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The Jumbo Package | 9.16.12


Alabama buries another victim, vows to kills again - Sunday Morning Quarterback

The gloomy weather made for an appropriately funereal environment. As usual, Alabama is so consistent in its dominance that it's difficult to find anything new to add to the standard "Alabama is Alabama" response, except that in today's massacre it was only more so. Pick a stat, any stat. Total yards: Alabama 438, Arkansas 137. Turnovers: Alabama zero, Arkansas five, plus the early punt gaffe. Third downs: Alabama converted 55 percent, Arkansas 21 percent. Yards per carry: Alabama averaged 5.0, Arkansas averaged 1.6. The 52-point margin of victory was the Crimson Tide's largest in an SEC game in Nick Saban's six-year tenure. It was Arkansas' widest margin of defeat since another top-ranked juggernaut, USC, incinerated the Razorbacks by a final of 70-13 in 2005. It was Alabama's second consecutive shutout against an SEC opponent (hi, LSU!), and its third straight SEC game in which it held the opposing team without an offensive touchdown. Since last year's win over Arkansas in Tuscaloosa, SEC offenses have scored three touchdowns against Alabama's defense in 36 quarters.

'I think we started making our identity,' says Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard (video) |

"Whenever you affect the quarterback, it's always going to lead to mistakes on the offensive side," Hubbard said. "We just executed our plays and did our best." Hubbard and the rest of Alabama's defense made life miserable for Arkansas quarterbacks Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell. The Crimson Tide finished with four sacks, five turnovers and limited a unit many figured would be one of the best in the SEC to 137 yards of total offense. On the season, Alabama has forced 12 turnovers while surrendering just one. "I think we started making our identity today," Hubbard said. "We're a physical team and that's what we want to make everyone think we are."

Bobby, Er, Paul Petrino Doesn't Give A Flip What You Think About The Alabama Game - Arkansas Expats

It was apparent from the first play on Frank Broyles Field that the Arkansas game plan was to punt and hope that Alabama would muff enough of them that the Hogs might luck into enough points to make the score halfway respectable. Of course, the Crimson Tide made no such mistakes (or at least the mistakes weren't replay reviewable) while the Razorbacks quickly showed that they could not even punt the football without shooting themselves in the foot. Think about that. The plan was to punt, and the Hogs couldn't even pull that off. So, I left. I left Razorback Stadium with four minutes remaining in the second quarter. As a fan, somebody who saves throughout the calendar year to spend seven or eight Saturdays a season cheering for my team and relishing in the pageantry of the greatest sport on earth, I had to remove myself from the situation because I could not watch anymore. Not there, sitting in the rain, listening to The Million Dollar Band celebrate with fanfare each Alabama accomplishment, which always seemed to coincide with yet another Razorback miscue. It truly seemed that each successive Crimson Tide score drove yet another nail not just into the game, but into the coffin of the entire Razorback program.

'Bama routs Arkansas in SEC opener -

Eddie Lacy scored three rushing touchdowns, AJ McCarron added another score through the air and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide opened SEC play with a 52-0 road win over the reeling Arkansas Razorbacks. The game was supposed to be one of college football's early marquee matchups this season, but the defending national champions faced a Razorbacks team coming off a stunning upset and without its starting quarterback. McCarron completed 11-of-16 passes and finished with 189 yards for Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC), while Lacy carried the ball 12 times for 55 yards. "I think they started the game a bit average today. But as we got into the game, I was really pleased with the way we played, especially offensively," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Rock Bottom-er: Shut Out At Home - Arkansas Expats

By any statistical measure, Saturday's defeat was a mismatch, the worst performance by an Arkansas football team that I have ever evaluated over a 30-year span. The only thing that Arkansas did half-well was run the football. This excludes the bad punt snap (which counts in conventional stats as negative rushing yards) and four sacks (which are really attempted pass plays). Against the Tide, fewer than four in 10 pass plays had favorable outcomes. Without Tyler Wilson at quarterback, the Arkansas passing game has been a disaster for exactly 1.5 games. The combined numbers over that span: 17-45 (38%) completion, 1 TD/ 3 INT, 164 yards (3.6 yards per throw), plus five sacks. The offense looked exactly like what you'd expect from a team that spent a week planning for three different quarterbacks, one who couldn't even play. Nobody was ready. And the idea of putting in some brand-new plays for Brandon Mitchell...sheer desperation.

