Intercept three passes, return one of them for a 100-yard touchdown in a road win against a ranked team, and you get noticed.
Minkah Fitzpatrick did that in Alabama’s 49-30 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville Saturday, and he has been recognized as the defensive player of the week in the nation, the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the week, and one of 11 Crimson Tide players selected for weekly recognition by the Bama coaching staff.
Fitzpatrick had his interception return for a touchdown at a time when Alabama’s lead was 42-24 and the Razorbacks appeared to be driving for a touchdown. He picked off the pass deep in the end zone, and ran it out with a convoy of Bama blockers, taking it all the way to the end zone untouched. Fitzpatrick also had five tackles (four primary) and broke up two passes.
For that, he was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week (the second time in his career he has been recognized) and the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, along with being cited by Tide coaches.
Also recognized for SEC player of the week recognition were punter JK Scott as Special Teams Player of the Week and quarterback Jalen Hurts as Co-Freshman of the Week.
Scott punted four times for 206 yards to average a season-high 51.5 yards per punt. He dropped two inside the 20 and had a season-long punt of 63 yards.
Hurts accounted for 273 yards of total offense and four touchdowns (two rushing, two passing). He threw for 253 yards while completing 76.5 per cent of his throws (13-17). His quarterback efficiency rating was his best, 228.54, and he averaged 14.9 yards per completion.
Fitzpatrick, Scott, and Hurts were joined in weekly coaches’ recognition by center Bradley Bozeman and tackles Cam Robinson and Jonah Williams on offense; linebackers Shaun Dion Hamilton and Tim Williams on defense; and placekicker Adam Griffith and coverage team members Rashaan Evans and Hootie Jones on special teams.
The offensive line trio of Bozeman, Robinson, and Williams helped provide time for the offense to develop and did not allow a quarterback hurry or a sack. Bozeman anchored the line, making all the calls from the center position, while Robinson and Williams posted grades of 88 percent and 86 percent, respectively, from both tackle positions. The offensive line helped clear a path for 264 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns, including 122 yards from Damien Harris.
In addition to the heroics of Fitzpatrick, Hamilton led the Crimson Tide with a game-high tying nine total tackles, while recording a sack and a forced fumble; and Williams scored a defensive touchdown, recovering an Austin Allen fumble and returning it 23 yards, and also recorded a sack, a pair of quarterback hurries, and a pass breakup.
Evans and Jones helped limit Arkansas to zero punt return yards and only 87 yards on kickoffs, and Jones forced a fumble on kickoff coverage that led to an Alabama TD.