Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas Razorbacks: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


For the second straight week the Alabama Crimson Tide (5-1) spent the majority of the afternoon Saturday attempting to stop shooting themselves in the foot, this time against the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3) on the road. Unlike last week against Ole Miss, the Tide was able to weather the storm and come out with a 14-13 victory. There was some good but also some bad and some very, very ugly.

The Good

After a whirlwind week of doubt and controversy being made about the leadership of this Alabama football team, even by former quarterback AJ McCarron, several of Alabama’s veteran players stepped up during the game to not just make big plays but lift their teammates as well.

Senior quarterback Blake Sims could be seen hyping up his teammates during the game, not just on the sideline but in the huddle as well, and after he made a mistake late in the game his teammates returned the favor by lifting him up on the sidelines.

Senior linebacker Trey DePriest had a massive game, not only forcing a fumble at the goal line early, but also made several big hits during the game.

Senior Xzavier Dickson made potentially the biggest hit of the game in the fourth quarter. Following one of the ugliest quarterback sneak attempts in the history of football by Blake Sims on fourth and one, Arkansas came right back and had a fourth and one of their own on the ensuing drive. Dickson met Razorback Jonathan Williams at the line and dropped him for no gain, giving the ball back to Alabama once again.

Junior safety Landon Collins intercepted a Brandon Allen pass with just over two minutes remaining in the game to seal the win. This capped off a night where the Tide defense played extremely well despite being put in some horrible situations. Alabama held an Arkansans running game that averages over 300 yards per game to just over 80.

Despite pretty lousy play by the special teams against Arkansas, and all year for that matter, it was a special teams play that was the difference in the game. After Arkansas’ first touchdown in the first half defensive end Jonathan Allen blocked the extra point, marking the second consecutive game that Alabama has blocked an extra point.

The Bad

An offense that put up over 600 yards against Florida just a few weeks ago could manage just 227 against Arkansas, and once again it was marred by penalties and mental mistakes throughout the game.

A once dominating Alabama rushing attack was held to a pathetic 66 yards, averaging just 2.1 yards per rush. The Tide offensive line was beaten regularly by the usually mediocre Razorback d-line. Regular starting center Ryan Kelly missed the game, and his replacement Bradley Bozeman struggled throughout the game, which attributed to the problems, but there wasn’t a single offensive lineman that didn’t have a poor game. The rushing game must improve going forward as teams look to take Amari Cooper away more and more.

Blake Sims had another poor outing, though he did throw Alabama’s only two scores of the game. He made several terrible throws, a couple of which that should have been intercepted, and made poor decisions throughout the game.

Amari Cooper managed just two catches, by far his lowest output of the season, as Arkansas dedicated itself to taking him out of the game. No one else stepped up consistently enough to get Arkansas to loosen up coverage. OJ Howard, DeAndrew White, and Christion Jones have to become the playmakers that they are capable of.

The Ugly

Alabama was only penalized four times this week, which is a massive improvement, but they were stupid penalties that were unnecessary.

The biggest problem was, yet again, turnovers. Christion Jones fumbled an Arkansas punt early in the first quarter and then later in the game Cyrus Jones did the same, dropping the ball with no one around him. Maurice Smith allowed a punt to hit him, turning the ball over as well on a punt, which was one of the dumbest plays of the game.

These are the types of plays that got Alabama beat against Ole Miss and the types of plays that cannot happen against teams like Texas A&M, Mississippi State, LSU, or Auburn.

Final stats

Blake Sims: 11-21, 161 yards, 2 TD; 7 carries, 5 yards

TJ Yeldon: 16 carries, 45 yards; 2 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD
Derrick Henry: 7 carries, 25 yards

DeAndrew White: 4 catches, 33 yards, 1 TD; 1 carry, -3 yards
Amari Cooper: 2 catches, 22 yards; 1 carry, -6 yards
OJ Howard: 1 catch, 47 yards
Cameron Sims: 1 catch, 15 yards
Jalston Fowler: 1 catch, 9 yards

Reggie Ragland: 12 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup
Xzavier Dickson: 8 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1.0 sack
Landon Collins: 8 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1 INT, 2 pass breakups
Eddie Jackson: 6 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1.0 sack
Trey DePriest: 6 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble
Jarran Reed: 5 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 2 pass breakups, 1.0 sack
A’Shawn Robinson: 5 tackles, 1.5 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble
Nick Perry: 5 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 1 quarterback hurry
Dillon Lee: 4 tackles
Ryan Anderson: 3 tackles, 1.5 tackle for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 1.0 sack
Brandon Ivory: 2 tackles
Geno Smith: 2 tackles
Jabriel Washington: 1 tackle
Cyrus Jones: 1 tackle, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup
Dalvin Tomlinson: 1 tackle
Darren Lake: 1 tackle
Jarrick Williams: 1 pass breakup
Jonathan Allen: 1 quarterback hurry, 1 blocked kick

JK Scott: 8 punts, 44.2 yards per punt, long: 58 yards (7 inside 20 yard line)
Cyrus Jones: 2 punt returns, 7 yards
Christion Jones: 2 kickoff returns, 28 yards
Landon Collins: 1 kickoff return, 9 yards