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Published September 12, 2015
Arkansas isn't built to play from behind.
So once the Razorbacks trailed by double digits, their powerful running game became moot and they had little chance against No. 18 Florida.
Alex Collins ran for 54 yards, Jonathan Williams added 32 and a score, but Arkansas lost 30-10 against the Gators. It was the ninth consecutive loss in the series.
"Obviously disappointed," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "It's not a lot of fun. We had too many issues — dropped balls, a pick six, a couple missed tackles that resulted in an easy 14 points for them. Playing a ranked opponent on their home turf, you can't do those things and expect to win."
The Razorbacks (3-3, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) ran the ball well early — against the league's best defense — but got in a hole on Loucheiz Purifoy's interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter and faded from there.
Brandon Allen did little to mount a comeback. He completed 17 of 41 passes for 164 yards, with the interception and two sacks. It was his second consecutive game with an interception for a TD.
"There were a lot of things I could have done better," he said. "I'm not proud of my performance at all. I didn't think I did what it took for us to win this game."
Allen briefly left the game with a shoulder injury following a roughing-the-passer penalty against defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.
Allen's bigger problem was the pick six in the second quarter. Purifoy broke on a poorly thrown ball and took it 42 yards the other way.
"We had a lot of things not go our way," Allen said. "There were some big momentum swings that we couldn't get back to our side. ... Their defense is No. 1 for a reason. They have a lot of speed on defense."
Arkansas looked sharp for a bit, hurting the Gators on the ground and taking a 7-0 lead on Williams' nifty, cutback run. Williams started left, slammed into defensive end Ronald Powell, bounced out of the would-be tackle and then headed the other direction. He picked up a block from Allen and pretty much walked into the end zone for a 4-yard score.
But it ended up being one of the few bright spots for Arkansas, which hasn't beaten Florida since 1982 — a decade before the Razorbacks entered the SEC.
Things might be worse for the Razorbacks, too. Starting cornerback Will Hines broke a bone in his right arm and left the field on a cart, and starting center Travis Swanson re-injured a sprained knee. Hines was taken to a hospital to have the bone reset in hopes of returning with the team early Sunday.
Florida had one minor issue: center Jon Harrison was ejected for apparently making contact with an official. But he won't miss next week's game at LSU.
"He did something he shouldn't have done," Florida coach Will Muschamp said, declining to elaborate.
Little else went wrong for the Gators.
Solomon Patton surely added to his highlight reel, finishing with six receptions for a career-high 124 yards and two touchdowns.
He got wide open on a third-and-12 play with about 30 seconds to play in the first half, spun away from a defender and outran everyone else for a score that made it 17-7.
He was equally elusive to start the third quarter. He took a short pass from Tyler Murphy, broke a tackle and scampered for a 38-yard score. His fourth touchdown of the season made it 24-7.
Florida has lacked offensive playmakers, especially at receiver, for years. But Patton, a speedy kid recruited to Gainesville by former coach Urban Meyer, is starting to look like a smaller version of Percy Harvin.
"It was a great feeling to be able to perform like that in front of all those fans," Patton said. "I think I've definitely came a long way."
So has Murphy, who has been better than expected in three games since replacing injured starter Jeff Driskel. His 9-yard shovel pass to Valdez Showers in the fourth quarter sent many of the Florida faithful home early and happy.
Murphy completed 16 of 22 passes for 240 yards and three scores — another efficient and effective outing from a fourth-year junior who somehow couldn't get on the field the past three years.
"I'm getting a lot more comfortable," Murphy said. "It feels good."