UF notebook

Loucheiz Purifoy shines in Florida Gators’ win vs. Arkansas

 

Miami Herald Writer

Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has tantalizing playmaking ability.

Most NFL mock drafts project the junior as a potential first-round draft pick.

And yet, Purifoy’s play has disappointed for much of the early season.

Just this week, defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said, “He needs to be more consistent. … When he does, he’s pretty darn good.”

Yes he is.

Purifoy flaunted his dynamic talents in Florida’s 30-10 win over Arkansas, forcing a pair of turnovers including returning an interception for a touchdown.

One play after missing a tackle on a 31-yard run by Razorback tailback Alex Collins (South Plantation High), Purifoy blindsided quarterback Brandon Allen for a sack and fumble, setting up Florida with excellent field position early in the first quarter.

Later, as Florida’s offense stagnated midway through the second quarter, Purifoy picked off his first career pass and took it to the house.

“I’ve seen him be in that position and bat it down sometimes,” coach Will Muschamp said. “To finish on that play and create some momentum. The top came off the place.”

The junior finished the night with four tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, an interception and three pass breakups.

HARDIN BENCHED

Redshirt freshman Austin Hardin — UF’s starting kicker in its first five games — was yanked in favor of senior walk-on Brad Phillips in the second quarter following another missed field goal.

Hardin — just 4 of 7 on the season with a long of 33 yards entering Saturday night — had a 48-yard attempt blocked by Razorback freshman Dan Skipper on Florida’s second offensive possession.

“Austin just kicked it too low,” Muschamp said. “It had nothing to do with penetration. I could’ve blocked it.”

Phillips replaced the redshirt freshman, connecting on his only field goal try (a 28-yard kick) but he also missed an extra point.

HARRISON EJECTED

Gators senior center Jon Harrison was ejected early in the third quarter for making contact with an official.

Following the ejection, an irate Harrison pushed tight ends coach Derek Lewis on the sideline and received a stern lambasting from Muschamp before exiting to the locker room.

An SEC spokesperson announced Harrison would not be suspended for next week’s contest against LSU.

“Jon’s an emotional guy. He lost his temper and did something he shouldn’t have done,” Muschamp said. “He was ejected and rightfully so.”

THIS & THAT

Former Gator golfer Chris DiMarco, a PGA tour veteran, was this week’s celebrity “Mr. Two Bits,” leading the pregame cheers. DiMarco, also a UF Hall of Famer, ripped open his shirt at the end of his performance, revealing a “BEAT GEORGIA” T-shirt. … Florida totaled 84 yards on 8 penalties. … The Gators have forced at least one turnover in 16 consecutive games, including eight games in a row with an interception. … Hybrid tailback Valdez Showers (ankle) returned to action after missing the previous two games, scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown on an inside shovel pass. … Former UF defensive tackle and Minnesota Vikings first round draft pick Sharrif Floyd was in attendance. … UF’s nation-leading rush defense (53.50 y/g) allowed 111 yards on the ground on 29 attempts, but just seven yards after halftime.

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