Alabama 52, Arkansas 0: Hiding In The Closet And Screaming - Arkansas Expats

One of the more curious aspects of the game was the weird use of quarterbacks. Instead of alternating Brandon Mitchell and Brandon Allen by drive or by quarters, they were frequently switched on varying plays. And almost every Mitchell play was a run. It almost felt like coaches were making up the offensive game plan on the spot, not allowing for any rhythm whatsoever. Like they were playing video games. It's the first time Arkansas has been shut out in Fayetteville since 1966. The question now is, do you have any confidence in the season? What are expectations now? How different can/will it be when Tyler Wilson returns? How does Jeff Long react to the L. experiment? Can Arkansas respond with a victory over Rutgers next week? Still a lot of questions to be answered. - UA NOTEBOOK: Wilson has harsh words for teammates

With a 38-0 lead, the UA coaching staff opted to end starter AJ McCarron's day more than a quarter early, alternating Ely and Sims beginning with the Crimson Tide's last offensive series of the third quarter. Each also got a little playing time with the first-team offense around him, something Saban said he hoped for the chance to do. "All these guys want to play, they work hard, they deserve to play. We love to get them to play," Saban said. "We wanted to get an opportunity for the other quarterbacks to have a chance to play with the first line and the first receivers in case they ever have to do that, if something happened to AJ." - Williams, Milliner return, help Tide to another shutout

Without Jesse Williams and Dee Milliner, the University of Alabama shut out a plucky Western Kentucky team. With both starters back in the lineup Saturday, the Crimson Tide shut down a previously explosive Arkansas offense and kept the Razorbacks from breaching the scoreboard in a 52-0 beatdown. Alabama, which allowed two touchdowns to Michigan in its season opener, hasn't allowed another score in nine straight quarters of play. Alabama also added to its collection of turnovers, intercepting two passes and recovering three fumbles. Milliner, UA's only returning starter at cornerback, had a breakout game against Michigan with four pass breakups and an interception. He didn't quite have the same dominating performance against Arkansas, but he did break up a trick-play pass that seemed destined for a long gain. The Crimson Tide held Arkansas to just 79 passing yards on 25 attempts and produced four sacks. "I feel that we're the greatest defense in the SEC, that if we come out and compete the game plan like we're supposed to we'll be fine," he said. - HURT: The big opponent Tide has to worry about is itself

Tyler Wilson doesn't play defense. He doesn't snap on punts, or block for himself. So it is debatable, at best, as to whether Arkansas would have had any chance at all with Wilson playing quarterback against Alabama on Saturday. He would have helped, certainly, had he been able to hang in for four quarters. Big-time quarterbacks can make a huge difference for teams that otherwise would struggle to stand a chance in the Southeastern Conference. See Eli Manning at Ole Miss, for instance. But 52 points is a lot of difference to make. There was one thing, however, that stood no chance at all in this game - gamesmanship. All week long, Arkansas played coy about Wilson's status, but in the end it seemed to have only one effect. It sent a message to both of the available Arkansas quarterbacks, Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell, that neither one would scare Alabama nearly as much as a feeble hint that Wilson might play. On Alabama, it had no effect at all. - Bama defense passes the test

Whatever youthful mistakes might be there for the exposing in the Alabama secondary, Wilson playing at home figured to be similar to the test a young 2010 Alabama secondary took against former Arkansas standout quarterback Ryan Mallett in the same stadium. That was a test Mallett passed for three quarters before two late interceptions got the Crimson Tide's new cover men out of Fayetteville with their skins intact. The Brandon Allen-Brandon Mitchell combination Alabama faced Saturday wasn't nearly a Mallett-like threat from a pure passing standpoint. But that doesn't mean there weren't some valuable new experiences and lessons learned Saturday in the Alabama defensive backfield.

Inside the Alabama Crimson Tide | The Montgomery Advertiser

THUMBS DOWN The penalty yards. That subject had head coach Nick Saban worked up afterward. He emphasized that 69 penalty yards can kill a team in a closer game. Three of those penalties resulted in first downs for Arkansas. Also, Saban said the pass protection needs work, although that’s difficult to see. Alabama didn’t allow a sack and its quarterbacks completed 14 of 20 passes for 213 yards.

