Arkansas offense stymied in 38-14 loss to Bama
No. 14 Arkansas’ high-powered offense was unplugged by the SEC’s
Tyler Wilson was under near-constant heat and his dangerous
receivers were mostly denied the ball in open space in the
Razorbacks’ 38-14 loss to No. 3 Alabama on Saturday.
Ronnie Wingo Jr. and the running game couldn’t provide much help
”When we tried to run the ball, we didn’t do a very good job of
doing that,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. ”One of our goals
going into the game was to move forward and not have negative
plays. That’s what hurt us. Anytime you have negative plays,
Alabama is going to get you.”
That’s certainly what happened to Arkansas (3-1, 0-1
Southeastern Conference) in a battle between the league’s top
offense and the No. 1 defense.
Trent Richardson rushed for 120 yards and caught a 61-yard
touchdown pass for the Tide (4-0, 1-0), which scored on special
teams, defense and using the old-fashioned power run to
emphatically win the game.
The Razorbacks came in averaging 47 points and 517 yards a game
against questionable competition, but didn’t muster many threats
They managed just 17 yards on 19 rushes and were outgained
”You’d like to be able to run the football and we’d like to
work on that,” Wilson said. ”But we also have to throw the ball
better than we did. I think there was a lot left on the
Alabama had 10 tackles for loss, two interceptions, six pass
breakups and four quarterback hurries.
Tide quarterback AJ McCarron also came up big in his first SEC
start. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 200 yards and two
Marquis Maze scored on an 83-yard punt return and DeQuan Menzie
returned an interception 25 yards for another score. McCarron, also
the holder, hooked up with tight end Michael Williams for a 37-yard
touchdown on a fake field goal.
There was also a clear winner in the showdown between Petrino’s
passing game and Saban’s defense.
Wilson sat out most of the fourth quarter after completing 22 of
35 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama defenders
seemed to sniff out every screen and swing pass to his dangerous
receivers for little or no gain.
Wingo, who rushed for 109 yards against Troy, gained 14 yards on
”They beat us in all three phases of the game,” Petrino said.
”In the first half, I thought our defense did a great job of
keeping us in the game with the goal-line stand. That gave us a
chance to come out in the second half and do something offensively
but we just couldn’t do it. They made big plays and we
Richardson had his third straight 100-yard game and also caught
three passes for 85 yards, including the screen that went the
distance. Backfield mate Eddie Lacy ran for 61 yards and punctuated
the win with a 4-yard touchdown late in the third for the final
points. It was the first rushing score allowed by Arkansas this
The Tide found plenty of flashier paths to the end zone, though.
The result was a 17-7 halftime lead that was never threatened by
First, Alabama lined up for a 54-yard field goal on fourth-and-4
before McCarron shifted back and took the snap. He rolled left and
lofted the ball to a wide-open Williams on the Tide’s opening
drive. It set the tone nicely for a game when just about everything
seemed to go right for Alabama even though Arkansas tied it by the
end of the first quarter.
Williams said the Tide had been practicing the play for about
”We’ve been practicing it for a long time but I just finally
said today the first time we got in field goal range, whether we
were ahead 21 or behind 21, we were going to run it,” Saban
The Arkansas defense salvaged some momentum in the second at the
end of a 15-play drive, stuffing three straight runs from the goal
line to force a field goal.
”We pinned our ears back and got after them,” Arkansas
linebacker Alonzo Highsmith said. ”For a defense, that’s the best
thing in the world. At that point, we had the momentum and were
feeling good about ourselves.”
It proved a small and temporary victory.
Three plays later, Wilson’s errant pass hit Menzie on his right
forearm and bounced right back into the cornerback’s arms for a
25-yard interception return to push the lead to double digits.
Despite heavy pressure, Wilson responded quickly after Arkansas
went down 31-7. He connected with Wingo on a 39-yarder down the
left sideline and a 19-yarder to Cobi Hamilton in the back of the
end zone. He was pounded an instant after making both throws.
”We’ve got to run the ball better and to throw it around
better,” Wilson said. ”They brought a lot of pressure, and we’ve
got to handle it better.
”They’re a great football team.”