Alabummer

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Arkansas' players walked to the visitor's locker room, and aside from a few words here and there, they were left speechless.

Running back Darren McFadden had a slight concussion. Cornerback Jerell Norton couldn't believe what he had done. And coach Houston Nutt felt empty.

It might take a few days before the hangover from Saturday's 41-38 loss to Alabama in front of a crowd of 92,138 in Bryant-Denny Stadium wears off. Even then, it could have a lingering effect on the No. 16 Razorbacks.

"I want them to hurt tonight," Nutt said, looking exhausted afterward. "I want them to be sick about it because that's the only way it can be."

Arkansas made up for a dismissal first quarter and erased a 21-point deficit, only to lose when Alabama's Matt Caddell caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from John Parker Wilson with eight seconds left.

The Razorbacks (1-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) had a last chance to drive downfield and get within range for kicker Alex Tejada to attempt a game-winning field goal. But they ran out of time after wide receiver London Crawford made a 22-yard catch and then desperately pitched it to fullback Peyton Hillis.

"I was hoping to just try to get into field-goal range and get out of bounds," Hillis said. "But when I got down on the ground, the clock was already at zero so I couldn't call timeout."

Saturday night's nationally televised game is worthy of being called an Instant Classic.

Alabama gained 188 yards and scored three quick touchdowns in a one-sided first quarter that saw the Crimson Tide (3-0, 2-0) jump out to a 21-0 lead.

But McFadden made a strong case for the Heisman Trophy by single-handedly leading Arkansas back in the second half. He rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns before suffering a concussion that sidelined him when he was needed most at the end.

Without their workhorse, the Razorbacks weren't able to run out the clock and hold on to a late 38-31 lead.

"It was one of those situations where I wanted to go, but at the same time they kept telling me I didn't need to be out there," McFadden said, appearing slightly dazed.

Caddell's 4-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone with eight seconds left helped the Crimson Tide avenge last year's 24-23 double-overtime heartbreaker in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"(We) should have won the ballgame, no question," Nutt said. "They were very fortunate, and (we) made too, too many mistakes."

Early last week, Alabama coach Nick Saban stressed to reporters that he wanted to get his lagging passing game going. Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring didn't buy it, insisting that nothing was wrong with Alabama's passing attack.

Herring was right. Wilson is just fine.

Arkansas' secondary had no way of slowing down the Crimson Tide tandem of Wilson and wide receiver DJ Hall during their 21-point offensive explosion in the first quarter.

Hall routinely ran wide open after beating Norton, and Norton didn't get much help from his safeties.

"It's frustrating knowing that you've got 10 guys on the field that are busting their heads, busting their tails trying to get the job done and you've got one guy giving up the deep ball," Norton said. "And that was me."

Hall scored his first of two touchdowns in the first quarter when he wrestled the football away from Arkansas cornerback Matterral Richardson in the end zone for a nine-yard catch.

Alabama scored touchdowns on three consecutive series in the first quarter, jumping out to a 21-0 lead when Hall beat Norton and caught a 35-yard touchdown strike from Wilson with 1:27 left in the first quarter.

Wilson completed 6-of-9 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, 118 of those yards going to Hall on four catches. Alabama outgained Arkansas 188-48 in total offense in the first quarter.

"You can't get beat deep, (the coaches) preach that over and over again. I got beat deep numerous times," Norton said. "No excuses."

The Razorbacks self-destructed at times in the third quarter, committing several careless mistakes that made it tougher for them to make a second-half comeback.

Crawford, left by himself after making a big catch, fumbled the football without getting touched.

Arkansas defensive tackle Ernest Mitchell was ejected and faces a possible suspension after striking Alabama offensive guard Justin Britt in the face with a helmet with around nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Despite its share of problems, the Razorbacks managed to hang around and not let the Crimson Tide put the game away.

During a span of three series, Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Davie, strong safety Matt Hewitt recovered a Wilson fumble and McFadden scored on a 1-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.

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