No. 1 Alabama hosts Arkansas minus Tua Tagovailoa
Arkansas (2-5, 0-4 SEC) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0, 4-0), Saturday at 7p.m. EDT (SEC Network).
Line: Alabama by 31.
Series record: Alabama leads 22-7 (19-8 including NCAA vacations/forfeits).
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Alabama is going to see how it handles life without injured QB Tua Tagovailoa (ankle). Mac Jones is set to start in his place for at least this game before an open date. The Razorbacks are trying to rebound from a 51-10 loss to No. 9 Auburn, snap a four-game losing streak and capitalize on the Crimson Tide missing its biggest star.
Alabama’s running game against Arkansas’s defense. The Tide’s prolific passing attack could take a backseat to a running game led by Najee Harris, who has run for 100-plus yards in two straight games, and Brian Robinson Jr. The Razorbacks are 13th in the SEC against the run, and 100th nationally.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Arkansas: RB Rakeem Boyd. He has rushed for 656 yards and five touchdowns. Boyd had a big game against Alabama last season, rushing for 102 yards and catching five passes.
Alabama: Jones. He replaced Tagovailoa in the second quarter against Tennessee, and the offense was certainly different. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will have a week to prepare a game plan around his strengths this time. Jones is 20-of-32 passing for 237 yards this season with one touchdown and an interception. His backup will be freshman Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s little brother.
FACTS & FIGURES
Alabama is 12-0 against Arkansas under coach Nick Saban. The Tide has won 16 straight homecoming games and 88 straight against unranked opponents. … Two of the Razorbacks’ last three wins over Alabama have been in games that went to double overtime, 24-23 in 2006 and 34-31 in 2003. … The Tide’s 2009 national championship team will be honored on the field. Players from that team — Javier Arenas, Mark Ingram, Mike Johnson and Rolando McClain — will serve as honorary captains.