(3) Alabama - 35, Arkansas - 7
September 26, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, ALA. - A career-high 291 yards from quarterback Greg
McElroy, combined with a staunch defensive effort propelled No. 3
Alabama to a convincing 35-7 win over Arkansas in the Southeastern
Conference opener for the Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium
Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones catches a pass and outruns
Arkansas defenders for a touchdown.
Alabama held a 425-to-254 yard advantage in total offense with five
different players scoring for Alabama including three touchdown passes
from quarterback Greg McElroy. The defense performed equally well,
allowing just 63 yards on the ground with three sacks, eight tackles
for a loss, six quarterback hurries and an interception.
McElroy keyed the offensive output with another solid performance,
completing 17-of-24 passes for 291 yards and touchdown strikes of 80,
50 and 14 yards with no interceptions. On the ground, Alabama pounded
out 134 yards, the majority split between Trent Richardson (9 carries,
65 yards) and Mark Ingram (17 carries, 50 yards). Ingram finished the
afternoon with 71 total yards of offense and two touchdowns.
Alabama (4-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead at halftime thanks to two big
scoring plays of 52 and 50 yards on the ground and through the air,
"Offensively we made some big plays," said UA head coach Nick Saban.
"We had a plan to go after some of their corners a little bit in the
game and we probably should have even done it more. Greg did a nice
job, especially in the second half."
Richardson jump started the Tide's scoring with a 52-yard touchdown
run over right end, breaking four tackles behind the line of scrimmage
to spring the big run and give the Tide a 7-0 lead with 9:30 left in
Following another defensive stop, the offense tacked on another
touchdown when a direct-snap reverse freed up Julio Jones downfield.
McElroy, who received the ball from Terry Grant via Ingram, hit the
wide-open Jones for the 50-yard strike to give the Tide the 14-0
Alabama's defense was the star of the first half, limiting Arkansas
to just 101 yards of total offense in the half and forcing the
Razorbacks to punt on all seven first-half possessions. The Tide's
rush defense was particularly stout, allowing 27 yards on 17 attempts
while quarterback Ryan Mallett completed a third of his 21 attempts
for 74 yards. The Arkansas signal caller finished the afternoon
12-of-35 for 160 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Javier Arenas led the Tide's first half defensive effort on the
rain-soaked turf with four tackles, all solo, three of them for a
loss of 25 yards and two sacks for his first multi-sack game at
"Our defensive line did a great job applying pressure," said
linebacker Rolando McClain. "We knew the ball was going to come out
fast because we were giving pressure. We didn't give up a deep ball I
don't think and that's very good as a defense."
Arkansas's lone score came when the Razorbacks took the opening drive
of the second half 55-yards in five plays that culminated in an
18-yard toss from Mallett to Greg Childs to cut UA's lead in half at
The Tide needed just one play and 20 seconds to respond to Arkansas'
first and only score as McElroy found a streaking Marquis Maze along
the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown completion to take a 21-7 lead
with 10:25 left in the third quarter. The Tide defense returned to
form on the ensuing series, forcing a three-and-out that allowed the
special teams unit to shine.
With Arkansas in punt formation, punter Dylan Breeding elected to
roll to his right to get the punt off, but found only the midsection
of a charging Lorenzo Washington. Breeding recovered the blocked
punt and scrambled to his own 35 before being forced out of bounds.
Alabama made use of the short field on the fifth play of the series
as McElroy, facing a healthy dose of pressure, dumped the ball off to
Ingram on a screen pass. A lone block up the sideline allowed Ingram
to waltz into the endzone for the first of his two touchdowns on the
UA effectively ended the game with its third straight touchdown drive,
this one a clock-killing 99-yard campaign that took 6:28 off the clock
before Ingram's two-yard dash ended the day's scoring with 13:12 left
in the fourth quarter.
The Crimson Tide will take to the road for its first true away game
of the season next weekend when they face Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
Kickoff is at 11:21am CT and will be televised on the SEC Network.