Bama corrects last week's mistakes in SEC win

After making sloppy errors against Western Kentucky last week, Alabama played near perfect against Arkansas Saturday in its SEC opener.

What's better than keeping your opponent from scoring?

Doing it two weeks in a row.

Last week Alabama shut out Western Kentucky 35-0. This week's lucky victim was Arkansas, whom the Tide rolled over 52-0. The last time Alabama had back-to-back shutouts was in 1980 under Paul "Bear" Bryant against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

Razorbacks' star quarterback Tyler Wilson warmed up, but could only watch helplessly from the sideline due to a head injury he suffered last week against Louisiana-Monroe. Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell played the quarterback shuffle throughout, but that didn't matter one bit to Alabama's defense, which held Arkansas to 137 total yards, 58 rushing.

"We really weren't focused on who played quarterback," said cornerback Dee Milliner. "We just tried to come out and compete and whoever they put at quarterback, we'd be ready to play against."

And ready they were, rain or shine, and Saturday it was the former, as sloshy conditions washed over Fayetteville.

The Tide headed into this weekend knowing they wouldn't know which quarterback was going to play, but as long as they followed the game plan everything would fall into place.

"I told our players that their quarterback situation was not our problem," head coach Nick Saban said. "Regardless of who played, we'd have to play well."

The defense forced five turnovers, all of which resulted in Alabama touchdowns on the ensuing drives. The Tide has increased their total turnover count to 12 in the first three games and has only given it up once.

"It really helps when you can compete against each other in practice and guys are trying to make that happen," Saban said of Alabama churning out turnovers in bunches. "It makes the offensive guys aware of what might happen in a game."

Running back Eddie Lacy, who scored three of Alabama's six rushing touchdowns, one of which came after safety HaHa Clinton-Dix intercepted Allen and returned the ball 46 yards to the 3-yard line, said that the offense is able to take advantage of turnovers in the games because of how much they work on it during the week.

"It's natural for the offense to come out there and put points on the board because we've been doing it at practice," Lacy said.

Offensively, Alabama was almost perfectly balanced, rushing for 225 yards and passing for 213. Four different running backs rushed for touchdowns and nine different wide receivers caught passes. The wealth was shared throughout the depth chart.

A.J. McCarron had a solid day, going 11 of 16 for 189 yards and a touchdown through two quarters. Backups Phillip Ely and Blake Sims both saw action and Sims added a touchdown.

After allowing six sacks and barely helping the running game over 100 yards against Western Kentucky last week, Alabama's offensive line was back to normal.

"We just wanted to come off explosive," said left guard Chance Warmack. "That's always a point of emphasis for us. I think we improved on that today."

But no matter how sweet the win, especially against a conference foe, Alabama always finds areas where it needs to improve. For example, the Tide had seven penalties for 74 yards and gave up 30 yards in one Arkansas drive (back-to-back 15-yard penalties).

"We had way too many penalties today," Saban said. "That's something that will kill you. It cost us some field position. There are a lot of things that we need to clean up."

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