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Arkansas at Florida Pregame Notebook

Special to Gatorsports.com
Arkansas players John Jackson and Darius Vinnett bring down Florida's O.J. Small in the third quarter of the Oct. 2, 2004 game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida has enough cushion in the SEC East that it could lose once and still make the league title game in Atlanta next month. But with the College Football Playoff still a possibility, UF coach Dan Mullen wanted to make it clear how much his guys have in front of them.

“If you want to be a great team, great teams get better every single week,” Mullen said. “Great teams don’t peak at the midway point of the season. Great teams peak in early, mid-December, and early, mid-January.

Arkansas (3-3) at No. 5 Florida (4-1),  7 p.m. today

TV: ESPN

Line: Florida by 17 1/2.

Series record: Florida leads 9-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Gators could lose one of their final five games and still win the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division. But a loss could hinder their chances of securing a spot in the College Football Playoff if they win the SEC title game.

KEY MATCHUP

Kyle Trask against one of the league’s most surprising defenses. Trask has 22 touchdown passes, tied with 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow for the second most in SEC history through five games, and has at least four in every outing this season. Arkansas ranks second in the league in passing defense, allowing just 222 yards a game to go along with a nation-leading 12 interceptions.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Arkansas: QB Feleipe Franks returns to Florida Field and will be on the visiting sideline for the first time. He was a three-year starter for the Gators before dislocating and fracturing his right ankle at Kentucky early last season. Faced with long odds of regaining the starting job over Trask, Franks chose to transfer. He landed at Arkansas and has been instrumental in the team’s turnaround. He has 14 touchdown passes and three interceptions.

Florida: Kadarius Toney has 29 receptions for 339 yards and six touchdowns and could be Trask’s go-to guy if TE Kyle Pitts (concussion) doesn’t play.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Razorbacks will be without coach Sam Pittman, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom, a former head coach at Missouri who won in the Swamp in 2018, will serve as the interim coach. … Franks is the first Arkansas player to throw for 200 or more yards in each of the first six games since the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992. … Florida has won 10 straight at home. … Florida’s 212 points are its most in any five-game SEC stretch since 2008.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.