Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No. 11 Alabama football outlasts Arkansas for Homecoming win

CW/ Jennifer Stroud
Alabama wide receiver Kobe Prentice (#6) runs the ball for a touchdown against Arkansas on Oct. 14 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Saturday afternoon, the No. 11 ranked Alabama football team earned a 24-21 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks that ended up a little too close for comfort.  

Head coach Nick Saban said his team was playing well until 24-6, about halfway through the third quarter.  

“Hopefully we can learn how to beat the other team, not just win the game, but beat the other team, which means you’ve got to play for 60 minutes, you’ve got to execute, do your job, have discipline,” Saban said. 

In the first half, quarterback Jalen Milroe passed for 215 yards and two touchdowns while also carrying the ball into the endzone himself. In the second half, only three passes were completed for a total of 23 yards.  

It took both teams a couple drives to adjust to the 11 a.m. kickoff time, as both teams went three-and-out on their first drives. 

 A pair of Arkansas field goals in the first quarter eventually woke the stadium up, but those were the only Razorback points of the half. After Arkansas took an early lead, the Crimson Tide scored 21 unanswered points to control the half. 

Alabama eventually found its footing, thanks to Milroe’s first completed pass of the game. The redshirt sophomore from Katy, Texas connected with wide receiver Kobe Prentice for a 79-yard touchdown pass at the end of the 1st quarter, giving the Crimson Tide and fans in attendance a jolt of energy. 

With the extra-point attempt, kicker Will Reichard became the SEC’s all-time points leader.  

“I’m extremely happy for Will,” Saban said. “He has been probably as good a player at his position as anyone we’ve ever had here, and he’s an even better person.” 

A 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Amari Niblack followed by a rushing touchdown from Milroe gave Alabama a solid 21-6 lead going into halftime. 

After the half, Arkansas took the reins. 

Although running back Roydell Williams rushed for 58 yards over four carries, Alabama was forced to settle for a field goal. Those third quarter points would be the final points scored by the Crimson Tide.  

“We played pretty well in the game up to 24-6, which was about halfway through the third quarter, and then we didn’t finish,” Saban said.  

Arkansas responded with a 5-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Isaiah Sategna that was set up by quarterback KJ Jefferson’s 22-yard scramble, the Razorbacks’ longest run of the quarter. The Crimson Tide also gave up two costly penalties on the drive. 

Before this drive, Alabama had just one penalty, on offense. Saban said his team has to cut down on these penalties during crucial moments. 

“We just got to teach and learn from all these things and hopefully realize what it takes, not only in the game, but in the week of preparation leading up to the game, so that you can go out there and play the way you need to play against really good competition,” Saban said.  

The Crimson Tide was unable to answer with a touchdown of its own, punting after Milroe’s fifth sack of the game. Arkansas defensive lineman Landon Jackson was credited with 3.5 sacks on Milroe. 

Milroe has been under duress throughout the season, including a season-high six sacks last week in College Station.

“I just try to do my job, be the point guard of the football, so no matter what happens during that play, I just try to do everything I can for my guys and lean on them,” Milroe said. 

The Arkansas drive started with a 23-yard run from  Jefferson and ended with his pass to running back Rashod Dubinion and a two-point conversion to put Arkansas within a field goal of Alabama.  

Saban only had positive things to say about Jefferson’s performance today, which included escaping the hands of defensive back Terrion Arnold late in the fourth quarter. 

“That quarterback is a handful,” Saban said. “When a quarterback can take a major college football player and sling him off like a gnat on a cow’s ass, that was one of the most impressive plays I’ve ever seen a player make.” 

Again, Alabama couldn’t answer Arkansas’ touchdown drive. Without gaining a single yard, punter James Burnip put the ball back in the Razorbacks’ hands. 

Thankfully for Alabama, the defense held down the fort.

On a crucial third down play, linebacker Dallas Turner and defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe combined to sack Jefferson, forcing the Razorbacks to give the ball away with just over five minutes left.  

“KJ Jefferson is a good quarterback, a very hard quarterback to tackle, a playmaker,” Turner said. “It was very critical to make a play like that, especially at a time like that.” 

From there, Alabama consumed most of the clock after earning a few first downs. This season’s penalty woes crept back up on the Crimson Tide late in the game, however, as the offense was flagged for a false start while in the victory formation. 

That was the fifth penalty called on Alabama Saturday afternoon, a drastic improvement from the 14 called penalties in College Station on Oct. 7.  

At the end of the day, a win’s a win, and this one was Saban’s 200th win as the head coach of the Crimson Tide. 

“When I signed the letter of intent to come to Alabama, all I wanted to do was win for Coach Saban,” Milroe said. “Let’s keep the thing moving.”

The Third Saturday in October is next up for the Crimson Tide, as No. 11 Alabama will host No. 19 Tennessee for the highly anticipated revenge game on Oct. 21. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.  

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