Arkansas spent much of the week telling fans to be loud, and the fans did their part. It was plenty loud.
Alabama, however, was unfazed by the decibel level and wasted little time handling the Razorbacks. The noise didn’t help the Arkansas defense, which gave up over 10 yards per carry in the first half. The Hogs did force a goal line fumble on the opening drive of the game and flipped the field, but a quick 57-yard run by Damian Harris put the Tide right back where they were to begin with, and this time scored.
Offensively, the Razorbacks were actually much better than I expected. Arkansas scored 17 points on the Tide in the first half, and if you’d have told me before the game that would happen, I would have thought Arkansas was in great position. These have been low-scoring games in recent years, but I was hopeful Arkansas’ improved passing attack (it didn’t become good last year until after the Alabama game) would give them opportunities, and it did. Arkansas only managed 14 points in each of the last two games against Alabama
Austin Allen took another beating, at least as bad as the one he took against Texas A&M, but - bless him - like against the Aggies, he kept throwing his own punches.
But it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Tide. Alabama is still Alabama. Arkansas needed to play perfectly and they didn’t. Alabama wasn’t perfect either, but their mistakes weren’t too costly. Arkansas gave up two defensive touchdowns to Alabama including a 100+ yard pick 6, and that’s too much to overcome.
All the issues that have plagued Arkansas this season are still issues. The offensive line is still a deficiency just as has been written in previous weeks. Allen was hit more than 20 times. The defense, particularly at linebacker and safety, still has too many holes, and it was exacerbated against Alabama with the loss of Dre Greenlaw early in the game. Arkansas is so ridiculously thin at linebacker that a loss of one of their starters is heavily detrimental, and the Hogs must hope Greenlaw will be able to return soon. If not, Chad Kelly and Ole Miss should be pretty excited about playing this defensive group next week.
Arkansas is good in some areas, but they are also pretty bad in the areas previously discussed. Bielema’s history at Arkansas suggests they will improve as the year goes on, but Arkansas just doesn’t have the tools to beat Alabama right now.