Arkansas vs. Alabama: 5 Things We Learned About the Tide in Victory
A game that many expected to be much closer than it actually was between Alabama and Arkansas turned out to be a blowout in favor of the Tide.
The Arkansas receiving corps are arguably the most talented in the country, but they ran into the most fierce, hard-hitting and arguably the most talented defense in America.
With the 38-14 victory for Alabama, there were many things we learned from this game. However, there were five specific things that stood out most in my eyes.
Defense Wins Championships
If you have a great defense in college football you might have the chance to go all the way. We have seen that in the BCS era regardless of whether your offense is amazing or not.
We thought Arkansas had the offense to challenge the Tide, but that proved to be a bit of a fallacy.
The Razorbacks struggled mightily to run the ball though things were expected to be just fine since they could thread the needle as well as anybody with Tyler Wilson.
However, with receivers still recovering from ailments you question how close to 100 percent they were as Alabama completely dominated them for nearly four quarters. Make no mistake though, Alabama proved they could have thumped them if Arkansas had a decade to prepare for today's game.
Alabama forced seven three-and-outs on defense from the high-octane Arkansas offense and they also forced an interception which was returned back to the house for a 25-yard touchdown by DeQuan Menzie.
Alabama was able to bottle up the run with ease which allowed them to keep as many as seven or eight defensive backs/linebackers to defend the pass. There were few tight windows for Wilson to throw into and Saban's defense flexed their muscle and looked like contenders for a BCS National Championship.
Special Teams Are Key
Trailing at halftime 17-7, Arkansas was forced to punt after one first down towards midfield. Dylan Breeding made the bad decision to allow Mr. Maze to field the punt and he took it to the house for a game-changing 83 yard punt return touchdown.
A few tremendous cutbacks allowed Maze to follow his blocks and take a punt back to the house for six. It completely changed the game around in favor of Alabama as Arkansas was still in the ballgame at halftime only down 10 points
Mr. Everything would be a great nickname for Marquis Maze since he has shown that he can flat out do it all.
He also hauled in five catches for 40 yards, and the extra dimension that he brings to the table for Alabama only makes the Tide even better as a team.
A Running Game Is Vital
211 total yards on the day for Trent Richardson was just another day at the office for the future Sunday star. Richardson's 61-yard touch catch off a screen was just another punch in the gut that Arkansas dealt with Saturday.
The Crimson Tide brought their "A" game thanks in large part to the future All-American freak himself. Richardson only toted the rock 17 times but still ran for for an absurd 126 yards (7.4 YPC). His backup Eddie Lacy was used well as usual getting 13 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown, as he proved to be one of the better backups in the nation.
However, the running game was nowhere to be found for Arkansas, even I thought they would be able to find a little bit of room. 19 attempts for 17 yards was a pathetic showing, but going up against the Tide's front seven is an impossible mission.
Arkansas still has a green offensive line and the loss of Knile Davis may be hurting a bit more than some wanted to realize. Ronnie Wingo Jr and Dennis Johnson combined for just 32 yards on 14 carries which is not good enough.
A running game controls the game and it slows everybody down. There is no way of stopping it and until somebody does Alabama may not skip a beat,
Alabama Made Arkansas Look Bad
Before everybody gets carried away and start thinking that Arkansas is a garbage team, take a step back and take a deep breath with me.
The Razorbacks are still a legit and worthy team in the SEC. Sure, they won't be winning the West Division or perhaps reach a BCS Bowl, but all is not completely lost. This team is still capable of winning 10 ball games this season. It is just that Alabama is so darn impressive they made this game look awful for the Razorback nation.
Their receiving corp is only going to improve with health and they have a ton of home run hitters which enables your team to never be out of a ball game (save today).
Tyler Wilson still has some growing pains to endure over the course of this season, but he made a ton of positive plays as well. Cobi Hamilton, Greg Childs, Jairius Wright and Joe Adams are an explosive group.
I had Joe Adams as my x-factor since I knew the Razorbacks only legit chance of winning was if he broke loose on a few long runs/catch/punt returns. It would have helped had the rushing attack shown up, but in time it should improve as long the young offensive line improves with it.
The Crimson Tide have the talent to make any and all teams look bad because of how NFL-ready their defense is. The defensive line is among the best in the SEC whereas their linebackers and defensive backs are arguably the best in the entire nation.
Nick Saban and Alabama Are Here to Stay
Having been able to watch every Crimson Tide ballgame has given me the opportunity to make a few judgments and predictions for the near future.
Until the SEC Championship Game, who in the blue hell is going to knock off this Alabama team? The only game I could see Alabama winning by under 10 points is against another team that may have a case of their own as far as proclaiming themselves as the best in the nation. I am talking about those LSU Tigers.
LSU's defense has arguably been just as impressive (let's see against West Virginia) and despite a possible loss to linebacker CJ Mosley and a few others (please provide any information) this Tide defense will allow them to stay in every ball game.
Nick Saban continues to just out-coach every staff he goes up against and sure it helps to have one of the best teams year in and year out, but he comes in with a gameplan and can always change things on the fly without any hesitation.
I mean hell, I have not had the time to mention the play of quarterback AJ McCarron who completed 15 of 20 passes for 200 yards and 2 TDs. It just goes to show you have great this Tide team is. What was a weakness has turned into a positive in late September.
Saban's two BCS National Championships (Alabama & LSU) has made his hype justified as a coach, but this team seemingly comes out every weekend with a ton of pageantry attempting to prove a point.
That is what college football is all about and Saban's Tide certainly made their case today as to why they are the best team in America!