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.