Well that was … thorough. Let’s get to it, shall we?
- Back to back shutouts. Question the quality of the opponent if you like, but the Tide hasn’t shutout two opponents in consecutive weeks since Coach Bryant was on the sidelines. When you consider they did so despite playing literally everyone that made the trip, that’s really something.
- Freshmen. QB Alec Morris is the only true freshman still eligible for a redshirt after only three games. When the media marvels at how Alabama is able to replace seven starters on defense so easily, this is how. When people marvel at how Saban can continue to get players to come to loaded positions where they won’t start, this is how. Fifth string running back Kenyan Drake led the team in rushing. Third string true freshman linebacker Denzel Devall recorded one of four sacks on Arkansas’ starting QB. That’s a pretty handy box score to share with prospective players.
- AJ McCarron. He’s not going to win the Heisman because he doesn’t throw the ball enough, but he looks fantastic when he does. He’s quietly leading the league in yards per attempt (10.8) and passer rating (a whopping 196.59 which is sixteen points better than next-best Aaron Murray). To understand how far he’s come as a QB, he only topped that mark once last season (209 against Georgia Southern) and that’s his average this year.
- Twelve players recorded a tackle for loss. Twelve. And that was rushing only three or four for the entirety of the game.
- Seven penalties. On Arkansas’ first scoring opportunity, Alabama penalties comprised thirty of the 51 yards the Hogs covered on that drive. Penalties are a point of emphasis for Coach Saban, so you can be certain it will be a focus in practice this week.
- The state of Arkansas’s program. I’m not sure how many times I said “Hey, Arkansas won eleven games last year” but it was many. Part of the time it was in amazement, and part of it was just trying ton convince anyone who would listen that it was still a big win. Who knew John L. Smith was that big of a step backwards, or that the team would be that dependent on Tyler Wilson? More than that, no one’s talking about this but how much is John Robinson enjoying this season? Remember him? He’s the defensive coordinator Petrino fired last year to bring in the current DC, Paul Haynes. Through three games, Arkansas is giving up an average of two touchdowns more than the they did last season. Yes, the Tide accounts for a fair bit of that, but when you consider they would have to score 42 points above their average to do it single-handedly (and they didn’t), that’s saying an awful, awful lot.