The Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3) will travel to the Swamp to take on the No. 6 Florida Gators (4-1) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday evening.
Head coach Sam Pittman will not lead the Hogs after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom will serve as the interim, and was previously the head coach for the Missouri Tigers from 2016-2019, with an overall record of 25-25 (13-19 SEC).
Arkansas is coming off an explosive 24-13 home victory over the Tennessee Volunteers after trailing 13-0 at the half. Florida is coming into the game with a win against the Georgia Bulldogs under its belt. The Gators stomped out the Bulldogs’ flame, 44-28.
The defense has helped Arkansas own a turnover margin of +8. The Hogs have had a -20 turnover margin combined for the past four seasons.
Arkansas has a total of 12 interceptions and three fumble recoveries this season. Freshman defensive back Hudson Clark leads the team with three picks.
Florida senior quarterback Kyle Trask has thrown for 1,815 yards this season. He is tied for most touchdown passes in the country at 22, has completed a SEC East-leading 68.7% of his pass attempts and has the fourth-best quarterback rating in the nation at 92.9.
Arkansas graduate senior quarterback Feleipe Franks will be playing against his former team. Last season, Franks suffered a gruesome leg injury against the Kentucky Wildcats and was out for the rest of the year. Trask played well enough throughout the season to win the starting job, prompting Franks to transfer to the University of Arkansas on Jan. 20.
“It’s going to be crazy,” Franks said Saturday during a Zoom postgame conference. “Not necessarily emotionally for me, but I love all those guys on the staff and the players. It’ll just be fun to get back out there and play in the Swamp. These guys here are ready and excited to play.”
Pittman said he was impressed by Franks after he played through a leg injury last week against Tennessee. He completed 18 of his 24 pass attempts for 215 yards and three touchdown passes.
“What you don’t see on that piece of paper [statistics] is toughness and leadership,” Pittman said. “He got hurt early in that game, never came out, was making all kinds of throws and was pulling the ball down and running it. He got sacked a couple of times and got right up. The guy, he’s incredible.”
Franks has slung the ball for 1,428 yards and 14 touchdown passes, completing 67.2% of his pass attempts. He has also had a recent uptick in rushing with 109 yards in the last two games.
Pittman said Franks and the Razorbacks’ offense must contend with an aggressive Florida defense that leads the SEC in tackles for loss per game.
“They can rush the passer,” Pittman said. “They have speed on the edge. Their back end is very aggressive, so hopefully we can get behind them. They’re very aggressive in the run game. They obviously have a lot of speed. They’re playing better than they have all year right now on defense.”
The Gators are the Razorbacks’ fifth-ranked opponent this season and third in the top 10.
This is the 12th meeting between the two schools with Florida leading the all-time series 9-2. The most recent matchup came in 2016 when the Hogs defeated the Gators 31-10 in Fayetteville.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN. Florida is favored to win by -17.5 with the over/under at 62.5, according to College Football News.