New year. New coach. New team. Same result.
No. 1 Alabama smashed Bret Bielema's first Arkansas team 52-0 on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Dating back to 2011, Alabama has scored 111 unanswered points against Arkansas. The Tide has outscored the Hogs 104-0 in their last two meetings.
The Tide held the Hogs’ power running game to 165 rushing yards on 39 attempts.
“I thought our guys played physical on the line of scrimmage,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “I thought we were soft on a few runs. … We knew we were going to have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to have success in this game.”
The Tide put on a clinic on both sides of the ball, stifling the Razorbacks’ offense and having its way with the Hogs’ defense.
Alabama compiled 532 yards of total offense while holding the Razorbacks to 256 yards.
For the second time in school history, the Tide had back-to-back games with two 100 yard rushers (Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon against Georgia and Notre Dame). Derrick Henry rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown, which came on an 80-yard explosion late in the fourth quarter. Kenyan Drake ran for 104 yards and two scores, while Yeldon chipped in 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The Tide also had explosive plays through the air with Amari Cooper scoring his first touchdown of the year on a 30-yard strike from quarterback AJ McCarron. McCarron also connected with true freshman tight end O.J. Howard for a 17-yard score.
“When players play together like that and everybody does their best at whatever their role is on that particular play and you have individuals who are out there trying to dominate the space they’re in, good things happen,” Saban said.
The Tide forced three turnovers with two interceptions, one by safety HaHa Clinton-Dix and the other by cornerback Cyrus Jones. Henry forced a fumble on a kickoff that was covered by true freshman cornerback Eddie Jackson. Linebacker C.J. Mosley led the team with 10 tackles.
“It was a great effort,” Mosley said. “The 2s came in late third quarter and played the whole fourth quarter and some 3s were able to get in and they held their own.”
On a day when LSU, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia fell in upsets, Alabama was business as usual, steamrolling another faceless opponent. Step by step, day by day, Alabama is starting to figure out how to be dominant while other teams begin to fall.
“I feel that guys are buying in way more,” Mosley said. “We’re practicing better and the tempo is better in practice and it’s starting to show in the game. It’s starting to show in the game, whether it’s the veterans playing or the younger guys.
“We just have to make sure we keep building up. Like coach says, keep moving forward every game.”