Tide Wins Third In Row Over Hogs
Alabama now has a 12-8 lead in the series against Arkansas.
Wide receiver Julio Jones, who had been out all of the last game and three quarters of the previous game, was back in the starting lineup for Alabama. Tailback Roy Upchurch, who had been sidelined an equal amount of time, played early in the game. Jones was the recipient of a pass on a 50-yard razzle dazzle play in the second quarter. It was Jones's first touchdown reception since Alabama's win at Georgia on September 27, 2008. Upchurch did not have a running play, but caught three passes for 30 yards.
Sophomore receiver Marquis Maze took a Greg McElroy pass for an 80-yard touchdown play, a career long pass catch for Maze and a career long pass for McElroy, giving Alabama a 21-7 lead in the third quarter. The play ties for the sixth-longest touchdown pass in Alabama history. The Alabama record for longest touchdown pass was Freddie Kitches to Michael Vaughn against Florida in 1996.
Alabama's first three toucdhdowns against Arkansas came on plays of 50 yards or longer – a 52-yard run by Trent Richardson, a 50-yard pass from Greg McElroy to Julio Jones, and an 80-yard pass from McElroy to Marquis Maze. Those plays accounted for 182 of Alabama's 287 total yards through the midway point of the third quarter.
The Alabama defense used a variety of schemes to pressure Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett and the plan yielded three quarterback sacks for 28 yards and eight tackles for losses (54 yards) and six quarterback hurries. Alabama had 10 sacks in the first three games (five each against Virginia Tech and Florida International, but none against North Texas) and now has 13, half the total of 26 Bama had in 14 games last year.
Junior cornerback Javier Arenas had two quarterback sacks for 21 yards in losses, both in the first half. It was Arenas's first multi-sack game at Alabama. His first three tackles of the game were for losses totaling 25 yards.
Junior quarterback Greg McElroy achieved a single game best against Arkansas by passing for 291 yards (17-24, three touchdowns, no interception). McElroy has now gone 81 pass attempts without an interception. He has completed 63 of 93 (67.7 per cent) of his passes for 938 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception this year. He has won his last 20 games as starting quarterback, 16 as a high school senior and four at Bama.
With the win over Arkansas, Alabama has posted a 50-20-4 record in Southeastern Conference openers dating back to the league's inception in 1933. The Crimson Tide has won 18 consecutive SEC openers since losing to Florida in Gainesville in 1991. The winning streak, longest active by any SEC team, began with a 25-8 wikn over Vanderbilt on September 5, 1992. The 18-game winning streak includes 12 over the Commodores, two against Arkansas, and one each against Kentucky, Ole Miss, and South Carolina.
Walk-on Kyle Pennington was in on Alabama's kickoff coverage team after Trent Richardson's 52-yard second quarter touchdown. Pennington is Richardson's back-up on the kickoff coverage team and went in to give Richardson a breather.
Captains for Alabama were offensive guard Mike Johnson, linebacker Rolando McClain, and running back Terry Grant.
There may have been a halftime first at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. The 1979 national championship Crimson Tide football team was introduced, followed by last year's Bama gymnastics team, which received rings for winning the Southeastern Conference championship. A member of the 1979 team on the field was quarterback Steadman Shealy. A member of the gymnastics team on the field receiving her ring was Shealy's daughter, Katherine.
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