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.
GIMME FIVE — KEYS TO TODAY’S GAME
1. Handle Adversity
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas was outscored by Texas A&M, beat up at Florida and thoroughly embarrassed against South Carolina.
The first half of Southeastern Conference play has produced few highlights for a program clearly in the midst of a transition year under coach Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks knew their opening stretch in the SEC was going to be challenging and it has lived up to those expectations. It’s not over, yet, either.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has a prestigious new position as the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Long stressed Thursday he won’t let the opportunity interfere with his responsibilities at Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE — Darius Philon has no interest in reliving the details publicly.
“That’s all behind me, man,” Philon said Wednesday.
1. Supporting Bielema
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has endured a rough start to his Southeastern Conference coaching career, losing three straight games by a combined score of 127-50. But Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has expressed his belief that the program is moving in the right direction the past few days.
1. Balanced Offense
Alabama’s offense has typically been built around a bruising ground game, which is led by NFL caliber running backs and offensive linemen.
FAYETTEVILLE — Bill Hancock made a prediction about Jeff Long on Monday.
“He’s fixing to become one of the best-known people in college football,” said Hancock, who is the executive director of the College Football Playoff.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema wants his best players on the field.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a sophomore or a senior. It doesn’t matter if it’s a freshman Arkansas intended to redshirt. Bielema intends to win – and win now - so he’ll do what is necessary to make sure his best players are playing.
1. Early Success
Arkansas has struggled to move the football in two straight games, combining to score only 17 points in losses to Florida and South Carolina.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas turned in its worst performance of the season last Saturday, suffering through a lackluster 52-7 home loss to South Carolina.
The next task doesn’t exactly stir much confidence the Razorbacks’ struggles will end Saturday, either. But Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said wiping out the notion there’s no hope against No. 1 Alabama has been emphasized to his fragile team.
1. Thomas Out, Philon In
Arkansas defensive tackle Robert Thomas underwent surgery to repair the broken bone in his left left Sunday night, according to coach Bret Bielema.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long isn’t simply a member of the College Football Playoff’s Selection Committee.
He has been elected as its first chairman.
Five Keys Review
1. Win Turnover Battle — Not Accomplished
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas running back Alex Collins eyed the end zone in the fourth quarter Saturday, racing to the goal line in hopes of ending South Carolina’s dominant run of 45 unanswered points.
The freshman nearly got there, too, but was hit by a South Carolina defender as he tried to put the finishing touches on a 30-yard run. The ball slipped out of Collins’ hands and hit the pylon at the goal line. The play was ruled — and confirmed by replay — a fumble and touchback.