Alabama offense continues to shine in rout of Arkansas

Tua throws four TD passes

By CODY ESTREMERA, For the Eagle
Posted 10/7/18

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On the first play of Saturday's game against Arkansas, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a shotgun snap and faked a handoff to running back Damien Harris.

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Alabama offense continues to shine in rout of Arkansas

Tua throws four TD passes

Posted

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On the first play of Saturday's game against Arkansas, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a shotgun snap and faked a handoff to running back Damien Harris.

Harris turned and fired a pass to tight end Irv Smith Jr., who sprinted down the sideline to the end zone for a 76-yard touchdown.

That was one of Alabama’s four touchdown drives that took under two minutes in its 65-31 win over Arkansas.

Alabama’s offense continued to exploit defenses. The Crimson Tide finished with 639 yards of total offense, 393 of which came in the air.

“I think we wanted to have balance on offense,” Coach Nick Saban said. “These guys played a lot of press and run defenses, as I call them, which is probably what helped us make some explosive plays in the beginning game, especially on RPOs.

“As the game went on, I thought our offensive line got control of the line of scrimmage. I thought our backs did a really good job of running hard.”

Tagovailoa led the No. 1 team in the country in passing for the sixth-straight game. The sophomore threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns. He found three different receivers in the process.

Receiver Jerry Jeudy finished with a team high 135 yards, which is one short of his career high, and two touchdowns. He has now caught multiple touchdowns in four of Alabama’s six games this year.

On his second touchdown, Jeudy came off a slant and caught the ball at the 50. He sprinted past the Arkansas secondary for a 60-yard touchdown.

“I saw I had a lot of room, once I saw that room I just burst and ran away from the defender,” Jeudy said.

After having a subpar season statistically to this point in the year, Harris broke out. He finished with 111 yards on the ground, which was the first time this season he went over the century mark, and two touchdowns.

The second touchdown came on fourth down. He leaped over the top of the line and was called short, but the play was reviewed and counted as a touchdown.

“I made sure to stay on the field a little longer, and I was standing around looking at the refs like ‘ya’ll going to review that right?’ I knew I was in.’” Harris said.

On defense, Alabama struggled to stop the Razorbacks, giving up a season-high 31 points.

“We made a lot of mistakes on defense today,” Saban said. “Didn’t play very well as a unit. Lots of opportunities to get off the field on third down and just didn’t do it. I don’t think we really beat the other team when you give up 31 points like we did today, at least from a defensive perspective.”

The Razorbacks threw for 233 yards and had three touchdowns. The man the Crimson Tide had the hardest time stopping early on was tight end Cheyenne O’Grady.

The Fayetteville, Ark., native, who had only caught 10 passes this season, finished with a game-high seven catches. He also caught two touchdowns, almost doubling his career total (three).

“We did not play to the Alabama standard, I can say that,” Deionte Thompson said. “We had a lot of miscues, but I take the blame for that. I didn’t do a good job of communicating today.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, Shyheim Carter intercepted a Ty Storey pass. He returned it 44 yards for his second interception returned for a touchdown this season. It was the sixth straight game the defense intercepted a pass.

Alabama returns home for its only home game of the month on Oct. 13 as it takes on Missouri.