Quick Hits: Alabama 52, Arkansas 0 -

When Alabama Won: Like almost every other game the Crimson Tide will play this year, this one was more or less decided in February of 2009, 2010 and 2011, when Alabama signed the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation all three years. The talent gap shows, especially along the line of scrimmage, and it is demoralizing. Once the Tide took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, there were very few people in the stadium or watching or television who thought Arkansas had a chance to score twice without its starting quarterback, probably including most of Arkansas' sideline.

Arkansas falls at home to No. 1 Alabama |

As for Alabama's defense, Vinnie Sunseri and Haha Clinton-Dix intercepted quarterback Brandon Allen. Allen filled in at quarterback for the Razorbacks as Tyler Wilson sat out the game due to a head injury in last week's loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas had just 44 yards of total offense at halftime and 137 for the game. Brandon Allen finished with 60 yards passing and Brandon Mitchell, who took a few snaps at QB, finished with 19 yards passing.

Alabama Crimson Tide report card | The Montgomery Advertiser

Cade Foster had five touchbacks, equaling the total by the Tide in 2011. On the one kick Arkansas returned, Tana Patrick hit Dennis Johnson to cause a fumble, and Foster recovered to set up a touchdown. Alabama wasn’t particularly impressive on punt returns or punting but converted in every other aspect of special teams and kept the Razorbacks from getting anything started in that category.

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide crushes Arkansas Razorbacks 52-0 to open SEC play - NY Daily News

The Razorbacks, who led the SEC in scoring and total offense last season, tried a little bit of everything to hold their own against the Alabama defense. They used both redshirt freshman Brandon Allen and junior Brandon Mitchell at quarterback, mixed in some option and attempted an early lateral and throwback pass. Nothing worked against a Crimson Tide, which extended its shutout streak to nine quarters in the win. The loss was Arkansas' first in Razorback Stadium since a fourth-quarter lead slipped away against Alabama two years ago, and it was the first time the school had been shut out since a 28-0 loss to LSU in 1995. The 137 yards of total offense was its worst since a 139-yard effort in a 31-3 loss to Georgia in the 2002 SEC championship game. Arkansas, which has led the SEC in passing offense the last three seasons, was held to just 79 yards through the air by Alabama. Allen was 10 of 18 passing for 60 yards, while Mitchell was 1 of 7 passing for 19 yards.

No. 1 Crimson Tide rolls all over Arkansas - College football- NBC Sports

"We told our players that their quarterback situation was not our problem, it was theirs," Saban said. "And regardless of who played that we would have to play well if Tyler (Wilson) played, and we got ready for all the things that they did."

Tide rolls over Brandon Allen, Arkansas - SEC - ESPN

The win loses a little bit of luster because Arkansas was without its superstar quarterback, but this was still a Razorbacks team with preseason SEC title aspirations that Alabama systematically dismantled. The Crimson Tide probably have the most impressive résumé of any Top 25 team through three weeks, and have thoroughly earned the praise being thrown their way. Arkansas now sits at 1-2, and with South Carolina and LSU still on the schedule, the dream of an SEC title seems all but dead. The dream of a possible national championship is a laughable memory. The Hogs have a home date against Rutgers to recover before the conference grind begins again.

Alabama Blows Out Arkansas in SEC Matchup -

"I really don’t know what to say; I didn’t know what to say to our team as well," Smith said. "It’s kind of hard to say anything at this point." Arkansas had trouble with even the simplest of chores. On their second possession, the Razorbacks were in a punt formation when the snap sailed over the head of punter Dylan Breeding. After Breeding kicked the ball through the end zone (an illegal kick), Alabama got the ball on the Arkansas 6 and scored immediately on a run by Eddie Lacy. Smith said he made the decision to switch long snappers before the game to improve Arkansas’s punt coverage, but the move backfired. The Razorbacks played without Petrino and the talented Wilson, but their linemen were overwhelmed by Alabama’s front seven. Over and over, the Razorbacks’ defense had to defend short fields because of turnovers, and it finally collapsed. Still, the Razorbacks were highly regarded before the season, and this result raises the question of just how good this Alabama team is.

