The Crimson Tide of Alabama faced off against the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana this past Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Bama was able to get back over 50 points again and dominate Louisiana from the start. The biggest news of the game was the fact that Jalen Hurts played in his fifth game of the season. This means that he will not be able to seek a redshirt and that he will be staying at Alabama for the remainder of his college football career. So we have this week’s Alabama Crimson Tide: Know Your Foe-Arkansas Razorbacks Edition.
As for the game itself, the Tide were able to do exactly what they have done all year thus far and that is execute to near perfection. Heading into the fourth quarter, Alabama was leading the Ragin’ Cajuns 56-0. In the closing minutes, Louisiana was able to score two touchdowns to get to the 56-14 final. Tua Tagovailoa was a perfect eight for eight passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Hurts was four for six for 118 and one touchdown.
This week the Tide faces a familiar foe from the SEC West. Alabama will be traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas to clash with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas is currently 1-4 overall and has lost both conference games this season. This is the 29th meeting between these two teams. Alabama holds the edge with 18 of those victories and are currently on a 10-game winning streak against the Razorbacks. Though Arkansas has struggled mightily this season, this is the SEC. Week in and week out, it is imperative to Know Your Foe.
Alabama Crimson Tide: Know Your Foe – Arkansas Razorbacks Edition
The Razorbacks started out the 2018 season in typical fashion with a 55-20 win over the Eastern Illinois Panthers. Since then, it has been all downhill for Arkansas. They dropped a tightly contested game to Colorado, 34-27. In week three, Arkansas was blown out by North Texas, 44-17. Next, Auburn held the Razorbacks to only three points and won 34-3. This past Saturday Arkansas was able to keep the game close with Texas A&M, but ultimately came up short, losing 24-17.
With all the struggles that Arkansas has had this season, it is a guarantee that Alabama will win this game. It all comes down to by how much and can Arkansas play to a higher level to be able to make it a decent game.
The Arkansas offense has been the lone bright spot for this program in 2018 and is averaging just over 25 points per game. The offense has done a great job on the ground and have averaged almost 164 yards per game. The passing game hasn’t been as effective but has still gotten down the field averaging 210 yards per game through the air. The Razorbacks have had to swap around with their quarterbacks trying to find consistency in the passing game. Here are some of the key playmakers for the Razorbacks’ offense:
• Ty Storey is a 6’2”/215-pound Junior and has passed for 438 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
• Cole Kelley, a 6’7”/258-pound Sophomore has shared in the starting duties as well. He has passed for 379 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
• Devwah Whaley is a 5’11”/209-pound Junior and has rushed 53 times for 231 total yards and two touchdowns.
• Rakeem Boyd, the backup running back is a 6’/200-pound and has rushed 21 times for 151 yards but has yet to find the endzone.
• La’Michael Pettway is a 6’2”/218-pound Junior. He has 11 receptions for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
• Jordan Jones, a 6’1”/180-pound Sophomore has nine receptions for 162 yards and one touchdown.
• Austin Cantrell is a 6’3”/263-pound Junior Tight End and has four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown.
The Arkansas defense has not had a great season up to this point. The rushing defense has been the best part on that side of the ball. They have held opponents to only 353 rushing yards. The issue has primarily been with the secondary and the pass rush. Opponents have combined for 1,034 yards through the air on the Razorback defense. As a result, Arkansas has been outscored 132-102 and have only one win on the season. The key players on defense are:
• De’Jon Harris (6’, 244-pound Junior Linebacker) – 37 tackles, four pass breakups and one forced fumble
• Santos Ramirez (6’2”, 204-pound Senior Defensive Back) – 25 tackles and one fumble recovery
• Kamren Curl (6’2”, 201-pound Sophomore Defensive Back) – 21 tackles, three pass breakups and one forced fumble
• Dre Greenlaw (6’, 227-pound Senior Linebacker) – 18 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble
• Ryan Pulley (5’11”, 198-pound Junior Defensive Back) – 15 tackles, one sack, one interception and three pass breakups
• Bumper Pool (6’2”, 223-pound Freshman Linebacker) – 13 tackles, three pass breakups, one fumble recovery and blocked a kick against Eastern Illinois
• Armon Watts (6’5”, 298-pound Senior Defensive Lineman) – 12 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles
Another First Year Coach
Arkansas has a new head coach this year, having parted ways with Bret Bielema at the end of the 2017 season. Taking control of the Razorback football program for this season is Texas A&M graduate Chad Morris. He spent much of his coaching career as a head coach, but it has been mostly as a high school head coach. He coached from 1994 – 2009 at five different high schools throughout Texas. His record is quite impressive with 169 wins and only 39 losses during that time.
After leaving high school coaching for college in 2010, he joined the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football program as the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks’ coach. After only one season in Tulsa, Morris went to Clemson as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks’ coach from 2011-2014. Morris got his first college head coaching opportunity at SMU (Southern Methodist University) in 2015. He went 14-22 over his three seasons at SMU, improving his record there each year going 2-10, 5-7 and 7-5. On December 6, 2017 he was named the new head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Wrap Up and Prediction
With another big win for Alabama in the rearview mirror and another struggling team coming up this week, the Crimson Tide are on pace to continue their undefeated ways. With Arkansas struggling on both sides of the ball against lesser opponents, this week will be a tough outing for the Razorbacks as they face the top team in the nation. Alabama has scored at least 45 points in all five of their games so far this season. The Tide defense has only given up 65 total points to the five opponents that they’ve faced. This week will be another step toward an 18th National Championship for the Alabama football program and Nick Saban’s sixth at Alabama. Prediction: Tide rolls 48-10.