Alabama shuts out Arkansas, 52-0

By Marquavius Burnett

The theme of week three for the Alabama football team was demanding more from itself. Despite pitching a shutout against Western Kentucky, the Crimson Tide wasn’t satisfied.

So on Saturday against Arkansas, the Tide came out looking to make a statement not only to itself and its fans, but to the rest of the college football world. And it was loud and clear as Alabama dominated Arkansas from start to finish en route to a 52-0 drubbing of the Razorbacks to open Southeastern Conference play. The Tide gave the Razorbacks their first shutout since 1995 (LSU) and first at home in Fayetteville since 1966 (Baylor).
“We’ve really been fighting with this group since the Michigan game about allowing ourselves to accept average and getting them to demand more of themselves,” Saban said.
One major category Alabama has demanded more of itself in is turnovers. Alabama featured one of the best statistical defenses in college football history in 2011, but the Tide only forced 20 turnovers.
For perspective, through three games, Alabama has forced 12 turnovers (six interceptions and six recovered fumbles). This new found ability to turn teams over is no coincidence.
“We went and visited the [New Orleans] Saints specifically to see how do you coach turnovers,” Saban said. “Now, every time the ball hits the ground in practice, the players have to pick it up and run it down the numbers.”
Arkansas’ chances of victory were slim to none from the start. Quarterback Tyler Wilson went through pregame warmups as if he were going to start, but ultimately couldn’t go, limiting the Razorbacks offensively.
Arkansas head coach John L. Smith rotated Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell at quarterback, a formula that played well into Alabama’s hands. Neither quarterback was able to get into a rhythm and combined completed a mere 11 passes for 79 yards. To make matters worse, the Razorbacks star running back Knile Davis gained only 59 yards on 20 attempts.
“I feel like we came out to fight in the first half, but in the second half I didn’t think the effort was there,” said. Mitchell, who accounted for more rushing (29) yards than passing (19).

Another bright spot for the Tide was the reemergence of starting running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy has battled nagging injuries and was limited in the Tide’s first two games, totaling 71 yards and one touchdown.
Lacy finished the night with 55 yards and three scores on twelve carries, but looked more explosive than he has all season, which his teammates noticed.

“We saw the old Eddie out there,” center Barrett Jones said. “He started trusting his legs again. He was frustrated about being hurt, but we all know he’s a great running back when healthy.”

Next up, Alabama returns to Bryant-Denny Stadium to face Florida Atlantic Sept. 22.Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT.

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