After the penalties largely went away in our thumping of North Texas, unfortunately they were back when the Hogs came to Tuscaloosa to the tune of seven penalties for 60 yards. Let's take a closer look at all of the penalties that occurred, and how they impacted the Tide this past Saturday.
Delay of game penalty on the punt team on a 4th and 5 at the Arkansas 46-yard line. This came at the end of the Tide's first possession when we were lining up to punt. The five yard penalty moved the ball back to the Alabama 49-yard line, but ultimately the penalty turned out to be meaningless. Even after being moved five yards further back, P.J. Fitzgerald's punt still sailed into the end zone, and Arkansas started their ensuing possession on their own 20-yard line.
Pass interference penalty on Javier Arenas on a 3rd and 7 for the Hogs late in the first quarter. This was an incomplete pass and would have forced an Arkansas punt from their own 10-yard line. Instead, it was a close call that went in the Hog's direction, and it gave them new life with a first down at the Arkansas 21. The Tide would get the stop immediately thereafter, but a conversion on a fake punt gave them yet another new life. Arkansas ultimately drove it all the way to the Alabama 30, but Javier Arenas redeemed himself and largely negated the penalty by getting Ryan Mallett on a sack that ended the drive. Arenas called for a fair catch at the Alabama 14-yard line.
False start penalty on Drew Davis on a 2nd and 9 from the Alabama 15-yard line, immediately following the aforementioned stop of Arkansas. This continued a long string of pre-snap penalties on the right side of the offensive line, but ultimately it turned out to be harmless. It created a 2nd and 14, but Mark Ingram picked up the first down on the very next play. Four play later, Trent Richardson went 50+ yards over right end to put the Tide up 7-0.
Block in the back penalty on Cory Reamer during Javier Arenas' punt return with approximately 6:00 remaining in the second quarter. The penalty erased a 13-yard return by Arenas that would have given the ball on the Alabama 43-yard line. With the penalty, 'Bama was moved back to our 33-yard line, and we went three and out after we narrowly avoided an interception on a forced pass by Greg McElroy to Julio Jones on third and four.
Block in the back penalty on Cory Reamer during Javier Arenas' punt return immediately after the preceding block in the back penalty. This one was the really costly one, as it wiped out a very long return by Arenas that would have had Alabama knocking on the Arkansas goal line. The first block in the back on Reamer was a solid call, but this one was a bit more tacky. Reamer barely got into the back of the Arkansas defender, and it was a defender who would have been unlikely to get to Arenas at any rate. At any rate, this penalty ultimately cost the Tide points, and combined with the next penalty, it ended the Tide's chances of making this a three-possession game at halftime.
False start penalty on James Carpenter on a 4th and inches play from the Arkansas 35-yard line. This one was particularly costly, and annoying, because it forced the Tide to punt the football with approximately 90 seconds remaining, and also because Carpenter -- who flinched because of a slight movement by the Arkansas defensive end -- was the last person who should have been jumping. The penalty forced a Tide punt, and Fitzgerald sailed another one into the end zone. Arkansas ran a play straight into the line, thus ending the half, and the Tide went into halftime with a 14-0 lead.
Kick catching interference on Dre Kirkpatrick on the Alabama punt that immediately followed our three and out to start the second half. This one was a clear penalty on Kirkpatrick, and wasn't a controversial call at all. Kirkpatrick did a great job of playing gunner on special teams, but he just got there a split second too soon on this one. The Hogs would have gotten the ball at their own 30, but the penalty gave it to them at their own 45. And it proved fairly costly, too, as five plays later the Hogs scored their only points of the game when Ryan Mallett hit Greg Childs on an 18-yard touchdown pass after Kareem Jackson found himself caught in no-man's land.
All in all, the penalties did return, but thankfully they didn't cost us in this game. Some of the penalties were meaningless, and while a couple of them did legitimately cost us some points, this game was a glorified blowout in which they didn't make any major impact. At most, they probably turned a potential 38-0 game into a 35-7 game, so it was largely a meaningless result one way or the other. Moving forward, though, if some of these penalties occur in a closer game, we might not get so lucky.