Alabama humiliates Arkansas, Tyler Wilson calls out Razorbacks - Andy Staples -

Saban wasn't satisfied with his team's performance in a 35-0 win against Western Kentucky. He didn't have to nitpick, either. Alabama gave up six sacks to the Hilltoppers. Saturday, Alabama gave up zero sacks and ran a brutally efficient offense that gained 6.7 yards a play in its most lopsided SEC win since Bear Bryant beat Vanderbilt in 1979. Saban can devote some meeting time to seven penalties for 74 yards, but even college football's biggest perfectionist had to like the way his team played. "What we've really been fighting with this group about ever since the Michigan game is allowing ourselves to accept average and getting them to demand more of themselves," Saban said. "I think we started to gain a little bit today." While Alabama gained, Arkansas lost more than a game. A loss like this can shatter a team for good. It will be up to Wilson to hold this group together. Wilson's speech sounded eerily reminiscent of Tim Tebow's monologue after Florida's loss to Ole Miss in 2008. That speech was inscribed in stone at Florida Field after Tebow led the Gators to the national title that season. That won't happen with Wilson's speech, but if it inspires teammates and fans to stick together a little longer, count that as a small victory on a day of humbling defeat. "We've got a big game against Rutgers next week," Wilson said. "I'm going to do everything in my power to be a part of it and be the starting quarterback to run out on the field and get a win. You've got to start with one before you get the rest of them. I give you my word I'm going to do the best in my ability and the best in my power to make that happen. That's all I've got."

Arkansas hits new low in loss to Alabama - SEC Blog - ESPN

The wet, gloomy scene preceding Arkansas’ game with No. 1 Alabama was a classic case of foreshadowing for the Razorbacks. Rain washed away any really furious tailgating plans, while last week’s overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe expunged most of the excitement and enthusiasm revolving around a program once thought of as a national championship contender. Adding on to the grim setting in and around the stadium was the fact that starting quarterback Tyler Wilson wasn’t playing, even though he tossed out minute hope that he’d play by warming up in full pads. That was about the high point, as Alabama routed Arkansas 52-0, handing Arkansas its first shutout in Fayetteville since losing to Baylor 7-0 on Oct. 8, 1966. It left a fan base despondent and a coach speechless. "It’s kind of hard to say anything at this point," John L. Smith said. "That’s about as bad as I can every remember as a football team goes." Even with the Crimson Tide not playing close to its best game, Alabama dominated every phase. And I mean dominated.

Quick Hits: Alabama 52, Arkansas 0 -

When Alabama Won: Like almost every other game the Crimson Tide will play this year, this one was more or less decided in February of 2009, 2010 and 2011, when Alabama signed the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation all three years. The talent gap shows, especially along the line of scrimmage, and it is demoralizing. Once the Tide took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter, there were very few people in the stadium or watching or television who thought Arkansas had a chance to score twice without its starting quarterback, probably including most of Arkansas' sideline.

Arkansas' woeful performance against Alabama reveals only bigger problems - NCAA Football -

There is your snapshot of the next couple of months inside the worst disaster of the early season. Arkansas has gone from the bottom of a ravine to the top 10 and back down again, enduring the program's worst loss in seven years. The postgame was spent promising how the locker room was going to stay together in the future than how it fell apart out on the field on Saturday. A program with a glorified interim coach, minus its starting quarterback, looks like this. Now the question is whether a senior-heavy team does start splitting apart and a staff hired by Bobby Petrino starts using the office fax machine to send out resumes. "It sucks to see people not do their jobs and things go wrong," Wilson said. "As a leader at this point, you've got to look forward. There's been a lot of people jump off the bandwagon and it is my job to keep everyone in this organization and this team in the locker room together."

Watch defensive backs Robert Lester, Dee Milliner break down Alabama's rout of Arkansas (videos) |

"It always feels great to keep your opponents off the board," senior safety Robert Lester said. "I don't want us to get complacent from doing this. We've got a lot of great teams ahead of us. There's also a lot of things we can learn from this game."

Alabama offensive line 'just wanted to come off explosive,' says guard Chance Warmack (video) |

Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack stopped well short of saying the offensive line was back to living up to the lofty expectations that hovered above it heading into 2012. "We always carry ourselves as a physical team and that's what we want to show everybody," Warmack said. "We'll never get to where we want to be, but we're always willing to get better with each game, each practice."

