Recap: Alabama vs. Arkansas
Tuscaloosa, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - A.J. McCarron threw three touchdown passes and Kenyan Drake had a pair of scoring runs as top-ranked Alabama breezed to a 52-0 victory over Arkansas to remain undefeated.
McCarron completed 15-of-21 throws for 180 yards without an interception before being pulled with the Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 SEC) up 42-0 midway through the third quarter. Drake amassed 104 yards on just eight carries to help Alabama pile up 352 yards on the ground, 96 more than the overmatched Razorbacks totaled on offense for the game.
Derrick Henry added 111 yards on only six rushes, which included an 80-yard touchdown in the final minute that put the finishing touches on the rout, with T.J. Yeldon contributing 88 yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts.
"We were able to run the ball, and we had pretty good balance out there," said Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. "I'm really pleased with the progress that we made."
Arkansas (3-5, 0-4), coming off a 52-7 throttling at home by South Carolina last week, wasn't competitive either in its showdown with the two-time defending BCS champions and was dealt its fifth consecutive defeat overall.
"Obviously this is getting a little old," Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said afterward. "Nothing that we did out there can give us any indication that the things that we need to do are that far away. It's a long way to go. We are at a point where we have to take a look at ourselves offensively, defensively, and special teams, all the things we are asking our kids to do."
Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen hit on just 7-of-25 passes for 91 yards and was intercepted twice by Alabama's fierce defense, which has surrendered a mere 16 points over its last five outings.
McCarron set the tone for the blowout win with a razor-sharp performance on the game's opening drive. The senior signal-caller engineered a methodical 12- play, 68-yard march that consumed nearly six minutes, finishing the sequence by finding fullback Jalston Fowler uncovered in the left flat for a 4-yard score.
Alabama began its second possession at the opposing 38-yard line, the result of a 22-yard shank by Razorbacks' punter Sam Irwin-Hill. Amari Cooper hauled in a 22-yard catch on the following play, and Drake powered in from a yard out shortly afterward to put Arkansas in a 14-0 first-quarter hole.
"I was really proud of the way our guys came out and competed and played in this game," said Saban. We came out right off the bat offensively and had a really good first drive and scored the first couple of times we had the ball, and got them stopped a couple of times on defense."
The margin doubled by halftime after the Tide tacked on two more touchdowns in the second quarter. Drake ripped off a 46-yard run for his second score of the night, then broke off a 23-yard scamper on Alabama's next series before McCarron hit Cooper on a deep route for a 30-yard touchdown that made it a 28-0 cushion 1:07 prior to the break.
Arkansas did cross the 50-yard line on two occasions in the first half, but came up empty both times. Allen found tight end Hunter Henry down the seam for a 25-yard gain to the Alabama 40 on the Razorbacks' second drive, but was intercepted by the recently reinstated Ha-Ha Clinton Dix on the subsequent play. Catches of 20 and 22 yards by Javontee Herndon moved the ball into scoring range late in the second quarter, but Zach Hocker had a 41-yard field goal try blocked by the Tide's Chris Smith to keep Arkansas off the board.
The Razorbacks' troubles continued after the break. Keon Hatcher fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half and Alabama's Eddie Jackson recovered at the Arkansas 30, setting up McCarron's 17-yard touchdown strike to O.J. Howard on a crossing pattern that came just 1:32 into the third quarter.
Alabama moved down the field with ease on its next offensive trip as well, with Yeldon ending the 8-play, 72-yard trek by bursting through a gaping hole and shaking off a defender en route to a 24-yard score near the midway mark of the period.
With McCarron lifted in favor of Blake Sims, the Tide's next possession resulted in a Cade Foster 48-yard field goal that was made possible by the Razorbacks roughing punter Cody Mandell.
Henry capped the scoring by breaking containment down the left sideline and outracing the defense for an 80-yard touchdown with 59 seconds on the final clock.Game Notes
Arkansas' current losing streak is the longest of Bielema's career, which
began with a successful seven-year stint at Wisconsin prior to taking over
the Razorbacks in December ... Arkansas lost 52-0 to the Crimson Tide in
Fayetteville last season and has now dropped seven straight in the series
... Clinton-Dix served a two-game suspension for accepting a loan from an
Alabama athletic staff member before being reinstated by the NCAA on Friday
... Drake rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in last week's
48-7 win at Kentucky ... The Crimson Tide extended their winning streak
against non-ranked opponents at home to 28 games.