Directly from Nick Saban, Alabama Football won a game on Saturday, but the Crimson Tide did not beat the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Earlier in the week, Saban had seen such a result as more than possible. When asked about the spread favoring Alabama by 20 points, his response on Thursday was he did not think the Tide was a two-point favorite.
No doubt the Alabama football players heard the warnings voiced by Saban during the week. After the 24-21 squeaker over Arkansas, it appears Crimson Tide players heard, but did not listen. At the least, the Crimson Tide did not properly heed Saban’s warnings during Alabama’s preparation for Arkansas.
In Saban’s opening, post-game comments to the media,
"It’s great to win. It’s great to be where we are in the SEC. But there’s a difference between beating the other team and winning the game."
Other details from the game are noteworthy but the two sentences from Saban tell the story of a game when Alabama Football survived. Beating the other team remains a not fully learned lesson for the Crimson Tide. It takes domination to win championships. It takes better than survival-level preparation and execution to beat teams better than Arkansas. Two better teams await the Tide in its next two games.
Saban’s other voiced concerns were the Crimson Tide must get better at protecting Jalen Milroe and not making mental errors. Two defensive penalties, one a face-mack infraction by Jalen Key, bailed out Arkansas in third-down situations. Late in the game, a false start while the Tide was in victory formation elicited an explosion by Saban.
The full post-game media review can be seen below.
Alabama Football Bright Spots
- Jalen Milroe missed a few passes but overall was very good, passing for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
- The Tide’s running back group rushed for 196 yards and averaged over six yards per carry.
- Despite Malachi Moore not being able to play, the Crimson Tide secondary held KJ Jefferson to 150 passing yeads on 24 attempts.
- Alabama was flagged just five times, though the two discussed above, plus a pass interference by Caleb Downs were justifiably unacceptable to Nick Saban.
What’s next for Crimson Tide is Tennessee in Bryant-Denny on Saturday. Alabama should beat the Vols, but it will have to play better than it did against Arkansas.
Note: Game stats provided by statbroadcast.com
Some Alabama football fans will worry that the close win will drop Alabama in the polls. Probably not, but Alabama is in a must-win situation anyway, whatever poll movement occurs.