If No. 1 Alabama’s game at No. 16 Arkansas was supposed to be a test, it was one the Crimson Tide passed. Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) beat the Razorbacks (4-2, 0-2 SEC), 49-30.
Alabama’s offense earned especially high marks on the night, putting up nearly 50 points on the road against a good SEC opponent while notching 517 total yards. The Crimson Tide defense can be a lot more airtight than it was on Saturday, but it did cause five turnovers, including three interceptions from sophomore defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick alone. Fitzpatrick is a former five-star recruit, ranked the No. 5 2015 corner in the 2015 class as well as the No. 30 player overall, according to 247Sports.
Fitzpatrick certainly played like a five-star against Arkansas, notching five tackles (four solo) to go along with his interceptions, one of which sealed the outcome. Fitzpatrick took an Austin Allen pass back 100 yards for a touchdown. His three interceptions on the night tied a Crimson Tide record.
The scary thing for opponents of the Crimson Tide is that Fitzpatrick was merely one of many stars. Nick Saban’s team can hurt an opponent in so many different ways, and it’s one of the main reason the Crimson Tide are not just the No. 1 team in the nation, but a team with an excellent chance of defending its national championship.
Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts had another good game. He did throw an interception — it was a tipped ball — but he completed 13-of-17 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed eight times for 20 yards and two touchdowns.
Since taking over as the undisputed top quarterback for the Crimson Tide, Hurts has thrown for 837 yards, five touchdowns, only one interception and three rushing touchdowns. On the season, Hurts has accumulated 1,242 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions and five rushing touchdowns.
Not bad at all for a true freshman.
Of course, Hurts has had a ton of talent around him, which has undoubtedly made things easier. The Crimson Tide are developing a very strong “one-two-three punch” in the backfield, and that was on full display against Arkansas.
Sophomore running back Damien Harris led the way against the Razorbacks with 13 carries for 122 yards. He also picked up two receptions for 60 yards, one of them a 56-yard touchdown.
After being slowed down by injuries earlier this season, Harris looked great against the Razorbacks, and that’s terrible news for the rest of the SEC.
True freshman Joshua Jacobs was explosive on Alabama’s first series, but he was injured before he could log more carries and continue to decimate opposing defenses. Sophomore Bo Scarbrough continued to play an important role for Alabama, punching in another touchdown. He now has four touchdowns on the season in a backup role.
In the passing game, ArDarius Stewart had a solid night for the Tide, leading the team in receptions with five for 120 yards. Explosive sophomore Calvin Ridley also found the end zone again, giving him his fourth touchdown on the season.
Alabama’s offense, under coordinator Lane Kiffin, came into the Arkansas game ranked No. 1 in the SEC in scoring. That won’t change after this 49-point display.
Fitzpatrick’s three interceptions were the highlights on defense, but the Crimson Tide were also able to get six sacks and 12 hurries on the Razorbacks’ quarterback. Senior linebacker Ryan Anderson led the way with nine tackles (a career high), one sack, two tackles for loss and one quarterback hurry. Junior linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton added nine tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for loss of his own. He also forced a fumble which senior linebacker Tim Williams picked up and ran back for a 23 yard touchdown. Alabama’s two defensive touchdowns against Arkansas give the team nine total defensive touchdowns so far this season, a mark that leads the nation.
At this point it’s almost a cliché to predict that the Crimson Tide will keep rolling, but seriously, who will stop Alabama?
Maybe it will be No. 8 Texas A&M, which beat No. 9 Tennessee, 45-38, on Saturday… but even the Aggies will be getting in the way of a boulder going downhill quickly.
Alabama has the longest winning streak in the FBS with 18, dating back to the 2015 season. The win streak is the sixth-longest surge in Crimson Tide history, the second longest in the Saban era.
When one realizes that Alabama’s defense allowed 30 points to Arkansas and yet made large quantities of high-impact plays in an easy 19-point win, it’s hard to pinpoint when this particular win streak will end.