Monday, September 27, 2010
The Great Escape: Alabama Defeats Arkansas
line…the champions prevailed.
Mallett threw two critical interceptions in the final period of play which helped propel the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide to a 24-20 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
In arguably the finest game of the entire 2010 season, Arkansas gave Alabama all they wanted and more.
The atmosphere in Fayetteville provided the perfect ingredients for an upset and for most of the game, an upset seemed inevitable.
Courtesy of Ryan Mallett and a young Alabama secondary, the Razorback offense moved the ball at will against the Crimson Tide for the majority of the contest.
On the day, Mallett completed 25 of 38 passes for 357 yards including one touchdown. However, three interceptions (two in the final period) are the only stats Ryan Mallett will remember.
Arkansas jumped on Alabama early and often during the initial half of play.
The Alabama offense was solid, but like Mallett, Greg McElroy would also throw critical interceptions which gave the Hogs not only the ball…but the momentum.
The uncharacteristic ‘Bama turnovers allowed Arkansas to shred the Tide secondary and when the teams headed for the locker room, the Hogs held a 17-7 advantage.
With the Hogs leading 20-7 in the third quarter, Trent Richardson found the end zone via a 20-yard screen pass to cut the lead to 20-14.
In the final period of play, the Tide would add a field goal to cut the Arkansas lead to three.
With the game hanging in the balance, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was intercepted by Tide safety Robert Lester (second of the day) on a critical third down play.
Lester would return the ball deep into Hog territory, which would allow Mark Ingram to give Alabama the lead courtesy of a 1-yard touchdown run.
Ryan Mallett was solid…but Mark Ingram was Mr. Heisman. When the day was done, Ingram would rush for 157 yards and two touchdowns (54-yards and 1-yard) on 24 carries.
With the Tide clinging to a 24-20 lead in the final moments of the contest, Mallett was flushed out of the pocket and was once again intercepted, this time by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
‘Bama would simply “hit the knees” and take a hard fought victory back to Tuscaloosa.
As mentioned above, the Alabama offense was the best Arkansas defense for the majority of the initial half. The “shaky Tide” was due in large part to ‘Bama quarterback Greg McElroy.
The Tide signal caller finished the day 18 of 26 passing for 194 yards which included one touchdown…but two critical interceptions.
Alabama certainly left some points on the table, but the same defense which had been burned early and often, recovered to save the game.
When you have a game of this nature, several stats seem to jump off the page in respect to the “hits and misses” for each team.
Alabama was 8 of 14 in third down conversions, while the Hogs were a dreadful 2 of 10.
Bama had the ball 33:52 compared to the Razorbacks who only possessed the ball, 26:08.
In a funny, yet fitting stat, both the Tide and the Hogs gained a total of 421 yards on offense.
As for Ryan Mallett, he had 313 yards and one touchdown through three quarters. In the final stanza when it meant the most….only 44 yards, no touchdowns…and two interceptions.
How bad do you want to win? The contest in Fayetteville was certainly a “character builder” for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
FUN FACT: Alabama running back Mark Ingram only had two carries for more than 45 yards during the entire 2009 season. The 54-yard touchdown against the Razorbacks marked the third occasion this season…in only two games of action.
Posted by The Crimson Elephant at 12:05 PM