(8) Alabama beats Arkansas, 27-14
October 10, 2015
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama Crimson Tide
football team (5-1 overall; 2-1 in the Southeastern
Conference) turned in a gritty performance on Saturday
night to defeat the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-4 overall;
1-2 SEC), 27-14, in the 2015 Homecoming game before a
capacity crowd of 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on the
Calvin Ridley (3) hauls in a pass for the Tide's first
touchdown on an 81-yard reception during the third
Photo Credit - rolltide.com
Alabama erased a 7-3 deficit late in the third quarter
on an 81-yard pass from quarterback Jake Coker to wide
receiver Calvin Ridley, a play that ignited an offense
that had struggled to finish drives most of the game to
that point. That score, with 1:39 left in the third
period, turned the game in Alabama's favor as the Crimson
Tide stopped an Arkansas drive at the Hogs' 43 on the
ensuing possession and marched to a touchdown on a 3-yard
pass from Coker to wideout Richard Mullaney for a 17-7
lead. After an Eddie Jackson interception for the Tide
a few plays later, Alabama tacked on a 35-yard Adam
Griffith field goal for a 20-7 edge with 10:07 left in
the fourth quarter. Derrick Henry added a 1-yard
touchdown run with 2:44 left, marking the 11th
consecutive game in which he has scored on the ground,
to give the Tide the final 27-7 victory margin.
Arkansas' first touchdown came in the second quarter on
a four-yard pass by quarterback Brandon Allen to wide
receiver Drew Morgan after the Hogs took possession at
the Tide 12 following an interception. Arkansas added a
late 54-yard touchdown pass by Allen to wide receiver
Dominique Reed with 1:37 left in the game.
Led by linebacker Reggie Ragland's eight tackles (seven
solos), Alabama's defensive was unyielding, allowing
only 220 total yards to the Razorbacks (176 passing, 44
rushing) while allowing just 1.8 yards per rush.
Ragland also had one quarterback sack, broke up a pass,
had two quarterback hurries and forced a fumble.
The Tide offense gained 396 total yards, including 134
on the ground against one of the nation's top rushing
defenses. Coker completed 24 of 33 passes for 262 yards
and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Ridley caught
nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. Henry rushed
for 95 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
Alabama punter JK Scott averaged 50.0 yards per punt
on four attempts, placing two inside the Arkansas 20-yard
Katelyn Katsafanas was honored as the 2015 Homecoming
Queen during halftime of Saturday's Alabama Homecoming
game against Arkansas, as the Crimson Tide honored a
number of people associated with the celebration.
Katsafanas was crowned by 2014 Homecoming Queen
Allison Montgomery and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.
The Tide won the toss and deferred their option to the
second half. Arkansas received the opening kickoff. On
the first play the Razorbacks gained 15 yards on a
completed pass to wide receiver Jojo Robinson from
quarterback Brandon Allen. The Razorbacks tried to
pound their way against the Tide but the Alabama defense
responded and forced an Arkansas punt that was fair
caught by Cyrus Jones at the Tide 13.
Alabama quarterback Jake Coker came out on fire,
completing his first five passes, leading the Tide on
an 80-yard march in 13 plays that led to a 24-yard
field goal by Adam Griffith for a 3-0 lead. Coker
started the drive with a 6-yard pass to wide receiver
Calvin Ridley to the Tide 19. A pass to running back
Kenyan Drake gained 10 to the Tide 29. After a run by
Drake was stopped for no gain, Coker kept for 7 yards
around right end to the Tide 36. A pass to tight end
O.J. Howard gained 7 yards on first down, then a pass
to wide receiver Richard Mullaney gained nine to the
Arkansas 48. On a second-and-10 at the Arkansas 47,
Coker completed a screen to wide receiver ArDarius
Stewart who turned the short pass into a 37-yard
gain to the Arkansas 10. After two rushes by running
back Derrick Henry gained seven yards to the Arkansas
3, an incompletion in the end zone intended for Howard
forced the 25-yard attempt by Griffith, which he
converted with 7:09 left in the first quarter for
a 3-0 Alabama lead.
After Alabama forced an Arkansas punt, the Tide
composed another scoring threat, driving 60 yards in
14 plays on a march that consumed the final 5:35 of
the first quarter and ended with 14:46 left in the
second period. That march consisted of nine running
plays, including five for 22 yards by Henry and two
for 12 by Drake. A run by Coker for six yards on a
third-and-one play gave the Tide a first down at the
Arkansas 13. The quarter ended with Alabama facing
second-and-five at the Arkansas 8.
With the Tide on the Arkansas 8-yard line, Coker threw
two incomplete passes. Griffith came in the kick a
25-yard field goal, but missed wide right.
