Tide Routs Razorbacks 52-0
By Jason Wood
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — This Arkansas team without QB Tyler Wilson is reminiscent of the 2011 Indianapolis Colts without Peyton Manning — quite simply, lost. The Razorbacks used two quarterbacks — Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell — for the entire game, and the offense was nowhere near as potent and dynamic as it is when Wilson is under center. Miscues and the lack of ball control lead to a 52-0 spanking at the hands of the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
“I was really pleased with the way our players responded with this game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Arkansas committed their first turnover of the day five minutes into the contest on a snap that sailed high over punter Dylan Breeding‘s head. Breeding kicked the ball into their own end zone to prevent Alabama from recovering and running it in for a touchdown, but was flagged for an illegal kick. This resulted in the ball being given to the Crimson Tide on downs.
On the very next play, Eddie Lacy took the handoff at the Arkansas’ six yard line from AJ McCarron in for a touchdown to put Alabama on the board. Jeremy Shelley’s extra point was good, and the Tide had a 7-0 advantage.
They never looked back.
Alabama capped off a nine play, 46-yard drive that resulted in a 51-yard field goal by Cade Foster, tying his career long.
With 8:58 remaining in the first half, McCarron dumped a 20 yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper, extending Alabama’s lead to 17-0.
A key play in the game came late in the second quarter, when Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix picked off an Allen pass and returned it 46 yards to the Arkansas three. Three plays later, Lacy scored his second touchdown of the afternoon, punching it in from one yard. Alabama held a 24-0 lead going into the locker room.
“I don’t think we started out very well,” Saban said. ”What I told them at halftime was average is contagious. You’ve got to demand more of yourself. We’ve got to demand more of ourselves all the time so we can play to our capabilities. I thought from the second quarter on, we really did a good job of doing that.”
Starting the second half, the Alabama offense picked up right where it left off. On a first and 10 from the Razorback 44, McCarron threw a 34-yard pass to receiver Christion Jones, setting up a 10-yard touchdown run from Lacy, his career-high third touchdown of the game.
On the very next kickoff, Cade Foster booted the kick to Dennis Johnson. Johnson returned it 22 yards before fumbling the football and having it recovered by Foster at the Hogs’ 27. McCarron then delivered a 26 yard pass to Amari Cooper to the one yard line. TJ Yeldon then pounded it in for six, extending the Tide’s lead to 38-0, less than midway through the third quarter.
There, McCarron’s day would end. He was 11 for 16 and threw for 189 yards and a touchdown. Christion Jones led the receivers with three receptions for 74 yards.
Coach Nick Saban eventually emptied much of his bench, and the Tide saw a touchdown each from freshman running back Kenyan Drake and sophomore Blake Sims. Emptying a bench in an SEC road game will pay dividends down the road, in Saban’s opinion.
“We have so many young guys that need to play,” Saban said. “It was really good that they actually got to play a full quarter. It was good that we got to play our quarterbacks a little bit with our first team, which maybe a circumstance which may come up down the road. These guys all work hard, and I love it when they get to play and it gives them a lot of positive self-gratification when they are able to play. They deserve it for all of their hard work.”
It was the Alabama defense’s fifth defensive shutout in its last 14 games, and its eighth shutout since 2008, the most in the FBS during that span. This was the first time the Razorbacks were shutout at home since 1966.
The defense forced five Arkansas turnovers, and 42 of 52 of Alabama’s points were scored off those turnovers.
The Crimson Tide handed Arkansas its worst loss since 1919 — Henry Kendall College (now the University of Tulsa) beat the Hogs 63-7.
The Tide will return to Tuscaloosa to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls out of the Sun Belt Conference. Kickoff is at 4:00 p.m. CDT, and the game will be broadcast via Pay-Per-View.
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