NCAA Game Summary - Alabama at Arkansas|
(Saturday, September 25th)
Final Score: (1) Alabama 24, (10) Arkansas 20
Fayetteville, AR (Sports Network) - Mark Ingram ran for 157 yards and two
touchdowns, including the game-winner with 3:18 left, as top-ranked Alabama
rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to stun 10th-ranked Arkansas,
24-20, at Razorback Stadium.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner Ingram teamed up with Trent Richardson, who
gained 85 yards on eight carries, to help defending champion Alabama (4-0, 1-0
SEC) remain unbeaten in its last 28 regular season games after scoring 17
unanswered points. Greg McElroy also stayed undefeated in his collegiate
career after throwing for 194 yards and a touchdown on 18-of-26 passing.
McElroy, who is 18-0 as a starter, was also picked off twice.
Richardson also added a receiving touchdown, while Julio Jones had five
catches for 55 yards. The Crimson Tide, who have beaten the Razorbacks four
straight times, won their eighth straight game against AP Top 25 opponents.
"We told the players when we came here we were going to have to change the way
everybody thought," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "We were going to have
to go out there and work and earn it and it would take a tremendous amount of
intensity and enthusiasm and energy to do that, and we did not have that in
the first half. That was really not a good half of football, and I really
don't want the players to put it behind them. I want them to remember what
it's like to not play the way you're capable of playing."
Ryan Mallett threw for 357 yards and a touchdown on 25-of-38 passing, but was
intercepted three times for Arkansas (3-1, 1-1), which fell to 4-12 all-time
against the top-ranked team in the nation. Jarius Wright was Mallett's main
target, catching six passes for 131 yards, while Ronnie Wingo hauled in a
"We really took advantage of them in some ways, and in some ways we just
didn't execute," Mallett said. "We started off really good. We just came out
in the second half and forgot to finish. We should've finished that game out
and had a win right now."
After Alabama trimmed its deficit to three with six minutes left, the
Razorbacks looked to go on a game-clinching drive. However, a critical error
gave the Crimson Tide new life.
On 3rd-and-11 from the Arkansas 19, Mallett threw his second interception, as
Robert Lester came up with the critical pick -- his second of the game -- and
returned it 33 yards to the 12-yard line. The Crimson Tide put it in the hands
of Ingram three straight plays, with the last play getting into the end zone
from one yard out for a 24-20 Alabama advantage with 3:18 to play.
"We have practiced that play a thousand times in practice, and so I was ready
for it," Lester said. "It is great if you get two interceptions on a
quarterback like Mallett."
Mallett, who engineered a game-winning drive last week to beat Georgia in
Athens, tried to duplicate the feat in this contest. He looked good early,
completing passes of 10 and 19 yards to Wright and Joe Adams, respectively. He
took the Razorbacks near midfield before Dre Kirkpatrick made a sideline
interception to give the Crimson Tide possession with under two minutes.
Alabama nearly made a colossal error in the final moments. Trying to run the
clock out, the Tide faced 4th-and-inches from their own 44 with just under a
minute to play. Instead of punting it away -- Arkansas had zero timeouts
remaining -- they elected to go for it, and McElroy got just enough push on a
quarterback sneak to gain the first down, sealing the outcome.
Arkansas started the game with the ball and got off to the perfect start.
On the first play from scrimmage, Mallett found Wright on the right sideline,
and he scampered through space 31 yards to the Alabama 43. On the following
snap, Mallett hit a wide-open Wingo at about the 20 near the left sideline,
and Wingo made one defender miss to get into the end zone for a 7-0 lead 50
seconds into the game.
Alabama punted on its first possession, but used a big play on its second
touch to even the score. On first down from the Crimson Tide 46, Ingram broke
through the right side of the defense and snuck inside the right pylon,
avoiding several would-be tacklers en route to the 54-yard score.
Arkansas, though, answered right away with Zach Hocker's 31-yard field goal to
grab a 10-7 lead in the final moments of the opening quarter.
Each team came up with a big defensive play in the second quarter.
Consecutive completions of 43 yards and 31 yards from Mallett to Wright and
Greg Childs, respectively, put Arkansas on the Alabama six-yard line. On 3rd-
and-goal, Lester came up with an interception in the back of the end zone to
maintain the Tide's three-point deficit.
McElroy followed by leading Alabama on a drive that got inside the Razorbacks'
10-yard line, but Andru Stewart came up with a pick in the end zone that
prevented the visitors from taking the lead. On the Crimson Tide's following
drive, McElroy thought he had a wide-open receiver down the right sideline,
but Arkansas' Rudell Crim came in at the last second to intercept the pass.
With just under two minutes left, Mallett engineered a productive drive, which
ended with the quarterback's one-yard plunge into the end zone for a 17-7
Alabama's offense sputtered coming out of halftime, gaining one first down
before being forced to punt. Arkansas, on the other hand, was effective right
away, getting inside the red zone before settling for Hocker's 48-yard field
goal with five minutes left the third quarter.
The top team in the nation was finally able to respond with a quick 74-yard
drive that took less than five minutes. McElroy ended it with a short pass to
Richardson, who took it in from the Arkansas 20-yard line for a 20-14 contest
with under a minute until the fourth.
The Crimson Tide took the ball downfield again on their next drive, but had to
settle for a 36-yard field goal from Jeremy Shelley with 6:01 to play, cutting
the deficit to three.
This was the first time two top-10 teams faced off at Razorback Stadium since
1979...Alabama leads the all-time series, 11-8...The Crimson Tide have a tough
road ahead, as they face Florida and South Carolina in the next two
weeks...Arkansas faced the top-ranked team for the fourth consecutive
season...Both teams had 421 total yards of offense...Arkansas's leading rusher
was Knile Davis with 42 yards. Alabama has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 38
consecutive games, since Ole Miss' BenJarvuus Green-Ellis did it on October
09/25 21:08:13 ET