TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Using a balanced offensive attack and a stifling defense, the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0 overall; 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference) defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-5 overall; 0-4 in the SEC) 52-0 Saturday night in front of a capacity crowd of 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
For the second consecutive week—and 17th time in school history—Alabama had two tailbacks reach the 100-yard mark. Kenyan Drake (eight carries, 104 yards, 2 touchdowns), Derrick Henry (six carries, 111 yards, 1 TD) and T.J. Yeldon (12 carries, 88 yards, 1 TD) led an Alabama rushing attack that churned out 352 yards on the ground. AJ McCarron completed 15-of-21 pass attempts for 180 yards and three touchdowns, as Alabama jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead. The Alabama defense, which pitched its second shutout of the season, limited the Razorbacks to 256 yards, just 91 of those through the air.
Alabama won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, which Christion Jones returned 32 yards to the Alabama 32-yard line. From there, the Crimson Tide’s scoring onslaught began.
On the Tide’s first play from scrimmage, McCarron connected with Yeldon for a nine-yard completion. Alabama picked up a first down after a three-yard carry by Yeldon on the following play. After an incompletion and another carry by Yeldon gained one yard, McCarron hooked up with Kevin Norwood for a 10-yard gain, giving Tide another first down. McCarron then completed a screen pass to Yeldon for 13 yards and a first down. Two plays later, facing third-and-one at the Arkansas 23-yard line, Alabama turned to Yeldon, who took the handoff three yards for a first down. McCarron then completed a 13-yard pass to Amari Cooper to put Alabama on the Arkansas 7-yard line. After a three-yard carry by Yeldon, McCarron threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Jalston Fowler to give the Tide a 7-0 lead.
Alabama’s offense wasn’t the only Tide unit to open the game with a statement. On the Razorbacks’ opening drive, Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams attempted two carries for no gain before Crimson Tide linebacker Denzell Devall sacked Brandon Allen for a four-yard loss. After a 22-yard punt, Alabama took over in Arkansas territory.
On first down, McCarron found Cooper for a 22-yard gain to the Arkansas 16. Drake then carried the ball on three consecutive plays before plunging into the end zone from one-yard out to put the Tide up 14-0.
On the ensuing possession, Arkansas began to move the ball down the field by converting on two third downs, including a 25-yard pass from Brandon Allen to tight end Hunter Henry to put the Razorbacks in Alabama territory. On first-and-10 from the Alabama 40, Allen again targeted Henry in the middle of the field, but Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted a tipped pass and returned it for eight yards to the Alabama 21.
Alabama gained eight yards on its next possession before Cody Mandell’s 51-yard punt to start the second quarter gave Arkansas possession at its own 21. In three quick plays, the Razorbacks gained seven yards on the ground but faced a fourth-and-3 at its own 28. Arkansas’s punt team came onto the field, but punter Sam Irwin-Hill faked the punt and instead rushed 12 yards for a first down. The fake, however, proved to be futile after the Razorback’s drive stalled near midfield, and Irwin-Hill was on the field three plays later, punting the ball 39 yards to the Alabama 16.
Yeldon started Alabama’s first drive of the second quarter with a 27-yard carry. After McCarron completed a 9-yard pass to Christion Jones on third-and-8, Drake took a handoff at the Arkansas 46-yard line, where he appeared to be bottled up before eluding the tackle and scampering to end zone to give the Tide a 21-0 lead.
Arkansas moved into Alabama territory again on its next drive, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by kicker Zach Hocker was blocked by Deion Belue.
The Tide offense went to work from its own 39. McCarron completed a wide receiver screen to DeAndrew White for eight yards before a 23-yard carry by Drake. After an incompletion, McCarron completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Cooper, giving the Tide a 28-0 near the end of the first half.
Arkansas was set to receive the kickoff to start the second half, but Henry forced Arkansas return man Keon Hatcher into a fumble. Eddie Jackson recovered to give the Tide possession at the Arkansas 22. After a first down run by Yeldon, McCarron hooked up with tight end O.J. Howard for a 17-yard touchdown completion to put the Tide up 35-0.
Alabama added to its lead when Yeldon scored on a 24-yard touchdown jaunt on Alabama’s next possession. With the Tide’s lead at 42-0, Alabama’s reserves took the field. After a Cyrus Jones interception on Arkansas’s next drive, Cade Foster booted a 48-yard field goal for a 45-0 Alabama lead.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the Tide added an exclamation point on the evening when Henry took a handoff 80 yards down the Alabama sideline for his first career touchdown, capping the scoring at 52-0.
Alabama outgained the Razorbacks 262-119 in the second half.
Courtesy: UA Media Services