Alabama, Arkansas [Box Score]
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Sept. 24, 2011
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 2 ranked Alabama football team defeated No. 12 Arkansas 38-14 before a sold-out crowd of 101,821 Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. With the win the Crimson Tide improves to 4-0 (1-0 SEC) on the season while the Razorbacks fall to 3-1 (0-1 SEC).
Alabama junior running back Trent Richardson racked up 211 total yards on the day (126 rushing, 85 receiving) including a touchdown reception, while sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron finished the game 15-of-20 for 200 yards and two touchdown passes. Senior wide receiver Marquis Maze added an 83-yard punt return for a score in addition to five catches for 40 yards.
The Crimson Tide defense held the Arkansas offense to 226 total yards, including just 17 yards on the ground. Additionally, Alabama forced two Razorbacks turnovers, including a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback DeQuan Menzie.
"It was a great team win," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "When I say team win, I'm talking about all the players, all the fans, all the people in the organization who contribute to the success of the team in every way. The fans were great out there today. The atmosphere was great. I think it affected their offense a little bit. We did a great job on special teams today. We came up with two big plays that both came out to be scores. I'm really proud of the way we played on defense."
After receiving the opening kickoff, Alabama moved the ball 80 yards in seven plays, culminating in a 37-yard McCarron to Michael Williams touchdown pass on a fourth down, fake field goal attempt to make the score 7-0. Arkansas would add a touchdown late in the first quarter to tie the score at seven before the Crimson Tide erupted for 24 unanswered points.
Alabama marched 77 yards in 13 plays at the outset of the second quarter, ultimately resulting in a 20-yard Jeremy Shelley field goal to take a 10-7 lead . From there, Menzie picked off a Tyler Wilson pass on the ensuing possession and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to put the Crimson Tide up 17-7 at the half. The interception was the first of Menzie's career.
After forcing Arkansas to punt on the opening possession of the second half, Maze returned the punt 83 yards for a touchdown to put the Tide up 24-7. The return was the 10th longest in punt return in Alabama history and the first punt return for a touchdown of Maze's career.
Richardson would add a 61-yard touchdown reception two possessions later to put the Tide up 31-7 at the 9:57 mark of the third quarter. It was the fifth receiving touchdown of Richardson's career and his 28th touchdown overall, ranking him seventh in Crimson Tide history.
Arkansas added a touchdown midway through the third quarter to make the score 31-14, but the Tide answered back with a score of its own, courtesy of a four-yard Eddie Lacy touchdown scamper late in the period to make it 38-14. All in all, five different players (Williams, Menzie, Maze, Richardson, and Lacy) accounted for all five Alabama touchdowns on the afternoon.
The Crimson Tide defense notched 10 tackles for a loss, led by junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower who had a team-high nine tackles, including two tackles for a loss. Sophomore cornerback Dee Milliner added his second career interception in the fourth quarter off Arkansas backup quarterback Brandon Mitchell.
Alabama will travel to Gainesville next Saturday to take on the Florida Gators. The game will kickoff at 8 p.m. Eastern time (7 p.m. Central) and will be nationally televised by CBS Sports.