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STEPHEN’S REPORT: #7 Alabama vs. Arkansas Preview

Let the wheat and the tear grow together. The Lord will separate them. Alabama now has to pick up the pieces after a heart-breaking 23-17 loss against Mississippi. The Crimson Tide will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to face a much improved Arkansas program.

Arkansas Razorbacks: 3-2, (0-2)

Arkansas is coming off a bye week, but lost to Texas A&M 35-28 in a competitive matchup two weeks ago.

He struggled his first two seasons as a starter, but Brandon Allen finally has it together for the Razorbacks. The junior quarterback is completing 59.8 percent of his passes for 751 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception.

Arkansas pass game is improving, but its foundation starts on the ground. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams are a dynamic duo. Collins is averaging 7.2 yards per carry. He has 621 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 86 carries. Williams is averaging 7.4 yards per carry. He’s recorded 486 rushing yards and eight scores on 66 carries. Collins and Williams are both power backs, but Korliss Marshall is pure speed.  Marshall has 117 yards rushing and a touchdown this season.

Keon Hatcher is Arkansas’ leading receiver. He has 13 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Tight ends Hunter Henry and AJ Derby both are 6’5”, 255 pounds. Derby has eight receptions for 106 yards and two scores. Henry’s collected eight catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Freshman receiver Jared Cornelius has been a pleasant surprise for the Razorbacks. The former three-star prospect has six catches for 88 yards and two scores.

Senior linebacker Martrell Spaight anchors Arkansas’ defense. Spaight has 43 tackles, two pass defended, a pass breakup, an interception and a fumble recovery. Trey Flowers leads all defensive linemen with 26 tackles. He’s also recorded three pass defended, three pass breakups, a sack and a forced fumble. Defensive tackle Darius Philon has collected 18 tackles (5.0 tackles for loss), 1.5 sacks, a pass defended, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. Taiwan Johnson leads Arkansas in sacks with 3.5. Johnson also has 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Alabama Crimson Tide: 4-1, (1-1)

Penalties, turnovers and injuries plagued Alabama in its loss to Mississippi. The Crimson Tide had two turnovers, eight penalties and three injuries.

How will Alabama respond after a loss? Running back T.J. Yeldon addressed the team Saturday in the locker room.

“We aren’t going out like this,” Yeldon said. “Not letting everyone be right about us. From this point on nobody is getting by us. It’s over for them.”

It’s a powerful statement, but it means nothing if the leaders on this team don’t partake in it first.

Blake Sims did some good things against Mississippi, but there were some passes that he could have placed better. He finished 19/31 passing for 228 yards with an interception against the Rebels. Overall, Sims is completing 70.3 percent of his passes for 1,319 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

Yeldon was quiet in production prior to the Ole Miss game, but the junior rushed for 123 yards against the Rebels. Yeldon’s recorded 77 carries for 407 yards and two touchdowns. Derrick Henry didn’t do much against Mississippi, but he is averaging 71.4 rushing yards per game. Henry’s totaled 70 carries for 357 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Amari Cooper anchors Alabama’s receiving corps. He caught nine passes for 91 yards against Mississippi. Cooper has 52 receptions for 746 yards and five scores this season. He is averaging 149.2 receiving yards per game. Christion Jones caught one pass against Ole Miss, but he has 11 receptions for 154 yards this season. Senior receiver DeAndrew White has 12 catches for 121 yards. Tight end O.J. Howard contributed against Mississippi, recording three catches for 81 yards. Howard has five receptions for 103 yards.

Landon Collins anchors the Crimson Tide defensively. He has 38 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. Reggie Ragland leads all linebackers in tackles (28) and has two fumble recoveries, a sack and a pass breakup. Trey DePriest has 23 tackles and a pass breakup. Jonathan Allen leads all defensive linemen in tackles (15) and has one sack. Xzavier Dickson leads the team in sacks with four. He also has 12 tackles (6.5 tackles for loss) and two pass breakups.

Alabama—Arkansas rivalry

Alabama and Arkansas have met 24 times. The Crimson Tide leads the series 17-7. Alabama has outscored Arkansas 104-0 in the past two meetings (52-0 in 2012, 2013).

2006 was the last season Arkansas defeated Alabama. Mitch Mustain was the Razorbacks’ quarterback, Darren McFadden was its running back and Huston Nutt was its head coach. Arkansas won the contest 24-23.

The best teams in college football are the ones that have a short-term memory. It’s always about the next possession, the next play, the next game. Arkansas is a physical football team. Head coach Bret Bielema and company looks to punch Alabama in the mouth early.

Will Alabama be able to rebound? Saturday has the answer to that question.

In the meantime, here is a table that shows how both teams stack up against each other.

Alabama vs. Arkansas 2014 stats
Alabama’s offense Arkansas’s defense Alabama’s defense Arkansas’s offense
37.0 points 25.8 points 15.8 points 44.6 points
240.4 rush yards 139.4 rush yards 64.0 rush yards 316.6 rush yards
12 rushing TDs 5 rushing TDs 1 rushing TD 20 rushing TDs
314.4 pass yards 263.8 pass yards 200.8 pass yards 167.8 pass yards
10 passing TDs 12 passing TDs 5 passing TDs 9 passing TDs
554.6 total yards 403.2 total yards 264.8 total yards 484.4 total yards
57% 3rd down 41% 3rd down 28% 3rd down 49% 3rd down

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