lot of great football out there left."
Florida's defense gave up a 40-yard TD run and two long pass plays - a 36-yarder and an 86-yard TD that put Mississippi ahead 31-24 with 5:26 to play.
Arkansas, meanwhile, was held to 191 total yards in a 52-10 loss to then-No. 7 Texas last Saturday. Last season, with 2008 NFL first-round picks McFadden and Felix Jones in the backfield, the Razorbacks averaged 160.2 yards on the ground alone.
With Arkansas having lost its last two games by a combined 77 points, coach Bobby Petrino is preaching patience as he tries to instill his philosophy in his first year with the team.
"We can't panic," he said. "We've got to make sure we stick to our beliefs, we stick to our fundamentals and how we're going to build this program, and just keep grinding and working hard."
The Razorbacks, though, aren't getting a break in their schedule any time soon, with a contest at Auburn scheduled after this game. This is only the second time Petrino has lost two straight as a college coach, having gone 41-9 in four seasons at Louisville.
"It is very, very important that we stick together, that we all understand that we're 2-2," Petrino said. "It's not pretty the way we got beat, but there's still a heck of a lot of football ahead of us, that we are a young team and we need to build and get better each week."
Arkansas' offense has scored two TDs in the last two weeks, while giving up three. Alabama scored on two interception returns and Texas on one.
Razorbacks quarterbacks Casey Dick and Tyler Wilson have combined to throw six TDs against six interceptions, and have been sacked 17 times.
Florida has won six straight games against Arkansas to take a 6-1 lead in the series.
[TE] Cornelius Ingram is out for the season. - ACL - 08/09/08
[TE] Aaron Hernandez injured in practice, upgraded to probable. - Leg - 09
[OL] Jim Barrie expected to miss entire season - ACL - 08/12/08
[DL] Torrey Davis missed last game is %27?%27 - Disciplinary - 09/20/08
[DT] John Brown is out indefinitely. - Hand - 09/17/08
[DL] Jermaine Cunningham is ?. - Leg - 09/23/08
[LB] Ryan Stamper left last game, upgraded to probable. - Ankle - 09/24/08
[LB] Brendan Beal is expected to miss entire season - ACL - 08/12/08
[S] Dorian Munroe expected to miss entire season - ACL - 08/07/08
[WR] Marques Wade expected to miss the rest of the season - Knee - 09/22/0
[OL] Mitch Petrus out for the season - Eligibility - 09/09/08
[LB] Wendel Davis missed last game, ? - Knee - 09/21/08
[WR] Lucas Miller is downgraded to doubtful - Concussion - 09/24/08
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.
Head-to-Head Series History
FLORIDA is 1-0 against the spread versus ARKANSAS over the last 3 seasons
FLORIDA is 1-0 straight up against ARKANSAS over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
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