Alabama football: How Arkansas attacks the Tide on Saturday

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 14: Damien Harris
TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 14: Damien Harris /

Coach Nick Saban stated he viewed Arkansas as a potential trap game for Alabama football. Here’s why he is exactly correct and Alabama should expect a dogfight from the Razorbacks.

Many Alabama football fans when thinking about this week’s opponent the Arkansas Razorbacks will probably only remember the highlights from the Razorbacks failure on a punt return versus North Texas. However, with study of film, the Razorbacks have made tremendous progress over the past two weeks versus both Auburn and TAMU.

Versus Auburn, the Razorbacks held Jarrett Stidham to a season low QBR rating of 30.1, and held the Tigers to a team total of 91 rushing yards. Against the Aggies, the Razorbacks held Kellen Mond to a season low QBR rating of 33.6. However, TAMU was able to rattle off 176 yards rushing.

The Razorbacks have been able to limit the overall production from the opposing quarterback this season. The lowest QBR Tua Tagovailoa rating for this season is 94.4, which occurred against Texas A&M. For Alabama football, if the Razorbacks are able to do what no other football team has done and slow down Tua Tagovailoa, the Tide will have to rely on the running game to pull away from the Razorbacks.

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The Tide’s rushing attack currently ranks No. 17 with rushing yards-per-carry and No. 23 in rushing yards-per-game in the country. With Tua Tagovailoa under center, the Tide has yet to rely on a sustained rushing attack to win games. Could that change this week versus Arkansas?

The game plan for the Razorbacks to win will be the same Mississippi State employed last year versus the Tide. First, the Razorbacks will attempt to have time consuming offensive drives to limit the possessions of the high octane Crimson Tide offense. Second, they will attempt to stifle Tua Tagovailoa with unique coverages and additional personnel committed to the pass coverage. Expect the Razorbacks to force the Tide to run the football to have any chance to win the game.

No team thus far has been able to limit the production and efficiency of Tua Tagovailoa. For Arkansas, they will need to limit his production for any chance at beating the Tide in Razorback Stadium this Saturday. For the Tide, it may finally need to rely on its stable of running backs to pound the Razorbacks into submission.

Three keys to beating Arkansas. dark. Next

Please comment and share how you think Tua Tagovailoa and the Tide’s offense will perform this Saturday. Also, provide your prediction and if the Tide will cover the 35 point spread.