Following Saturday’s game in Fayetteville, Pro Football Focus broke down the quarterback play for each team, and one particular metric stood out above all others:
What Alabama did to Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen on Saturday night really can’t be overstated. Allen dropped back to pass 61 times, and was under pressure on 42 of those plays. That’s 68.9 percent of his dropbacks. To put that into context, Allen was pressured on 37.8 percent of his dropbacks through the first five weeks of the season — one of the highest rates in the nation. Combined, the Alabama defense finished the game with 46 total pressures, including seven sacks and nine quarterback hits. Seven different players registered at least four pressures, including backup edge defender Terrell Hall, who managed to register a sack and four hurries, despite rushing the passer just eight times. One of the most dominant team performances you’ll ever see from a pass-rushing standpoint, they made life miserable for the Arkansas quarterback.
That number is simply absurd. For some perspective, the NFL QB who was under the most duress in 2014 was pressured roughly 45% of the time. Allen had to deal with pressure on more than two-thirds of his drop-backs, which makes his performance nothing short of incredible.
To be sure, some of that pressure was of the manufactured variety as Jeremy Pruitt sent an extra rusher on several occasions, which will leave some vulnerability on the back end. Still, to put up the numbers he did in the face of that level of pressure is impressive and bodes well for his future.
By contrast, Jalen Hurts was pressured on fewer than a quarter of his drop-backs. Should that continue, this offense will not be stopped.