Alabama Improves Homecoming Record

Alabama is the kind of team that is likely to play in only one homecoming game a year, only 10 a decade, and maybe not more than 100 in a century. Schools want to have a homecoming victory. The Crimson Tide got another one Saturday with its 35-0 win over Arkansas State.

Alabama now has a 74-13-1 record in homecoming games. Bama has a current seven-game winning streak in homecoming games. Alabama now has a 2-0 record vs. Arkansas State. The Tide defeated Arkansas State in Birmingham in 1982 by a 34-7 margin.

With the win over Arkansas State, Alabama has reeled off 10 consecutive wins dating back to last year's win over Colorado in the Independence Bowl. The Crimson Tide's winning streak ties Penn State and Texas Tech for the longest in the nation pending the outcome of Saturday night's game between Texas Tech and Texas. Penn State did not play Saturday. Texas and Utah also had nine straight wins entering Saturday's action, and both teams were to play on Saturday night. The 10-game winning streak is the longest for Alabama since a 12-game winning streak that began at the 1993 Gator Bowl and continued through a loss to Florida in the 1994 Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

This is the 21st time in Alabama football history the Crimson Tide has had a 10-game winning streak. That is an NCAA record for winning streaks of 10 or more games. The last time Bama won 10 in a row was over the 1993-94 seasons when Alabama reached a streak of 12 straight wins. Michigan and Nebraska each have had 16 such streaks. At 14 are Notre Dame, Texas, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and USC. Texas was to play later Saturday with a chance to win its 10th straight game and take over fourth place alone with 15 such streaks.

When Alabama safety Rashad Johnson returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter against Arkansas State Saturday it marked the fourth touchdown of the year for the Alabama defense.

The Tide had interception returns by Javier Arenas and Justin Woodall against Arkansas and a fumble return against Kentucky by Rolando McClain.

Alabama also has a punt return (Arenas) mand a blocked punt return (Chris Rogers) for touchdowns this year. Bama came into the game second in the nation in non-offensive touchdowns with five and now has six.

After completing his final 11 passes in Alabama's 29-9 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville last week, Crimson Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson was within one completion of the Bama record of 12 consecutive completions, set by Andrew Zow against Ole Miss in 2000. Wilson tied the record with his first pass Saturday, a six-yard completion to Mike McCoy. The new record seemed assured when Wilson hit a wide-open Julio Jones on his second attempt of the day, but the usually sure-handed Jones dropped the ball.

Wilson surpassed the 7,000-yard mark in career passing yardage on Saturday afternoon.  Entering the game with 6,911 career passing yards, Wilson passed for 85 yards in the first half to move that total to 6,996 yards at halftime.  Alabama's all-time career passing yards leader, Wilson surpassed the 7,000-yard barrier on a six-yard pass completion to tight end Travis McCall on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.  Wilson finished the day with 152 passing yards for a career total of 7,063 yards.

Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas State, scoring on runs of 5 and 17 yards to give him eight rushing touchdowns this season.  That ties the Alabama record for touchdown runs by a freshman, matching Terry Grant's eight rushing touchdowns in 2007.

Alabama continued its season of first half dominance against Arkansas State Saturday. Alabama had a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, giving Alabama a margin of 108-6 in first quarter play this season. At the half it was 14-0, making it 198-26 cumulative in nine first halves this year.

Alabama has shut out Clemson (13-0), Tulane (13-0), Western Kentucky (17-0), Arkansas (21-0), Georgia (10-0), Kentucky (14-0) and Arkansas State (7-0) in first periods this year.

Alabama was ranked second in the nation going into Saturday's game, the 60th time the Tide has been ranked second in the nation when playing a game. Bama's record when being ranked second in the nation by the Associated Press is now 50-8-2. Alabama has now won 14 c onsecutive games when ranked number two.

It was pointed out following Alabama's win over Ole Miss that it marked the first time in his head coaching career that Nick Saban had ever had a team that was 7-0. When Bama defeated Tennessee last week, it marked the first time Saban had coached a team to 8-0. So guess what? Nick Saban has now coached a team to a 9-0 mark for the first time in his career.

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