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Alabama football: SEC West foe down a running back

Nelson Chenault - USA TODAY Sports

The state of Arkansas was split in half upon the hire of Bret Bielema on Dec. 4, 2012, yet he found a way to bring the Razorbacks success last season with shutout wins over LSU and Ole Miss. Arkansas rebounded with a 7-6 record in 2014, after a dismal 3-9 mark in 2013.

Three things almost led to an upset victory for Arkansas over Alabama last season: horrid weather conditions, inconsistency on offense (Alabama) and running back Jonathan Williams.

Williams, 6-foot-1, 223 pounds, had the second-highest individual rushing performance against the Crimson Tide, totaling 83 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries last season. The senior is half of the 1,000-yard rushing duo returning for Arkansas (Alex Collins, 1,100 rushing yards).

Williams recorded 1,190 yards and 12 touchdowns on 5.6 yards per carry last year, but will miss an “extended period” of time this season due to a foot injury. The incident occurred in Saturday’s scrimmage game. Williams was named preseason second-team, All-SEC running back in July. He is on the Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award preseason watch lists.

Alex Collins and Kody Walker are both talented. Collins is a proven ball carrier and Arkansas fans have hyped up Walker; however, Williams is the most complete back on the roster.

He is expected to have surgery and make a full recovery.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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