Roll they did – emphatically.
Alabama tailback Trent Richardson racked up 235 all-purpose yards as the No. 3 Crimson Tide left little doubt in its SEC West showdown with No. 14 Arkansas by throttling the Razorbacks 38-14 before 101,821 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"They beat us," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino understated. "They beat us in all three phases of the game. In the first half, I thought our defense did a great job of keeping us in the game with the goal line stand.
"That gave us a chance to come out in the second half and do something offensively, but we just couldn't do it," Petrino added. "They made big plays and we didn't."
The Crimson Tide scored on a fake field goal, returned an interception for a score, Richardson took a 61-yard screen pass to the house and they also bulled in a couple of times via their vaunted rushing game.
Arkansas had just 226 yards total offense, including a paltry 17 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Ronnie Wingo had 11 carries for 35 yards, but the rest of the rushers combined to lose 18 yards.
Conversely, Alabama rolled up 197 of its 397 yards via the ground with Richardson having 17 carries for 126 yards and back-up Eddie Lacey 13 for 61.
"It was a great team win," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "When I say team win, I'm talking about all the players, all the fans, all the people in the organization who contribute to the success of this team in every way.
"The atmosphere was great," Saban added. "I think it affected their offense a little bit. We did a great job on special teams today. We came up with two big plays that both turned out to be scores. I'm really proud of the way we played on defense."
Not being able to get anything going via the rush allowed Alabama's defenders to tee off on Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson.
Wilson – who absorbed a ton of hits during the game before sitting out the fourth quarter – was 22-of-35 for 185 yards with a touchdown and the pick six.
"You'd like to be able to run the football and we'd like to work on that," Wilson said. "But we also have to be able to throw the ball better than we did today. I think there was a lot left on the field."
The Arkansas loss and Texas A&M's 30-29 home loss to Oklahoma State takes some luster off of next week's Southwest Classic in Arlington, Texas.
The game time the match-up between the Razorbacks (3-1) and Aggies (3-1) will be announced on Sunday, but will now be at either 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m.
How will Arkansas bounce back?
"It depends on the maturity of the football team and the leadership within the team," Wilson said. "Preparing this next week to go after Texas A&M and to get a win there will be crucial."
Arkansas appear to have forced Alabama to settle for a field goal on its opening drive, but the Tide pulled out some trickery.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron, who is also the holder, stood up and tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Williams.
McCarron, who was 15 of 20 for 200 yards passing, simply took the snap and found his man on a play that Alabama finally got around to using.
"It gave us a spark, but we've worked on that for about two years now," Williams said. "We just happened to bring it into the game plan this weekend. It worked out perfect."
Williams found himself matched up with defensive lineman D.D. Jones, who had just replaced the injured Tenarius Wright - who was lost for the rest of the afternoon.
Arkansas tied it up late in the first quarter when Dennis Johnson caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wilson.
That scoring toss and Zach Hocker's PAT deadlocked it 7-7 with 1:18 left in the opening quarter.
It appeared as if the Razorbacks might be gaining even more momentum when they stopped Alabama three straight times from the 1 yard line.
Although Cade Foster's 20-yard field goal gave the Tide a 10-7 advantage, it was clear that it was a win for the Arkansas defense.
"I can't say enough about the way the defense stepped up there," Petrino said.
But less than a minute later, all the momentum was clearly back with the home team.
Dequan Menzie tipped a Wilson pass in the air to himself and raced the final 25 yards for a score.
Menzie's pick six made it 17-7 with 4:38 left in the opening half.
"I don't think it changed the momentum," Petrino said. "It just puts you seven points behind. We went into halftime 17-7 coming off that goal-line stand. It was up to us to go out in the second half and score, but we couldn't do it."
Wilson not only suffered the indignation of the pick, but was belted by Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw after he return.
It was one of a number of shots to the head or chest that he took in the game.
"He got hit a lot," Petrino said. "He had a real nice series there in the first quarter. He stood in there and executed well. He made some good plays, but we didn't give him a lot of help with protection."
It stayed 17-7 through halftime and into the third quarter until Marquis Maze's extraordinary punt return.
Maze changed directions three different times on the return en route to an 83-yard punt return – just the 10th longest in Alabama history.
His fantastic play – riddled with missed Arkansas tackles – surged Alabama ahead 24-7 less than four minutes into the second half.
"I thought we got pretty good hang time," Petrino said. "We definitely had guys down the field. When we watch the video we will see four or five missed tackles. It was just a great play by him."
It grew to 31-7 when freshman defensive end Trey Flower just missed an interception that ended up settling into Richardson's hands.
He raced 61 yards for a score with 9:57 showing.
Arkansas cut it to 31-14 when Cobi Hamilton made a sensational 19-yard touchdown catch as Wilson delivered the ball just before being belted.
"They have a really good offense, a team that is really hard to defend," Saban said. "They have really good receivers. We made mistakes, they made plays."
The Crimson Tide capped the scoring on a 4-yard scoring run by Eddie Lacey with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
The loss left the Razorbacks shell-shocked after expecting to come down and win a close game at the end.
"All 11 guys have to do their job," wideout Jarius Wright said. "The offensive line does its job, the quarterback does his job, running backs and receivers do their jobs. If all 11 guys don't do their job on each play, it is going to be like it was out there tonight."
It was billed as a match-up of the league's best offense against the league's best defense, which clearly won the battle.
"We set out to establish that we were going against the best offense in the SEC and people were labeling us as the best defense," Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower said, "so we wanted to go out and show people what we were capable of with all cylinders turning."
Dennis Johnson heads into the end zone with Arkansas' first touchdown.
Alabama's Trent Richardson steps on Arkansas linebacker Jerry Franklin while being hauled down by Razorback Jerico Nelson.
Julian Horton is clobbered after catching a short pass.
Joe Adams looks for running room.
Arkansas linebacker Jerry Franklin and defensive lineman D.D. Jones converge on Richardson.