(1) Alabama - 52, Arkansas - 0
September 16, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The top-ranked Crimson Tide (3-0 overall; 1-0 in the
Southeastern Conference) was physically dominant on the line of scrimmage
both offensively and defensively, and took advantage of five Arkansas turnovers
in a 52-0 rout of the Razorbacks (1-2 overall; 0-1 in the SEC) on Saturday
afternoon before a crowd of 74,617 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The margin of victory represents the largest Alabama victory margin in an SEC
game since a 55-0 win over Auburn in 1948 and is the fourth-largest margin in
an SEC game ranking behind a 65-0 win over Sewanee in 1937, a 66-3 win at
Vanderbilt in 1979, and the 55-0 win vs. Auburn in 1948. In addition, the
shutout marked the first time Arkansas has failed to score in Fayetteville since 1966.
Amari Cooper escapes Arkansas safety Eric Bennett to score a second-quarter
Photo Credit - Mark Almond -- The Birmingham News
Alabama had four scoring drives of 30 yards or less, including two of less than
10 yards, as the Tide's defense and special teams forced turnovers leading to scores.
AJ McCarron completed 11 of 16 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown, while receiver
Christion Jones caught three passes for 73 yards and running back Eddie Lacy had 55
yards and three touchdowns to lead the Alabama offense. Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix set
up one score by returning an interception 46 yards to the Arkansas 3-yard line,
Vinnie Sunseri ended an Arkansas threat with an interception. Alabama limited the
injury-plagued Razorbacks offense to 137 total yards on the day.
Alabama broke on top on its second possession, a short drive set up by a miscue by
the Arkansas punt team as the center snap sailed over punter Dylan Breeding, who
kicked the ball through the back of the end zone. That play resulted in a penalty
for illegal kicking, setting up the Tide at the Arkansas 6-yard line. On the next
play, Lacy took a handoff and battled into the end zone for a touchdown to give
Alabama a 7-0 lead with 9:40 left in the first quarter with Jeremy Shelley's
On the next possession, two 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the Alabama
defense kick-started the Arkansas offense as the Razorbacks stormed back down the
field. But that march, a 51-yard drive in eight plays that carried from the Arkansas
25 to the Alabama 24, ended in a missed 41-yard field goal attempt by Zack Hocker
that hit the left upright with 6:01 left in the period.
After an exchange of punts, Alabama asserted its rushing game late in the first
quarter on a drive that started at the Crimson Tide 20 and ended with a 51-yard
field goal by Cade Foster with 14:10 remaining in the second quarter. After a
13-yard pass from McCarron to DeAndrew White started the drive, the Tide rushed
for 33 yards into Arkansas territory. The march took nine plays and consumed 3:25
of game time as Alabama extended the lead.
Arkansas marched into Alabama territory on the ensuing possession, but that drive
ended when Sunseri intercepted a Brandon Allen pass at the Tide 20-yard line and
returned it to the Alabama 33 with 11:27 remaining in the second period. The Alabama
running game continued to get on track after the interception with Lacy rushing for
19 yards on the march, but it was a 28-yard pass from McCarron to Christion Jones
to the Arkansas 11 that highlighted the drive. After a holding penalty by Christion
Jones negated a 10-yard run by Lacy, McCarron hit Amari Cooper on a short pass that
Cooper turned into a 20-yard touchdown. Shelley hit the extra point to give Alabama
a 17-0 lead with 8:58 left in the second quarter.
One play after a 52-yard field goal attempt by Foster hit the upright; Clinton-Dix
intercepted a pass by Allen and returned it 46 yards to the Arkansas 3-yard line.
After McCarron lost two yards via a fumbled center snap exchange, Lacy carried for
four yards to the Arkansas 1. On third-and-goal, Lacy scored from a yard out on a
run off right tackle with 3:01 left in the first half to extend the Alabama lead to
24-0 following Shelley's kick.
Alabama salted away the game on the opening possession of the second half, taking
the kickoff and marching 75 yards in six plays to score on Lacy's third touchdown
of the day, a 10-yard run with 12:10 remaining in the third quarter. Shelley's
conversion kick gave the Tide a 31-0 lead.
The lead widened to 38-0 just 43 seconds later after Arkansas' Dennis Johnson
fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Foster recovered for Alabama at the Razorback
27-yard line. That miscue set up a touchdown as McCarron connected with Cooper
for 26 yards on the first play of the drive before T.J. Yeldon scored on a one-yard
run on the next play.
As the Tide emptied its bench in the fourth quarter, the Alabama reserves added to
the margin with a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that consumed 7:31 of game clock.
That march was capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Kenyan Drake to move the margin
to 45-0 with Shelley's conversion kick. Alabama would score one more time as a
perfectly executed fake handoff from Blake Sims to Ben Howell allowed Sims to run
the ball into the end zone 27 yards for the score. Shelley would hit his seventh
extra point of the game, setting the score at 52-0.
The Tide returns home next weekend for a matchup with Florida Atlantic. The game is
slated to kick off in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 4 p.m. CT and will air on a pay-per-view