Arkansas notes: Tyler Wilson not OK to play |

"In our heart, we held out some hope," Smith said. "But realistically, as coaches, we said he’s not going to play this week, and you had to face that music early on." Smith said Wilson saw a specialist Thursday and it was determined he shouldn’t play. Smith issued a statement Friday saying whether Wilson played would be a game-time decision. "We didn’t want to tip our hand to anybody," Smith said. "It’s one of those things we had to do."

Alabama turns tide with turnovers |

After Alabama took a 10-0 lead, Alabama defensive back Vinnie Sunseri intercepted Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen to give the Crimson Tide possession at Alabama’s 33. The Crimson Tide scored six plays later for a 17-0 lead. Later in the second quarter, Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted Allen and returned the ball to Arkansas’ 3. Three plays later, Alabama scored for a 24-0 lead. Two Arkansas fumbles in the third quarter — one by Dennis Johnson on a kickoff return and one by Knile Davis — led to two more touchdowns. The final turnover, another fumble by Davis, led to Alabama’s last touchdown with 5:33 left in the game. "It changed the game entirely when you create turnovers like that," Crimson Tide cornerback Dee Milliner said. "It puts the offense in good field position to score touchdowns." Saban said the Crimson Tide work on causing turnovers in practice, always trying to gouge, rip or poke the ball away from offensive players. The Razorbacks had eight fumbles in the game, five of which were caused by Alabama defensive players.

Going nowhere: Razorbacks struggle to flow against Tide |

Arkansas had 3 yards in total offense by the end of the first quarter of Saturday’s game against No. 1 Alabama. Things got a little better for the Razorbacks after that, but not much. Alabama held Arkansas to 137 yards in total offense and beat the Razorbacks 52-0 — the first time Arkansas failed to score in a span of 238 games, going back to a 28-0 loss at LSU on Nov. 28, 1995. It was the first time Arkansas had been shut out at Reynolds Razorback Stadium since a 7-0 loss to Baylor in 1966. "We can only go up," Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen said. "That’s for sure."

Flood of futility: Erring, Wilson-less Hogs take worst campus loss in 93 years |

Tyler Wilson, who sat out with a head injury, addressed the team in the locker room then stalked into the interview room and delivered a terse message after the Razorbacks’ fourth-worst shutout loss in the program’s history. "It wasn’t pretty to me to sit on the sideline and watch as a player," Wilson said. "Do I feel that we at times gave up out there? Yeah, absolutely. As a leader, it sucks to see people not do their jobs and things go wrong. There’s been a lot of things go that way." Other Arkansas leaders tried to soften Wilson’s words. "I don’t think it was quitting," junior quarterback and receiver Brandon Mitchell said. "Sometimes you can look up there at the scoreboard and some guys know the game is over."

Nick Saban update on injury to Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron |

"He got stepped on the fumbled snap on the goal line, but he'’s fine,"” Saban said of a play that preceded a 1-yard touchdown run by Eddie Lacy that gave the Tide a 24-0 lead late in the second quarter. "He played with it. It didn’t bother him. He could have continued to play if we needed him to. It’s bruised.”" In fact, McCarron played the first two series of the second half before his day was done.

Game story: No. 1 Alabama rebounds from 2nd-game stumble in the most lopsided of ways |

Adversity, by Alabama’s standards, came from a game in which it never trailed and eventually won by 35 points. When it learns from that relative bump in the road, lopsided runaways like the one that occurred Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium are its definition of a rebound performance. The No. 1 Crimson Tide showed no mercy on an Arkansas team that can add Saturday’s 52-0 defeat to its ever-growing list of problems. The Crimson Tide took an early lead, overcame a sluggish first quarter and stormed away with its first win of the SEC season before a rain-drenched crowd of 74,617, many of whom were gone by the time Alabama wrapped up its second straight shutout. "This group is still learning how to motivate themselves every week and demand to be the best they need to be," coach Nick Saban said. "They're working on it, I'm working on it, we'll continue to work on it. "Hopefully we'll be able to continue to improve."

and etc.

Photo Gallery: Crimson Tide rolls over Arkansas |

No. 1 Alabama 52, Arkansas 0: Grading the Tide |

Video: Alabama's Robert Lester - SEC Blog - ESPN