Notes From Tide's Romp Of Razorbacks
Alabama went to Arkansas Saturday and scorched the Razorbacks, 49-14. It was the most points by the Crimson Tide in an SEC game since a 59-28 win over Vanderbilt on September 29, 1990.
It was the most points by Bama in an SEC road contest since a 62-27 win over Ole Miss on October 7, 1989. That game was nothing like Saturday's contest. Against the Rebels in Jackson, Bama fell behind by 21-0 in the first half of the first quarter, then scored 62 unanswered points.
Saturday's 35-point margin of victory over Arkansas equaled that of the Tide's 42-7 win over Mississippi on October 12, 2002.
Alabama continues its two-game road swing that opens the 2008 SEC slate with a trip to third-ranked Georgia next Saturday night (ESPN). Alabama owns an 11-7 edge in the series in Athens and a 35-24-5 lead in the series overall.
Much was made of Alabama going into the Arkansas game leading the nation in rushing defense. That may or may not be the case after the Razorbacks got 92 rushing yards in a losing effort Saturday. The Tide defense did maintain an impressive achievement in that there has been no rushing touchdown against Bama this year. That streak is now 20 quarters as Alabama has opened up with four wins this year and also did not allow a rushing touchdown in the Independence Bowl win over Colorado at the end of last season.
Alabama's defense turned in a monumental goalline defense at the end of the first half against Arkansas to protect that streak. The Razorbacks had first and goal at the Tide one. Two runs failed to gain (actually lost a bit), a pass was incomplete, and a final run try was stuffed by the defensive front.
Alabama junior tailback Glen Coffee's 87-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the fourth longest in Crimson Tide history (tied with Calvin Culliver vs. Virginia Tech in 1973 and Billy Jackson vs. Florida in 1978). The run was the longest rushing scoring play since Shaud Williams opened the 2002 Alabama-Arkansas game in Fayetteville with an 80-yard touchdown run. Coffee finished the game with 10 carries for 162 yards and two touchdowns. It was his best rushing game at Alabama and his second 100-yard rushing game. Last year against Houston he had 121 rushing yards, but it took 30 carries to get it. Coffee averaged about four times the yards per carry against Arkansas (16.2) as he did against Houston (4.0).
The 87-yard touchdown run was Coffee's longest in his Tide career. It was the second consecutive week he set a career long mark. Last week against Western Carolina he had a 51-yard touchdown run.
Coffee went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for his career Saturday. He now has 224 carries for 1,128 yards and six touchdowns.
With the win at Arkansas, Alabama has won 17 consecutive SEC openers, dating back to a 25-8 win over Vanderbilt on September 5, 1992. The Crimson Tide's 17-game winning streak in SEC openers is the longest streak in school history and the longest active streak in the SEC. Alabama won seven consecutive SEC openers from 1969-75 for the previous longest winning streak in school history. Only two other current SEC teams have a winning streak longer than one game in SEC openers. Going into Saturday's games, Florida has won three straight SEC openers, while Kentucky has a two-game winning streak in league openers. LSU, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Georgia have all won their last SEC opener.
Saturday's win over Arkansas improved Alabama t0 49-20-4 in SEC openers dating back to the league's inception in 1933.
Alabama leads the series 11-8 after Saturday's victory at Fayetteville. Alabama improved to 2-5 in seven trips to Fayetteville with Saturday's win the first for the Crimson Tide since a 30-12 triumph in 2002.
Javier Arenas had a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown and Justin Woodall had a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown against Arkansas in the Tide's Saturday victory in Fayetteville. It is the first time in Alabama history the Crimson Tide has scored two touchdowns on interception returns in the same game.
Since 2001, Alabama has had four games in which the Tide scored two defensive touchdowns, the others all including one interception return and one fumble return for touchdowns. The games in which Bama's defense scored two touchdowns prior to Saturday were in 2005 at Mississippi State (Matt Miller 15 fumble and Rudy Griffin 17 interception), in 2003 at Georgia (Charles Jones 30 interception and Juwan Garth 10 fumble), and 2001 against Arkansas (Reggie Myles 42 fumble and Thurman Ward 60 interception).
Arenas' gem was the first Alabama interception return for a touchdown since Jeffrey Dukes took an interception 24 yards for a score against Mississippi State on November 4, 2006, in Tuscaloosa. The interception return for a score is Arenas' fifth touchdown via return in his Alabama career, his first via an interception along with four punt returns for touchdowns. The interception was Arenas' first career theft at Alabama.
Alabama had a 21-0 lead on Arkansas at the end of the first quarter Saturday. In four games this season Alabama has outscored the opposition by a 64-0 margin in the first quarter. It was 13-0 vs. Clemson, 13-0 vs. Tulane and 17-0 vs. Western Kentucky.
Bama led 35-7 at the half. Bama's four-game aggregate halftime score has been 102-20. The 35 points was the most by Alabama since the Tide scored 42 in the first half in a 56-7 win over UTEP in 2001.
Senior Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson didn't have an exceptional day, but he did break the Alabama career record for touchdown passes when he connected with freshman Julio Jones for a 25-yard score in the second quarter. Wilson now has 42, one more than Brodie Croyle (2002-05). Wilson had tied the record with a touchdown pass to Jones last week.
Saturday's win at Arkansas improved Alabama Coach Nick Saban to 5-2 (.714) in his head coaching career against the Razorbacks. Saban was 3-2 against the Hogs at LSU (2000-04), winning in 2001, 2003 and 2004. He is 2-0 against Arkansas at Alabama.
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