Alabama's 30-12 victory over Arkansas was the Tide's first win in Fayetteville since a 13-6 victory in 1996. Alabama has won eight of last nine games, dating back to last season.
Alabama/Arkansas game notes
The win over Arkansas is Alabama's 11th consecutive victory in SEC openers, dating back to a 35-0 loss at Florida on Sept. 14, 1991 in Gainesville. Alabama's current 11-game winning streak, includes 10 wins over Vanderbilt and one against Arkansas.
Redshirt freshman free safety Roman Harper did not make the trip to Arkansas due to a death of his aunt. She was the sister of Harper's mother, Princess Harper. Harper, a native of Prattville, has appeared in all three games for Alabama this season and has 11 tackles and one sack (-7).
Starting quick tackle Wesley Britt was in his usual starting position against Arkansas, but not without a heavy heart. Britt's grandfather, Durb Britt (Holly Pond, Ala.) passed away on Friday after an illness. Mr. Britt was a huge Alabama football fan and the family wanted Wesley to play in tonight's game in memory of his grandfather. Funeral arrangements are not available at this time.
Serving as game captains for the Crimson Tide were Kindal Moorehead (DE, Memphis), Alonzo Ephraim (C, Birmingham), Theo Sanders (W-back, Birmingham) and Jarret Johnson (DT, Chiefland, Fla.)
Alabama redshirt freshman Brodie Croyle made his first career start for the Crimson Tide. Croyle has appeared in three of Alabama's first four games this season, completing seven of 27 passes for 59 yards. In addition, Croyle has 12 rushing attempts for 36 yards and two TDs. Croyle's debut for Alabama came in the second quarter of the Crimson Tide's 37-27 loss at No. 2 Oklahoma on Sept. 7, 2002 in Norman. The following week he scored his first collegiate touchdown in a 33-7 win over North Texas at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
It's ironic that Croyle's first career start takes place here at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Alabama senior quarterback Tyler Watts also made his first career SEC start here against Arkansas on Sept. 23, 2000 in a 28-21 loss. Watts first career start at Alabama came in a 35-14 win over Southern Miss on Oct. 30, 1999 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He replaced the injured Andrew Zow in the Tide's win over USM.
Croyle is the second, second-generation Alabama starter this season this season, joining redshirt sophomore tight end David Cavan. Croyle is the son of former UA defensive end John Croyle (1971-73), who played on three SEC Championship squads and one national championship team under legendary coach Paul Bryant. Cavan, who started the first two games at tight end, is the son of Pete Cavan (1975-77), who played on two SEC Championship teams under Bryant.
Alabama used three first-time starters on offense against the Razorbacks, including Croyle, A-back Shaud Williams and w-back Greg McLain.
Alabama scored on the first-play from scrimmage as A-back Shaud Williams ran 80 yards to give the Crimson Tide a 7-0 lead. Williams' 80-yard TD run is the third-longest rushing attempt by Alabama since 1990. Chris Anderson's school-record 96-yard run against Temple (1991) and Danny Woodson's 85-yard run against Temple (1991) are the only rushing attempts longer than Williams.
The junior A-back posted his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game for Alabama. Tonight against the Hogs, Williams ran 11 times for 119 yards and one TD. In the first half, Williams ran six times for 101 yards and one TD to lead the UA rushing attack. Last week against Southern Mississippi, Williams ran 21 times for 135 yards and one TD to lead the Tide to a 20-7 win.
The Arkansas game marks Williams' second 100-yard game of the season and fifth of his career. Williams had three 100-yard games as a freshman at Texas Tech in 1999.
Junior tailback Santonio Beard also ran for 100 yards in the Arkansas game. The Nashville, Tenn., native ran 21 times for 134 yards for his third career 100-yard game at Alabama. Beard had 199 yards against Auburn and 141 yards against Tennessee last year.
Williams and Beard are the first two Alabama backs to rush for more than 100 yards in the same game since Beard teamed with Ahmaad Galloway in last year's 31-7 win at Auburn. Beard had 199 rushing yards and Galloway added 127 yards in the win over the Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Redshirt sophomore Brian Bostick handled the extra point duties for the Crimson Tide, the first starting assignment of his career. Bostick made his UA debut last week against Southern Miss and successfully kicked two fourth quarter field goals in the Tide's 20-7 win.
With that 80-yard TD run, Alabama has scored on its opening possession in all five games this year. The Crimson Tide has scored touchdowns on its opening possession against Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and Arkansas and added field goals against Oklahoma and North Texas.
Croyle threw his first career touchdown pass on Alabama's second position, completing a 28-yard TD pass to senior Sam Collins to give Alabama a 14-0 lead with 8:15 left in the first quarter. Croyle was 2-for-2 passing for 52 yards on the scoring drive for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama tallied 218 total yards in the first quarter en route to building a 14-0 lead. The Crimson Tide had 147 rushing yards and 71 passing yards in the opening stanza against the Razorbacks tonight. The 218 yards are the most by Alabama in any quarter this season. The previous high was 198 yards (60 rush, 138 pass) in the first quarter against Middle Tennessee (Aug. 31) in the season opener.
Alabama football continues to draw record-setting crowds as tonight's game drew a Donald W. Reynolds/Razorback Stadium record 73,551 fans. In addition, this is the largest crowd ever to witness a sporting event in the state of Arkansas.
Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones' seven-yard touchdown run with 5:25 left in the second quarter was the first touchdown allowed by the Alabama defense since the second quarter of the North Texas game on Sept. 14, a span of eight quarters. The defense did not allow a touchdown in last week's 20-7 over Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles lone TD came on a 54-yard interception return in the third quarter. The rushing TD by North Texas two weeks ago came as a result of an Alabama fumble at its own five-yard line.
Redshirt sophomore Michael Ziifle recorded his first career punt on the Crimson Tide's final possession of the second half. The Newnan, Ga., native had a 31-yard punt on his first career attempt with 15 seconds left in the second quarter.
Junior middle linebacker Derrick Pope recorded his first career interception for Alabama and posted a 61-yard return to give the Crimson Tide a first down at the Arkansas 20-yard line. Pope's intception came one play after Arkansas returned a punt 15 yards to the Alabama 20-yard line after a 25-yard punt by Ziifle.