No. 7 Alabama Takes on Run-Friendly Arkansas in Fayetteville
John BensonNo comments
The rollercoaster ride that is playing an SEC schedule caught up to No. 7 Alabama (4-1, 1-1 SEC) last week with an upset loss to Ole Miss. This is familiar territory for Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, who will need his team to be perfect from here on out in order for the Tide to be in contention for the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff.
Saban said, “Look, playing in our league is like climbing a mountain. Every game is a critical game, every game is an important game and every team that you play in our division could beat anybody.
“And there are some very, very good teams in our league, including the one that we’re playing this week. So people make assumptions that just because it’s a certain team that you’ve beat for the last ten years that you’re going to beat them again. I don’t think that’s necessarily true, especially this year, especially the competition that we have.”
This week’s competition is Arkansas (3-2, 0-2 SEC), which will have Razorback Stadium rocking. Still, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema knows the challenge that awaits his team. “I think Alabama is a tough football team coming off a win or a loss. I did the research as well and realized they had not lost two conference games back to back since (Saban’s) first year,” said a realistic Bielema.
Arkansas’ strength is its offense, particularly its ground game. The team is averaging nearly 45 points a game and has potent ground attack led by Alex Collins, who has rushed for 621 yards and six TDs so far this season while averaging over seven yards per carry. The Razorback’s run defense will likely be its downfall, though. In week 1, Arkansas gave up 302 rushing yards to Auburn during a 45-21 loss. The 137 rushing yards they surrendered last week in a 35-28 OT loss to Texas A&M looks better on paper. But the Aggies have a pass-first attack and still managed to cruise past the 100 yard mark on the ground. TJ Yeldon and company may have a field day on Saturday (no pun intended).
Nonetheless, the potent Razorback offense makes the home dog the play this week in Fayetteville.