GAINESVILLE — The 10-yard touchdown run by Florida RB Jeff Demps to tie the score at 20 against Arkansas on Saturday was set up by an incorrect call by the game officials, the SEC office said Monday.
The league office issued a statement saying that the personal foul called against DT Malcolm Sheppard with 7:47 left in the game should not have been a penalty against the Razorbacks. It was the second of back-to-back calls against Arkansas (pass interference at 7:56) and gave the Gators first and goal on the 10, setting up Demps' touchdown.
"As is standard procedure, following each game, institutions will send a list of plays from its previous game to the conference office for review and comment," the league office said. "We have been in contact with Arkansas concerning this review from its game against Florida. We did communicate to Arkansas that, after video review, there was no evidence on the video to support the personal foul penalty called on Arkansas midway through the fourth quarter. The other calls that were referenced are judgment calls and a review of those calls have been communicated to Arkansas."
Is offense okay?: Is Florida's offense a struggling, weak link in its arsenal or just a unit finding its way with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach?
Florida is 67th in the nation in passing offense and has scored just 30 percent of the time in the red zone (6-of-20) against SEC opponents, but coach Urban Meyer said much of that is because of turnovers and lack of execution — both correctable.
While some may question whether Steve Addazio is working out as the Gators' new offensive coordinator, Meyer is not among them.
"He's fine," Meyer said. "We're just maneuvering through a difficult part of the schedule and trying to get some things worked out. … I'm very pleased with what Coach Addazio is doing. He's doing a heck of a job. Once again, we're maneuvering through some situations that we're just trying to get better at."
The Gators lead the league in total, rushing and scoring offense, but QB Tim Tebow has just four passing touchdowns in SEC games, and the Gators are averaging 159 passing yards per game in league play. Asked on Monday if he feels like he's the quarterback of a struggling offense, Tebow replied: "I feel like I'm the quarterback of a team that's 6-0, and I'm pretty excited about that. And that's all you can ask for."
Battered defense: The Gators could be without four defensive starters Saturday at Mississippi State. Senior LB Brandon Spikes is questionable with a groin injury, and junior DE Justin Trattou is doubtful after suffering what doctors said is a problem with his biceps tendons. He had an MRI on Sunday and is awaiting further evaluation.
DT Lawrence Marsh has played in a limited capacity all season, with action in just two games because of an ankle injury. DT Jaye Howard is struggling with a knee injury.
Reality check: If you subscribe to the theory that every team in the course of the season is going to have that one game, Florida is hoping Arkansas was it. The Gators survived on a last-second field goal, prompting them to believe something good will come out of that scare.
"We needed that reality check," junior OL Mike Pouncey said. "Last year it was Ole Miss, and unfortunately we lost that game. I'm glad we got away with winning this year. We needed that one, and I think it's going to get us back on track. If we turn the ball over four times again and play like we did, we won't win the game. Fortunately we had a great fourth quarter and pulled out the win. It won't happen again."
Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3389.