The top-ranked University of Alabama football team amassed 308 yards and four scores on the ground en route to its convincing, 41-9, Homecoming-game win over Arkansas Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 SEC) top-ranked rushing defense was on display, as the defensive unit held the Razorbacks (2-4, 0-3 SEC) to just 27 yards on the ground in the win.
On the offensive side of the ball, junior running back Damien Harris earned his seventh career 100-yard game and his third of the season, after rushing for a game-high 125 yards and two scores on just nine attempts. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts and freshman running back Najee Harris also had rushing touchdowns in the win. Hurts went 12-of-19 for 155 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
On defense, junior defensive back Ronnie Harrison led the way with 10 tackles and one pass breakup, while senior linebacker Rashaan Evans tied a career-high with two sacks to go along with six tackles.
Alabama jumped on Arkansas early, scoring on the first play from scrimmage. Damien Harris burst through a hole and sprinted 75 yards to the end zone. The 75-yard streak tied Harris’ career long that he set last week at Texas A&M. Following senior placekicker Andy Pappanastos’ kick, the Tide led 7-0, just 15 seconds into the game.
The Crimson Tide added to its lead after the Razorbacks’ first series ended in a bad snap on the punt attempt, giving Alabama the ball on the Arkansas 25-yard line. Three plays later, Pappanastos split the uprights from 39 yards out to put the Tide up 10-0 with 11:36 left in the opening quarter.
The Alabama scoring continued after another Razorback three-and-out. The Tide rumbled 65 yards in eight plays, capped by Damien Harris bouncing off four different Arkansas defenders for his second touchdown of the quarter from four yards out. After the Pappanastos PAT, UA led 17-0 with 7:24 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, after an Alabama muffed punt that set up Arkansas at the UA 32-yard line, the stingy Tide defense knocked the Razorbacks offense back eight yards on the drive and forced another punt.
The two teams held each other in check until Alabama took over at its own 25-yard line with 4:39 left in the half. The Tide methodically drove down the field in nine plays, netting 75 yards, capped by Hurts accelerating up the middle for an 11-yard touchdown run. Following Pappanastos’ kick, the Crimson Tide held the 24-0 advantage with 1:20 left in the half.
The Razorbacks responded by driving 76 yards down the field, setting up a final play from the UA three-yard line with three seconds on the clock. The shutout was kept intact as Harrison batted the pass attempt away in the end zone to end the half.
Alabama outgained Arkansas 275-111 in the first half, including 181-8 on the ground.
The Arkansas offense capitalized on an interception midway through the third quarter, going 48 yards on 13 plays to set up a 30-yard field goal attempt, which trimmed the UA lead to 24-3 with 4:16 left in the third.
The Tide responded with a heavy dose of the ground game, running five straight running plays for 58 yards before Hurts found freshman wide receiver Henry Ruggs III for a 20-yard touchdown. Ruggs’ fourth reception of the year, all of which have gone for touchdowns, put the Tide up 31-3 following Pappanastos’ kick, with 1:25 remaining in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Alabama continued to pour on the points, using a short field to go 35 yards on five plays, capped off by Najee Harris finding the end zone from four yards out. Pappanastos’ extra point extended the lead to 38-3 with 12:29 left in the game.
Following the Tide touchdown, the Razorbacks possessed the ball at their own 28-yard line when senior defensive back Hootie Jones tipped a pass attempt and sophomore linebacker Mack Wilson came flying in to intercept the batted ball at the Arkansas 40-yard line.
Alabama used another short field to put points on the board, driving 37 yards on five plays, finishing with a Pappanastos 21-yard field goal to further the advantage to 41-3 with 8:55 remaining in the game.
Arkansas then drove down the field, totaling 75 yards on 13 plays, finishing the drive with a three-yard touchdown pitch-and-catch. The point after was no good, giving Alabama the 41-9 lead with 3:03 left in the game.
Alabama returns to action Saturday, Oct. 21, against Tennessee at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and will air on CBS.
While all of the festivities and fun of Christmas have now passed, fans of both the Alabama and Washington football teams are hoping for a big late holiday gift on New Year's Eve in Atlanta.
That being a Chick Fil A Peach Bowl victory at the Georgia Dome which will send their team to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game Jan. 9 in Tampa. And for the Crimson Tide that would mean the opportunity to play for the program's 17th national title, and second straight.
An analyst on ESPN's College Football Live show earlier this week aptly noted it best that while last weekend's opening slate of college football games was billed as "The Greatest Weekend Ever," we are all definitely paying for it this coming Saturday.
The landscape for the sport we all love the most is fairly barren for Week 2, and in fact there are no matchups that actually match ranked teams.
UA Gymnastics HC Dana Duckworth, ReadBAMARead and Two Men and a Truck Collecting for LA Flood Victims28 Aug 2016
As part of the ongoing relief efforts surrounding the flooding in Louisiana, Alabama gymnastics coach Dana Duckworth, ReadBAMARead and Two Men and a Truck are combining for a donation drive on from through Wednesday, Aug. 31.
With another University of Alabama football season just around the corner, it is a good time to take a look at the Crimson Tide's Top Five all-time leaders in a host of categories heading into the 2016 campaign.
University of Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle announced today that he has completed the latest in a series of treatments for multiple myeloma, and reports that he feels great and looks forward to returning to work on a limited basis at the University very soon.
Nick Saban asks Alabama football coaches to provide help to West Virginia flood victims (via Crimson Magazine)07 Jul 2016
By Stan J. Griffin: July 7, 2016
There is no doubt that most of the focus for University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is devoted to the upcoming 2016 Crimson Tide season, which is less than two months away.
But Saban knows as well as anyone, however, that helping those in need is a life priority that is way more important than wins and losses on a football field, especially when it involves those who are struggling in his own home state.
Saban, a native of Fairmont, West Virginia, is asking that football coaches from across Alabama come together to help the football teams in the communities of that state devastated by recent flooding.
Saban, along with the Alabama High School Athletics Directors and Coaches Association, is asking high schools from across the state of Alabama to do their small part to help so many high school football programs affected by this tragedy by donating a full uniform. Many of these high schools will not be able to field football teams this fall without help.
By Stan J. Griffin: July 5, 2016
Author's Note: This is the first installment of a multi-part series, detailing the position groups for the 2016 Alabama football team. The first part will discuss the still-ongoing Crimson Tide quarterback battle.
As has been the case entering the last two years, Nick Saban's University of Alabama team will enter the 2016 season with a largely unproven individual behind center at the always-critical quarterback position.
And while that has caused sheer pandemonium and myriad conniption fits with Alabama fans in the past, I really am not sensing much of that with the Crimson Tide Nation as we inch closer to SEC Media Days and the start of fall practice.
Part of that is due to the wizardry of Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and the amazing work he did with first-year starters Blake Sims and Jake Coker the last two seasons. The success of those two signal callers is a big reason why Alabama won 26 games the last two years, including back-to back SEC titles, made two trips to the College Football Playoffs and captured its 16th national championship last season.
Another reason for the absence of teeth gnashing is the fact that the 2016 Alabama team will most likely have another very strong defense, as well as a solid ground game at the very least, once again, meaning that whoever earns the starting quarterback position will not have to be especially prolific in terms of his stats. As Saban has stated numerous time over the past three seasons in regards to his starter, that individual simply needs to "win the team," be an efficient game manager and he needs to avoid making the pivotal mistakes.