Alabama At Arkansas Game Preview: Everything You Need To Know Before Kickoff
No. 7 Alabama (4-1, 1-1 SEC) at Arkansas (3-2, 0-2 SEC)
When: Saturday, Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. CT
Where: D.W.R. Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas
Weather: Cloudy with a high of 56 degrees, winds NE at 11 mph, 70 percent chance of rain. Chance of flash flooding.
TV: CBS (Play-by-play: Joe Tessitore, color analyst: Brock Huard, sideline reporter: Shannon Spake)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Play-by-play: Eli Gold, color analyst: Phil Savage, sideline reporter: Chris Stewart).
Spread: Alabama (8½-9½), according to Danny Sheridan. The Crimson Tide has now been favored in 60 consecutive games, starting with its 2009 BCS National Championship Game victory over Texas.
Last Meeting: The then-No. 1 Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0 for a second straight season in 2013 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Series History: Alabama leads the series, 14-8 (17-7 without including forfeits and vacated victories enforced by the NCAA), including two Sugar Bowl victories in the first two meetings in 1962 and 1980. The Crimson Tide has won seven straight meetings in the series dating back to the 2007 season.
The Crimson Tide fell 23-17 at Ole Miss last week after the Rebels scored two late touchdowns in a come-from-behind win.
When the Rebels took the lead, the Alabama offense still had over two minutes left to regain the lead, but quarterback Blake Sims had a pass intercepted in the end zone with 37 seconds remaining to end the scoring opportunity.
Alabama also had three players go down with injury. (For details, scroll to the bottom of the page.)
The Razorbacks got into a shootout with Texas A&M on Sept. 27 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and lost 35-28 in overtime.
Arkansas held a 28-14 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but let the Aggies score on scoring plays of 86, 59 and 25 – on the first play of overtime – to relinquish its 14-point advantage.
Running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams were dominant, rushing for a combined 226 of the Razorbacks’ 285 yards on the ground. As a team this season, Arkansas ranks seventh nationally with 316.6 rushing yards per game.
Defensively, Arkansas yielded 523 total yards of offense to the high-powered Aggies offense and gives up over 400 yards per game on average.
Keep an eye on:
Brandon Ivory, nose tackle: The senior from Memphis hasn’t had his name called a lot in 2014, but that should change on Saturday. The Razorbacks have a traditional-style offense, consisting primarily of running the ball out of the I-formation – a far cry to the teams Alabama has played so far in 2014. But this week, Ivory will be at the forefront of the Crimson Tide defense that will have its work cut out for it in trying to stop Arkansas’ rushing attack.
T.J. Yeldon, running back: It would seem only fitting for the Crimson Tide to get back to its roots as an offense as well and pound the ball on the ground. With two reserve running backs – Kenyan Drake and Tyren Jones – out with injury, it won’t be surprising to see Yeldon’s workload increase but will he be able to handle it? Not to mention nasty weather in the forecast may limit the Crimson Tide’s ability to pass to some extent.
Alex Collins, running back: Collins will get the bulk of the carries on an Arkansas offense that loves to run the football. Averaging 124.2 yards per game, the sophomore is one of the best in the nation but he has to face as stiff a test as the Crimson Tide’s run defense, which is the third-best in the country.
Martrell Spaight, linebacker: The senior linebacker is the focal point of the Arkansas defense with a team-leading 43 tackles and one interception that will have its hands full against an Alabama offense averaging over 550 yards per game.
- The Crimson Tide lost three key players – running back Kenyan Drake, outside linebacker Denzel Devall and center Ryan Kelly – in its loss at Ole Miss last week.
- Drake (leg) is out for the season after suffering a gruesome leg injury in the Crimson Tide’s loss at Ole Miss last week. Saban said on Monday that Drake’s injury will take eight to 10 weeks to heal. Sophomore Altee Tenpenny has moved up to No. 3 on the depth chart to fill the void of the injured Drake and
- Devall (ankle) had surgery for a high ankle sprain that will force him to miss three to four weeks.
- Kelly (knee) is out for “at least a couple weeks” with a sprained knee.
- Running back Tyren Jones (finger) will likely also be out due to a torn tendon in his finger. Saban announced the injury during the bye week and said that Jones will “probably” be out for several weeks. He wore a black, non-contact jersey with a cast on his left hand in practice this week. Sophomore Altee Tenpenny has moved up to No. 3 on the depth chart to fill the void of the injured Jones and Drake.
- Backup offensive lineman Grant Hill (illness) is doubtful. Hill has missed the last two weeks of practice due to illness.
- Freshman linebacker Randy Ramsey (ankle) is questionable.
- Freshman wide receiver JoJo Robinson (foot) is out indefinitely. Robinson attended the same high school (Miami Northwestern) as Alabama’s Amari Cooper.