The defense for Alabama Football has been the strength of the team so far in the 2023 season, and it continued to carry the water in a close home win over Arkansas.
The defense wasn’t perfect in this game; it seemingly lost focus and gave up 15 late points to make this game much tighter than it should’ve been. Still, this was another outstanding overall performance from Kevin Steele’s unit. With the knowledge of some easily correctable mistakes, I think the group will be even sharper going forward.
The Arkansas offense got 11 full-length possessions in this game. Seven of those possessions ended in punts, including six three-and-outs. These six drives yielded just 20 yards on 18 plays.
Arkansas’ total offensive production, which came almost entirely from its four scoring drives (two field goals and two touchdowns), was very minimal. The Hogs posted 250 yards of total offense on just 4.2 yards per play for the game.
Arkansas managed 100 rushing yards (2.8 YPC), nearly half of which came on a pair of second half improvisational scrambles by KJ Jefferson, who barreled down the field and through Bama defenders like a refrigerator on wheels. While the Tide will face mobile quarterbacks even better than Jefferson before the year is over, it won’t see another as difficult to bring down.
The Arkansas offense was just as anemic in the passing game, as Jefferson completed 58 percent of his passes for a woeful 6.2 yards per attempt. In his defense, KJ Jefferson almost single-handedly powered back-to-back touchdown drives that totaled 146 yards on 19 plays in the second half.
If the Alabama defense learned anything in this game, I hope it learned that it has to finish. It has to finish plays, it has to finish drives and get off the field, and it has to finish games.