Arkansas took possession at its 20. On the first play,
Allen threw for 21 yards to wide receiver Jeremy
Sprinkle, but the drive stalled when Alabama linebacker
Rashaan Evans sacked Allen for a 5-yard loss. After
the Crimson Tide could not get anything going
offensively, Arkansas defensive back Josh Liddell
intercepted a Coker pass on the 31-yard line.
Alabama's defense held, causing another three-and-out,
but the Razorbacks' defense intercepted another pass by
Coker. This pickoff, by defensive back Santos Ramirez
at the Tide 42, was intended for the Tide's Richard
Mullaney. Ramirez returned it 18 yards to the Tide 24,
and the ball was moved to the Tide 12 via an
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Alabama.
From the Tide 12, Arkansas moved to a touchdown in three
plays as Allen converted a four-yard touchdown pass to
wide receiver Drew Morgan with 1:29 left in the half to
put Arkansas up 7-3 with the extra point kicked by Cole
In the waning moments of the first half, Alabama began
the final possession of the second period at its 27. The
Tide moved 42 yards in seven plays highlighted by a
series of short completions by Coker, who completed
six-of-six passes for 35 yards on the march. With six
seconds to go, Alabama called timeout and sent Griffith
to attempt a 48-yard field goal, but the kick missed
The half ended with the Razorbacks leading, 7-3.
The teams exchanged punts for most of the third period
before Alabama produced a big play that would change
the course of the game.
Alabama took the second-half kickoff and reached the
Arkansas 48 before being forced to punt. That set off
a series of possessions that would end in similar
fashion. After an Arkansas punt was fair caught by
Jones at the Tide 19 with 1:50 left in the period,
Alabama's offense took flight. Coker faked a handoff
and dropped deep to pass. He launched a long pass down
the middle of the field to Ridley, who was behind the
Arkansas secondary and hauled in the pass around the
Hogs' 35-yard line. From there, Ridley raced to the
end zone for a touchdown. Griffith's extra-point kick
was good and the Tide took a 10-7 lead with 1:39 left
in the third quarter.
On the next Arkansas possession, Alabama forced another
punting situation. But Arkansas punter Toby Baker tried
to run the ball on a fake punt. He only gained two of
the five yards needed as Alabama's Shawn Burgess-Becker
stopped him at the Arkansas 43-yard line to give the
Tide the ball. Henry rushed for a yard on first down as
the quarter ended.
Two incomplete passes by Alabama began the quarter, but
a defensive holding penalty on Arkansas on the second
play (third-and-9 at the Arkansas 42) set up the Tide
with a first down at the Hogs' 32-yard line. Henry
carried for a yard before Coker kept at left tackle
for 15 yards to a first down at the Arkansas 16. Drake
gained seven yards at right end to the Arkansas 9
before another Drake run for six yards set up the
Tide with first-and-goal at the three-yard line.
From there, Coker hit Mullaney on a 3-yard touchdown
pass. Griffith's kick was good and Alabama had a 17-7
lead with 12:49 left.
On the second play after the kickoff, Tide cornerback
Eddie Jackson intercepted Allen's pass at the Arkansas
33 and returned it 20 yards to set up the Alabama offense
at the Hogs' 13 with 11:52 left. Henry gained six yards
on first down before losing three yards on second down.
On a third-and-seven from the Arkansas 10, Coker was
sacked by Mitchell Loewen for a loss of seven to the
Arkansas 17. Griffith came in to try a 35-yard field
goal, which he made to give the Tide a 20-7 lead with
Alabama's stifling defense forced another Arkansas punt
after three plays followed by Arkansas forcing an
Alabama three-and-out, taking possession with 6:24
on the clock. Three plays lost seven yards, forcing
another Hogs punt. The 41-yard punt by Baker was
fielded by Jones at the Arkansas 43 and he returned it
27 yards to the Hogs' 16.
With 4:49 remaining, Alabama took over and drove to the
clinching score by moving 16 yards in four plays. A
15-yard run around left end by Henry on a third-and-10
from the 16 set up the score. Henry plunged into the end
zone at right guard on a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:44
left. Griffith's kick was good to give the Tide a 27-7
Arkansas responded with its best offensive drive of the
night, bolting 74 yards in five plays to a touchdown. A
pass from Allen to Hunter Henry gained 18 yards. The Hogs
scored when Allen found Dominique Reed open along the
sideline for a 54-yard pass and run. Cole Hedlund's
conversion kick was good and the Alabama lead was
narrowed to 27-14 with 1:37 left.
An onside kick attempt by Arkansas went for naught as
Jones recovered it for the Tide at the Alabama 46. The
Tide offense ran out the remaining 1:37 of game time
to seal the victory.
Alabama continues its season next Saturday, October 17,
against Texas A&M (5-0 overall; 2-0 in the SEC) at Kyle
Field in College Station, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled
for 2:30 p.m. Central Time and the game will be televised
by CBS Sports.