FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks couldn’t get the Hogs a win in his return to The Swamp, but he played an outstanding game.
Franks completed 15 of 19 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns in a 63-35 loss to the Gators. Arkansas had 458 yards of total offense in the game. Following the game, Franks talked about what gave the Hogs’ offense problems.
“If I’m going to be quite honest with you, I think it came down to us executing and then obviously Florida is a really good team,” Franks said. “There’s no about that. But at the end of the day, when we get opportunities to go capitalize, we’ve just got to take advantage of them. That’s what it boils down to, especially when you play a really good team like Florida.”
Franks also talked about what it was like playing many of the players he was teammates with last year having spent four seasons at Florda.
“It was awesome, man,” Franks said. “If I’m going to be honest with you, it was awesome. Just being around those guys and to see the excitement that they had to see me, and for me to see them and all that. In between the lines it was even fun, just being able to go out there. I’ve been with those guys for four years and to actually play and they can hit me and all that, it’s fun. You love the game and that’s what you play it for, the relationships you build along the way. It was a blessing to have the opportunity to get out there and play against them and see them again.”
Barry Odom, Arkansas’ interim head coach, also praised Franks.
“I think you look, and I don’t know enough about critiquing quarterback play, but he has gotten so much better,” Odom said. “The deep ball is something that he’s worked so hard on and we’ve got receivers with speed. He’s able to place it there, but I want to take the football side of it away.
“The plays he made out on the field that that away. Just think about him stepping into this environment like you’re talking about. For a 21-, 22-year-old kid, the history that he had here. Then he ended up at Arkansas really not knowing we were gonna play Florida during that time so he didn’t have to really worry about it. Then when the schedule comes out not you’re faced with everybody you grew up with, so to speak, in the locker room that takes some tremendous mental toughness and I’m so proud of the way he handled it and the way he competed. I’m so happy he’s our quarterback.”
Linebacker Grant Morgan, who led the Hogs with 15 tackles, including seven solos, also praised Franks.
“Feleipe handles his business at a really high level,” Morgan said. “You wouldn’t know that he was from Florida aside from everyone telling him that, ‘hey, man, we’re going to go play Florida.’ He handles his business just like he does every single week. This is a big time game, especially for him. He prepares every single week the same. He works his butt off. He tries to do everything the best that he can.
“He leads really good. Me and him have taken a big leadership role on this team, and we just continue to dive into the players and try to make this a player-led team. But he really did a good job tonight. I wish we could have helped him more on the defensive side of the ball. But he’s one of a kind. He leads really well, plays with a lot of heart, plays with a lot of passion. So, I hate it that we couldn’t get it done for him tonight, but we have three more games to be able to focus on so we can go out on top.”
He hit junior wide receiver Mike Woods for 82- and 47-yard touchdown passes. Franks was impressed with how Woods caught the ball and then found the end zone.
“I thought Mike played fantastic,” Franks said. “He did a great job of winning versus man-to-man. There’s nothing more you could ask for. We know that winning contested balls (is a big part) of winning the game. They’ve got good players, and we’ve got good players. It’s going to be a lot of contested catches and he did a great job of finishing once he did catch the ball.”
Franks injured his wrist in the third quarter and wore a glove on his left hand the remainder of the game. However, it didn’t seem to be something he’s too concerned with at this time.
“With the hand deal, I think that it’s fine,” Franks said. “Playing through, getting hurt and stuff like that is something that’s going to work itself out.”
“You always have the opportunity. We’re playing a home game, to have a great crowd, and go out there and win at home against LSU, who’s also a very good team. So, that’s another great opportunity for us. We’ve got to go to work this week and go get another big time win. I think it’s important, being able to bounce back. Obviously, you don’t want to lose, but just having the mentality of it’s time to go back to work this week and do it all over again and try to get a win. That’s what is most important right now. Especially me, and these guys. Go back at it. Go back to it and get another win this coming up Saturday at home.”
Arkansas (3-4) and LSU will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.