Instant analysis: Bama 52, Arkansas 0
September, 15, 2012
By David Helman | ESPN.com
Injury concerns prevented Arkansas from starting senior quarterback Tyler Wilson in Saturday's showdown with No. 1 Alabama. The Razorbacks instead went with freshman Brandon Allen, and against the Crimson Tide's hulking menace of a defense, that matchup went exactly as you'd expect. Alabama rolled to a 24-0 halftime lead and didn't look back in a 52-0 bludgeoning.
Here's the breakdown from the Tide's brutal deboning of the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark.
It was over when: Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri intercepted Allen on the Alabama 20-yard line early in the second quarter, killing what had been a 30-yard Arkansas drive. The Crimson Tide offense needed just six plays to go 67 yards for a touchdown after the interception, and those points gave them an insurmountable 17-0 lead.
Game ball goes to: AJ McCarron didn't have the gaudiest numbers, but he effectively and flawlessly led the Alabama offense with 186 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-16 passing. He decimated the Razorbacks' secondary with key throws when he needed to, and he let the vaunted Bama ground game do the rest to the tune of 225 total rushing yards.
Key stat: Arkansas had 46 yards of total offense at halftime, and its combined first half rushing effort led to a loss of 4 yards. The Hogs finished with just 137 total yards -- 58 on the ground. But they didn't go over the century mark until their final drive of the afternoon.
Game ball part II: The Tide's swarming defense didn't just limit the Razorbacks in yards. Alabama forced five turnovers -- all of which led to Crimson Tide touchdowns -- and teed off on the Arkansas quarterbacks for four sacks.
Unsung hero of the game: No single Alabama back dominated the proceedings, but Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon combined for 25 total carries and 110 combined yards. Lacy powered into the end zone on touchdown runs of 6, 1 and 10 yards, and Yeldon added a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
What it means: The win loses a little bit of luster because Arkansas was without its superstar quarterback, but this was still a Razorbacks team with preseason SEC title aspirations that Alabama systematically dismantled. The Crimson Tide probably have the most impressive résumé of any Top 25 team through three weeks, and have thoroughly earned the praise being thrown their way.
Arkansas now sits at 1-2, and with South Carolina and LSU still on the schedule, the dream of an SEC title seems all but dead. The dream of a possible national championship is a laughable memory. The Hogs have a home date against Rutgers to recover before the conference grind begins again.