Arkansas and Alabama will be the marquee matchup in the nation when the SEC schools meet on September 15th. Each has a favorable opponent this week and although they will not admit it, they have to be looking ahead to the game next week.
The Crimson Tide rolled over the Razorbacks last season 38-14 and blitzed the road team with 24 unanswered points scoring on offense, defense, and special teams between the second quarter and the first five minutes of the third quarter.
The Alabama defense stifled the Arkansas rushing attack that was without their star running back, Knile Davis, to a paltry 17 yards on the ground. Alabama meanwhile racked up 197 rushing yards with 126 coming from Heisman finalist Trent Richardson and 61 from Eddie Lacy.
Arkansas quarterback, Tyler Wilson was harassed all game by the Alabama defense that limited one of the top passing offenses in the SEC to a stingy 5.2 yards per pass.
A number of high-profile players from last year’s Alabama defense have graduated or entered the NFL, including Richardson off the offense, and Davis returns for Arkansas, but will surely be a decided underdog vs. the #1 team in the nation on the 15th.
If Arkansas is to have any chance at pulling off the upset they will need a colossal effort from their offensive line to control the clock and try to wear down the Alabama defense.
No small task indeed, but to beat Alabama, they will need to take a page out of the playbook from Nick Saban, who used that philosophy to keep the high powered Razorback offense off the field in the 2011 matchup.
Alabama meticulously took apart Michigan in the season opener on national television and look like a team without a weakness, but next Saturday’s game should be closer than last year if Wilson and Davis can keep the defense off balance.
Arkansas gets Alabama at home this time and will need every bit of the home field advantage in slowing down the Tide.
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.