Alabama Football: Workman-like Tide almost got what it needed Saturday

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football got almost everything it needed Saturday in a thorough 52-3 beating of the Razorbacks.

For Alabama football, job one on Saturday was just to win. Any win would have sufficed. It is not that the one-sided 52-3 result was unimpressive. It just wasn’t needed to enhance the Crimson Tide’s Playoff chances.

What was important on Saturday was not accomplished. The most important result from the game was to finish it injury-free. That task got blown up on the first play from scrimmage. Butkus Award, semi-finalist, Christian Harris incurred a shoulder injury and did not return to the game.

Replacing Harris at inside linebacker was junior, Jaylen Moody. The little-used Moody finished the game as the Tide’s leading tackler, making seven stops, four of which were solo tackles. After the game, Nick Saban confirmed Harris has a shoulder injury. His availability against Florida will not be known until MRI results are made available.

Alabama football fans hope Harris can return to face the powerful Florida offense. In consolation, Moody looked confident against the Razorbacks and was active in pre-snap adjustments. There were no other serious injuries for the Crimson Tide.

Arkansas chose to not give up long balls and at times played a deep cover-three. Mac Jones took what was available underneath, finishing his work early in the third quarter, after going 24-for-29 and 208 yards. The Alabama Crimson Tide rushing attack was effective with Najee Harris and Brian Robinson sharing the workload for a total of 100 yards. Freshman, Jase McClellan pumped up the Tide’s rushing stats with a late, 80-yard touchdown run.

Led by Brian Robinson with three, the Crimson Tide had six rushing touchdowns. DeVonta Smith scored on an 84-yard punt return and Will Reichard added a 45-yard field goal. The Crimson Tide defense combined for eight sacks and three forced fumbles.

The 24-hour rule for celebrating a win was not in effect Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville. The Alabama Crimson and its head coach were already looking toward the SEC Championship game. Saban said great effort will be needed against the Florida Gators.

"I think we have to show that we can stand up and play against a team like that"

Not to debate the GOAT, but the Gators will have the greater ‘stand up’ task next Saturday in Atlanta. Dan Mullen’s offense is explosive. But an improved Crimson Tide defense will have an easier time than will the Gators’ defense trying to stop an also explosive Crimson Tide.

Next. Reasons why ESPN deal is good for the Tide. dark

Dan Mullen will have his own ‘stand up’ challenge On Saturday. The Florida coach has a 0-9 record against Nick Saban.