Ty Storey looked sharp at times.
By Jamie Varnell & Carlos Chicas
Photos: Varnell Media & Crant Osborne
Arkansas hosted the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium Saturday as an overwhelming underdog. The Tide have steamrolled their way through opponents with what is being hailed as their best team in the Nick Saban era. They are led by Heisman favorite Tua Tagovailoa.
While the much-maligned special teams units showed tremendous improvement, the Razorbacks were still the victim of early points as Alabama scored on a 76-yard pass on the opening play of the game. They would add two more touchdowns in the opening quarter, but the Razorbacks did something no other team has been able to do this year, and that was to score in the first quarter on the Tide. Ty Storey looked sharp at times, including the drive that saw him hit Cheyenne O’Grady in the corner of the end zone to open the scoring for the Hogs.
Arkansas would have another chance to score and make it a 7 point game, but Story was hit and fumbled at the goal line, leaving Alabama to take the ball for their own drive. They would score 21 points off Razorback turnovers on the day. They kept with their season pace, racking up over 600 yards of offense and spreading the ball all over the field.
It was not all bad for the Hogs, who managed to find a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. Arkansas put up the most yards on the Tide of any opponent this season and scored the most points on Alabama since Clemson in the National title game. Arkansas twice shut down the Alabama rushing attack for a 4th down stop, while Rakeem Boyd gashed his way to 102 rushing yards.
The final score of 65-31 doesn’t represent the improved play from the Hogs. They showed a lot of fight, putting up 14 points in the 4th quarter and making strides in all aspects of the game. The showing was important, as Arkansas hosted a slew of recruits on official visits and received another commitment from a 4-star athlete over the weekend. Head Coach Chad Morris is building something that has the potential to be very special. When asked about the improved performance of his team, Coach Morris he said “I think that when you coach offensive football, it takes time to create continuity. It takes time to create consistency. You go through growing pains, and you find out that who you thought were your playmakers may need to be put in a different position. You try and balance that as you’re adding your offense it and realize that maybe you need to scale some stuff back. It’s a process and it’ll continue to be a process. I think you see that we continue to add a little bit each week about who we are and who we want to be. We won’t get to it all this year, but we’ll get to what they can retain and what they can execute.”
Arkansas will have a chance to make the work pay off when Ole Miss travels to Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium next Saturday night for a conference home game. The teams are trending in opposite directions, and Arkansas may choose this night for it’s coming of age celebration.