No. 2 Alabama runs away in fourth quarter against No. 20 Arkansas in Fayetteville


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs (1) dashes down the field in the Crimson Tide’s 49-26 victory against the No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks on Oct. 1 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.

Austin Hannon | @austin_hannon1, Sports Editor

“It stopped the bleeding for sure,” head coach Nick Saban said. “It was third and long in bad field position. That was a huge momentum swing in the game. After that, we played better. After that, I don’t think they played as well.” 

With 14:51 left in the game, there was an upset brewing for No. 2 Alabama. Quarterback Bryce Young was on the sideline with a shoulder injury. Arkansas had scored 23 unanswered points, cutting the Crimson Tide lead to just five. Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Milroe was in as tough of a position as possible on 3rd and 15. 

It was another story of a backup quarterback saving the day for the Crimson Tide.  

Milroe stepped up in the pocket and took off, racing for 77 yards down the field at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. 

“Looking at the chains, seeing what’s the best thing I can do for the team — I was able to use my legs,” Milroe said. “It all came down to the offense as a whole. It was a big time in the game.” 

That play along with several others preserved the Crimson Tide’s undefeated season, moving Alabama to 5-0 after a 49-26 win over the 20th-ranked Razorbacks in Fayetteville — the 16th straight victory for the Crimson Tide over Arkansas, dating back to 2006. 

“We didn’t maintain our intensity [for 60 minutes],” Saban said. “[But] we did a really good job in the fourth quarter finishing the game. There’s a lot to learn, but it’s an SEC road game against a good team.” 

After leading the Crimson Tide out to a 28-0 lead, Young was thrown down by who other than former Alabama linebacker Drew Sanders, injuring his shoulder. In just two-plus quarters, Young finished 7-for-13 with 173 yards and two total touchdowns. 

He has been diagnosed with a sprained shoulder, and it isn’t considered serious. 

“Bryce has a little AC sprain in his shoulder,” Saban said. “We’ll have to take it day-to-day. He doesn’t have a serious injury. [Usually] in a few days it starts to respond well.” 

After Young was ruled out, the passing game evaporated. But the Crimson Tide got just what it needed — a blessing in disguise. 

After struggling to form any consistent success in the running game this season, Alabama ran the ball hard against the 26th-ranked Arkansas rush defense. By the end of it all, the Crimson Tide piled up 317 rushing yards — including a career-high 206 from Jahmyr Gibbs and 91 from Milroe. Gibbs ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns on two plays in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice late. 

“We were running the ball hard,” Gibbs said. “I’m really proud of the overall team. We talk about adversity — and we overcame it.” 

Penalties were an issue again for Alabama, which racked up 10 flags for 101 yards. 

Finishing in the fourth quarter has been the motto of the Alabama football program ever since Nick Saban arrived. All offseason, the Crimson Tide coaching staff and players have promised to fix their play down the stretch after losing the 2022 CFP National Championship in the fourth quarter. 

Alabama won the fourth quarter Saturday, outscoring the Razorbacks 21-3. 

“We talk about winning in the fourth quarter every day,” Gibbs said. “So that’s what we did.” 

The Crimson Tide is now through with one of a tough three-game stretch against top-25 teams. Alabama will visit Tennessee in Knoxville in two weeks’ time. 

But next is maybe the most highly anticipated game of the entire season — a rematch with the Texas A&M Aggies, who defeated the Crimson Tide in College Station last season. To go along with it, Saban and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher had quite the feud this offseason regarding NIL and recruiting. Fisher called Saban “despicable” several times and alluded that it is a widely known fact that his former superior is a cheater. 

After losing their second game of the season to Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon, the Aggies may be in for a world of hurt. 

Kickoff against Texas A&M is set for Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. CT on CBS.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]