Tide rides defensive TDs to victory

Alabama's defense turned in three takeaways that resulted in touchdowns and the Crimson Tide went on to a 31-10 victory over Arkansas in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. The win moved Alabama to 2-1 on the season and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Razorbacks fell to 1-2 and winless in two SEC games.

It was the first game for either team in two weeks following the cancellation of major sports events after the terrorist attack on America last week. There has not yet been any word on when Bama will make up its game against Southern Mississippi, but it is believed it will be either Saturday, December 1, or, possibly, a Thursday night game on November 29. An announcement should come Monday. There is only a slight chance that Southern Miss will not be Alabama's opponent in the make-up game.

Alabama goes to South Carolina next Saturday to take on the surprising Gamecocks of Coach Lou Holtz. South Carolina, which played Thursday night, is 3-0 on the season, including road SEC wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Alabama and South Carolina will kick off shortly after 12:30 EDT (11:30 CDT) in a game that will be regionally telecast by Jefferson Pilot.

Free safety Reggie Myles scooped up a fumble and scored a defensive touchdown for the Tide.

Alabama got one touchdown and had another set up by fumble recoveries. In the second quarter Aries Monroe forced a fumble, which was scooped up at the Arkansas 42-yard line by Reggie Myles, and Myles raced into the end zone untouched. In the third quarter Alabama had just suffered a blocked punt while protecting a 10-7 lead and Arkansas had the ball at the Crimson Tide 28-yard line. But on first down a backwards pass by the quarterback was blocked by Brooks Daniels. Because it was a lateral, it was considered a fumble. Freshman Todd Bates, playing in his first game, picked the ball up and ran it to the Arkansas 39-yard line. On first down, Tyler Watts hit Freddie Milons who took it into the end zone and gave Alabama a 24-10 lead.

Alabama completed scoring with a 60-yard interception return by Thurman Ward for a touchdown in the final minute of the game.

Arkansas got on the board first, taking advantage of an Alabama fumble to get a 32-yard field goal.

Alabama took the lead for good with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, Ahmaad Galloway going the final 11 yards for the touchdown and a 7-3 Alabama advantage. Galloway had six carries for 42 yards in the march.

The Tide had only a 14-10 halftime lead as the Razorbacks turned in a nice 12-play, 75-yard drive, scoring a touchdown with just 13 seconds to play before intermission.

In part because of the Alabama defense participating to such a degree in yards and points, Arkansas actually had a statistical advantage. The Razorbacks had 21 first downs to only 11 for Alabama and the Hogs had 86 plays for 315 yards while Bama had only 50 plays for 249 yards. Arkansas had 46 rushes for 106 yards, Alabama 34 rushes for 116. The Razorbacks completed 22 of 40 passes for 209 yards. Tyler Watts did all the passing for Bama and hit nine of 16 for 133 yards. While Arkansas suffered two interceptions (Roberto McBride also had one), Alabama was not intercepted. The Tide did lose two fumbles, including one on the first series of the game that gave Arkansas good field position and a field goal. Both teams were penalized eight times, Arkansas for 66 yards, Alabama for 49. It was one of those games where time of possession had no meaning as the Razorbacks had the football for more than 10 minutes longer than Alabama, 35:28 to 24:32.

Milons had two receptions, including a 39-yard touchdown catch.

Galloway was Bama's leading rusher with 20 carries for 63 yards. Antonio Carter had three receptions for 43 yards, Freddie Milons two catches for 45 yards.

Alabama Head Coach Dennis Franchione said "It was a good win. We had some take-aways, we had some sacks, we got some pressure on the quarterback, and I thought we were physical as the game wore on.

"Offensively we got a rushing touchdown and we got points in the red zone. We were a little hit or miss on offense with a couple of turnovers and a dropped pass."

Although Alabama has gotten a reputation as an option team, the Tide ran only one option play against Arkansas after having used the option only twice in the previous game against Vanderbilt. Franchione said the option would be part of the Alabama multiple offense plan and that some games it would be used more than others. He noted that Alabama opponents have to spend time preparing for the option.

Franchione said that while it was a good victory for his Crimson Tide Saturday, he considers it important that Alabama build on the win and continue to improve.

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