Missed tackles, missed opportunities and untimely penalties plagued the Razorbacks in their first SEC road game of the year in front of 90,000+ at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. Arkansas fell to 1-2 on the season and 0-2 in SEC play, losing 35-7 to the Crimson Tide of Alabama.
Arkansas’ defense held the Alabama offense scoreless in the first quarter, but Alabama running back Trent Richardson scored on a 52-yard run in which four Arkansas players missed tackles. Then, Greg McElroy hit Julio Jones on a trick play out of the Wildcat package for 52 yards to give Alabama a 14-0 lead at the half.
The Hogs scored on their first possession of the second half as Ryan Mallett connected with sophomore receiver Greg Childs on an 18-yard touchdown pass to cap a 55-yard drive to close the gap to 14-7, but Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy hit wide receiver Marquis Maze for an 80-yard pass play on the ensuing possession. Arkansas never recovered.
Defense has been a concern for the Hogs all year, but the Arkansas offense also struggled mightily against the Tide. After leading the nation in passing for the first two games of the year, Ryan Mallett only completed 12 of 35 passes for 160 yards and 1 touchdown against Alabama. Mallett also threw his first interception of the season off of a deflected pass in the 4th quarter.
Arkansas’ pass defense continued to be a weakness for the Razorbacks. After giving up a career day passing to Georgia quarterback Joe Cox, Alabama quarterback McElroy also ennded with a career passing day against the Hogs, finishing 17-24 with 291 yards and 3 touchdown passes.
Penalties were a factor against the Crimson Tide. After being flagged 11 times for 100 yards last week against Georgia, Arkansas again committed 11 penalties against Alabama resulting in 98 yards for the Crimson Tide.
Next up, the Razorback will travel to Dallas for a neutral site game against Texas A&M. Arkansas will have to continue to improve against the pass if they expect to beat an Aggie team that leads the nation in total offense, averaging 574.3 yards per game.