While it was Upset Saturday In the SEC, Alabama did not fall victim to one of the lesser lights of the Southeastern Conference as did the likes of erstwhile contenders Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and LSU. Instead, Bama was trying to put out the dim lights of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Alabama probably set a school record, perhaps an NCAA record, as it defeated Arkansas 52-0 for the second consecutive year. Last year’s win was in Fayetteville, while on Saturday night it was in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The number one ranked Crimson Tide improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference games, while the Razorbacks fell to 3-5, including 0-4 in league games. It wa the second consecutive week for the Hogs to give up 52 points. Last week South Carolina was a 52-7 winner over Arkansas.
Alabama continues in SEC play and plays again in Bryant-Denny Stadium next week for the South’s greatest rivalry as the Crimson Tide hosts Tennessee. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT with CBS televising the game. The Vols are coming off a big win, 23-21, over Georgia.
Kenyan Drake scored two rushing touchdowns and freshman Derrick Henry closed out the scoring with an 80 yard run in the final minute of play as Bama dominated from start to finish. Henry rushed six times for 111 yards. Drake, who finished with 104 yards rushing on only eight carries, scored on a one-yard run and on a 46 yard run. A.J. McCarron threw three touchdown passes -- a four-yarder to Jalston Fowler, 30 yards to Amari Cooper, and 17 yards to O.J. Howard. T.J. Yeldon had 24-yard scoring run. Cade Foster, who kicked six extra points, had a 48-yard field goal. Adam Griffith kicked the final point after touchdown.
As would be expected, Alabama dominated the statistics. The Tide had 25 first downs to 16 for the Razorbacks. Bama had 37 rushes for 352 yards, the Hogs 39 carries for 165 yards. McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes for 180 yards, while Blake Sims – who quarterbacked the fourth quarter – was 0-3 passing. Arkansas’s Brandon Allen hit only 7-25 with two interceptions for 91 yards. Total offense was Alabama 61 plays for 532 yards and Arkansas 64 for 256. Alabama did not have a fumble or a penalty. The Razorbacks lost their only fumble and had only two penalties for 20 yards. Bama was 5-9 on thid down conversions, Arkansas 6-15.
Yeldon was the leader in passes caught with four (for 45 yards). Cooper caught three for 65 yards.
HaHa Clinton-Dix, who returned to playing time after a two-game suspension, had an interception which he returned eight yards and cornerback Cyrus Jones had an interception which he returned one yard.
As usual, linebacker C.J. Mosley was Bama’s tackle leader with 10. Safety Jarrick Williams had six tackles, safeties Landon Collins and Clinton-Dix five each. Mosley also had two quarterback pressurers and broke up two passes and Collins had two pass break-ups.
Alabama took its time on its first touchdown drive in getting out to a 7-0 lead on the Razorbacks. After taking the opening kickoff, Bama marched 68 yards in 12 plays, taking 5:45 off the clock. T.J. Yeldon was the bellcow in the drive with five runs for 17 yards and two pass receptions for 21 yards. AJ McCarron also completed a third down pass to Kevin Norwood for 10 yards and a 13-yarder to Amari Cooper to set up the touchdown. On second and goal from the four, McCarron play-faked and passed to Jalston Fowler for the score with 9:09 left in the first quarter. Cade Foster kicked it to 7-0.
A short Arkansas punt, only 22 yards to the Razorbacks’ 38, set up a quick Tide score for a 14-0 first quarter lead. McCarron to Cooper was good for 22 yards, and then Kenyan Drake took it the last 16 using four carries, including the one-yard touchdown run with 4:36 left in the first quarter. The drive took only 2:21.
Alabama wasn’t able to do anything with the ball after HaHa Clinton-Dix got an interception off a C.J. Mosley pass break-up, but Arkansas couldn’t do anything either – although the Razorbacks did spark interest with a 12-yard run by punter Sam Irwin-Hill. Eventually, though, Irwin-Hill had to punt, and Bama had the ball at its 16.
Yeldon got the drive off to a nice start with a 27 yard run over the right side. On a third-and-eight, McCarron hit Christion Jones for a nine-yard gain to the Arkansas 46. Drake got the call at right end. He ran into Tide tight end Brian Vogler at the line, but bounced away and then sped down the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown and 21-0 Bama lead.
The Tide got it to 28-0 before halftime after Deion Belue blocked an Arkansas field goal attempt of 40 yards.
The Tide took over at its 28 with 2:54 until intermission. McCarron hit Drake for an 11-yard gain and DeAndrew White for eight. As the clock clicked under two minutes, Drake whipped through the right side for a 23 yard gain to the Arkansas 30. A pass for Cooper was incomplete, but on second down with 1:07 to play, Cooper ran a flag route, McCarron delivered, and Cooper had his first touchdown of 2013. Bama had a 28-0 halftime lead.
Alabama’s special teams set up the first Tide touchdown of the second half. On the kickoff to start the third quarter, Derrick Henry caused a fumble and Eddie Jackson recovered for Bama at the Arkansas 30. It took the Tide just three plays to make it 35-0, McCarron hitting Howard on a crossing route for the 17-yard touchdown.
Alabama had to go 72 yards for its next touchdown and it took just eight plays. Yeldon had two runs and a pass reception for two first downs and to get the ball into Arkansas territory. Drake had two big runs to the Razorbacks 24. A McCarron pass for Yeldon in the end zone was almost hauled in for a touchdown. On the next play, Yeldon ran it up the middle and into the end zone for the 42-0 lead.
Although it wasn’t quite midway through the third quarter, Bama’s starters were pretty much through for the night.
Cyrus Jones got an interception near midfield and the offense was turned over to Blake Sims. Bama had one of those rare plays for the Tide, a punt, but the Razorbacks roughed punter Cody Mandell, keeping the drive alive. When the drive stalled at the Arkansas 30, though, Foster was called on for a long field goal and nailed the 48-yarder to make it 45-0.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban seemed to be doing everything in his power to keep Bama from scoring again. That forumla worked deep into the game, But with just over a minute to go, Henry took the ball around left end and down the sideline to the end zone to complete the scoring at 52-0. Less than a minute remained in the game.