Starting defensive tackle Byran Jones was not sporting his regular No. 54 Saturday; instead he wore No. 98, the number of senior Robert Thomas, who broke a bone in his leg against South Carolina, ending his season and career at Arkansas. Jones recorded two tackles against the Crimson Tide. Thomas, a team captain, had three tackles, including a sack, against the Gamecocks and was tied for eighth in the Southeastern Conference in tackles for loss with six at the time of his injury. He had a career-high seven tackles against Rutgers in the fourth game of the season. Thomas was replaced in the lineup by Darius Philon, a redshirt freshman from Mobile, Ala.
The final score — Alabama 52, Arkansas 0, on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., may have sounded familiar to fans of both teams. It was identical to the shellacking the Crimson Tide put on Arkansas at Fayetteville last year.
Alabama scored four rushing touchdowns against the Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium — half as many as the Razorbacks had allowed in all of 2013. Arkansas had allowed only eight rushing touchdowns on the season, the fewest in the SEC for teams that had played seven games and the third lowest in the NCAA among teams with seven games in the books. The Razorbacks likely won’t be listed among SEC statistical leaders for rushing touchdowns allowed as they enter an open week.
Arkansas was unable to sack quarterback A.J. McCarron on Saturday and the offensive line for Arkansas allowed only one sack of QB Brandon Allen. Arkansas entered the game against the Crimson Tide ranked No. 1 in the SEC in sack differential and its plus-15 also was tied for fourth in the NCAA. Arkansas was plus-14 for the season after the loss to Alabama.
Bielema at 71
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema coached his 100th collegiate game Saturday and finds himself among the top coaches in the country despite the shellacking at the hands of Alabama on Saturday. Bielema has won 71 of his first 100 games. Among coaches at the 100-game mark of their careers, that leaves Bielema tied for fifth with the legendary Woody Hayes, who coached at Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State, and former Southern Cal coach John McKay. Bielema is one victory shy of Frank Broyles after 100 games; Broyles had 72 victories in his first 100 games at Missouri and Arkansas. Joe Paterno of Penn State tops the list, winning 84 of his first 100 games.
Entering the Alabama game, Arkansas was the only SEC team to have a freshman rusher and receiver with more than 100 yards each in a single game. Arkansas had no 100-yard rushers or receivers against Alabama. However, against Texas A&M, Alex Collins rushed for 116 yards on 14 carries and tight end Hunter Henry caught four passes for 109 yards. It was Henry’s first 100-yard game; Collins has rushed for 100 yards or more four times in eight games. Collins has led the team in rushing six times, including against Alabama (18 carries for 77 yards). Henry has recorded the most receiving yards on the team in two games and tied Javontee Herndon Saturday with 42.
Hocker not perfect
Zach Hocker had a second-quarter 41-yard field-goal attempt blocked, ending his perfect streak at eight. Alabama’s Deion Belue was credited with the block with 2:54 left in the half. The senior from Russellville entered the Alabama game leading the conference among active players in career PATs made, PATs attempted, field goals made, field goals made per game, field goals attempted, total points and points per game. Prior to Saturday, Hocker was tied for third among active NCAA players in total points, was fourth in field goals made, fourth in PATs made, fourth in field goals attempted, fifth in PATs attempted, 13th in points per game and 18th in field goals made per game.
Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix returned to game action against Arkansas after an indefinite suspension was lifted by the NCAA after two games. Clinton-Dix made his presence known early, picking off a Brandon Allen pass intended for Hunter Henry with a minute left in the first period. He recorded five tackles in the game. He was suspended after accepting a short-term loan of less than $500 from assistant strength coach and conditioning coach Corey Harris. The NCAA announced his reinstatement Friday. Clinton-Dix is second in tackles for Alabama with 29 despite missing games against Georgia State and Kentucky.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are celebrating a special birthday this season. Legendary coach Bear Bryant, who hailed from Fordyce, would have turned 100 in September. A statue of Bryant is located outside Bryant-Denny Stadium and the black-and-white houndstooth hat he wore has become as big a symbol of the program as the elephant mascot or the Crimson Tide logo.
Alabama players are wearing a special logo on the back left of their helmets this season in memory of Mal Moore, the Alabama athletics director from 1990-2013. Moore died in March.
Highly coveted running back Altee Tenpenny of North Little Rock got no chance to make his mark against Arkansas on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Alabama freshman, who waffled only slightly toward the end of his recruiting between Arkansas and Alabama, played on special teams against the Razorbacks, but recorded no statistics. Tenpenny scored his first collegiate touchdown against Kentucky on a 6-yard run.
HUNTER HENRY: The freshman tight end from Little Rock had three catches for 42 yards, including a 25-yarder on Arkansas’ second possession. Henry was Arkansas’ leading receiver. He entered the game with 14 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown, with his longest reception of 52 yards coming against Texas A&M.
A.J. McCARRON: The Alabama quarterback posted spectacular numbers while doing nothing flashy against Arkansas on Saturday for the top-ranked Crimson Tide. After the first drive of the second half, McCarron was 14-of-18 for 163 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating at that point was 208.8. By the time McCarron ended his night, his rating had dropped to 190.6 on 15-of-21 for 180 yards. Blake Sims took over for McCarron with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter and Alabama leading 42-0.
DARIUS PHILON: The redshirt freshman from Mobile, Ala., made the most of his return to his home state Saturday, recording seven tackles against the Crimson Tide. Philon replaced senior defensive tackle Robert Thomas in the lineup after Thomas broke a bone in his leg against South Carolina. Philon was recruited by Alabama, but when the Tide wanted Philon to wait until the second semester to enroll, he signed with the Razorbacks.
ALABAMA RUNNING BACKS: Kenyan Drake, the Alabama backup ran for 104 yards on eight carries, including a second-quarter touchdown run of 46 yards to give the Tide a 21-0 lead. He averaged 13 yards per carry. T.J. Yeldon, the starter, gained 88 yards and scored a touchdown in the third quarter. The two backs combined for 20 carries for 192 yards midway through the third period. Derrick Henry, not even listed on the four-deep, led all rushers with 111 yards, including an 80-yard TD run with 59 seconds to play.
By the numbers
200 — Yards rushing by Alabama during the first three quarters.
48 — Number of plays Arkansas ran during the first 45 minutes vs. 47 plays for Alabama.
3 — Arkansas turnovers vs. 0 for Alabama.
9.6 — Average yards per carry on the 20 combined attempts by T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake.
190.6 — A.J. McCarron’s quarterback rating, 148 points higher than Brandon Allen’s rating.