Sept. 27, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A career-high 291 yards from quarterback Greg McElroy, combined with a staunch defensive effort propelled No. 3 Alabama to a 35-7 win over Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide held a 425-to-254 yard advantage in total offense with five different players scoring for Alabama including three touchdown passes from quarterback Greg McElroy. The defense performed equally well, allowing just 63 yards on the ground with three sacks, eight tackles for a loss, six quarterback hurries and an interception.
McElroy keyed the offensive output with another solid performance, completing 17-of-24 passes for 291 yards with touchdown strikes of 80, 50 and 14 yards with no interceptions. On the ground, Alabama totaled 134 yards, the majority split between Trent Richardson (9 carries, 65 yards) and Mark Ingram (17 carries, 50 yards). Ingram finished the afternoon with 71 total yards of offense and two touchdowns.
Alabama (4-0) led 14-0 at halftime thanks to two big scoring plays of 52 and 50 yards on the ground and through the air, respectively.
BY THE NUMBERS: Here is a look at some of the numbers from Saturday's win over Arkansas.
4.57 - The average yards per pass attempt for Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett against the Alabama defense on Saturday. The Crimson Tide held the nation's pass efficiency leader to 160 passing yards (12-of-35) in the win. Prior to Saturday, Mallett averaged 358.8 yards per game and 10.68 yards per attempt in wins over Missouri State and Georgia.
10 - Following the win over Arkansas, the Alabama offense now ranks in the top 10 nationally in four statistical categories, including passing efficiency, total offense, scoring, and rushing. The Crimson Tide is fifth nationally in passing efficiency (169.03), eighth in total offense (490.5), ninth in scoring (40.5) and 10th in rushing (234.25).
12- The number of scoring plays over 50 yards Alabama has recorded against Arkansas in the last eight years. The Crimson Tide had three scoring plays of more than 50 yard on Saturday, including a 52-yard run by freshman running back Trent Richardson, a 50-yard pass from Greg McElroy to Julio Jones and an 80-yard pass from McElroy to Marquis Maze. Alabama had four scoring plays of more than 50 yards against Arkansas in its 49-14 win in Fayetteville last season, including an 87-yard run by Glen Coffee, a 63-yard interception return by Javier Arenas, a 74-yard interception return by Justin Woodall and a 62-yard run by Roy Upchurch. Since the 2002 season, Alabama has had four scoring plays of more than 80 yards against Arkansas, including the McElroy to Maze TD pass on Saturday.
26 - The combined total of tackles for loss, pass break-ups, quarterback pressures, turnovers and blocked kicks the Crimson Tide defense amassed against the Razorbacks on Saturday. Alabama's defense had eight tackles behind the line, eight quarterback pressures and eight pass break-ups along with one interception and one blocked punt. Senior corner Javier Arenas had three TFLs, including two sacks, to lead the UA defense in that category, while sophomore defensive lineman Marcell Dareus led the Tide with three quarterback pressures. Mark Barron, Kareem Jackson and Robby Green had two pass break-ups each.
182 - The combined number of yards for the Crimson Tide's first three touchdowns against the Razorbacks. Richardson scored the first touchdown on a 52-yard run and McElroy's 50-yard TD pass to Jones put the Tide in front 14-0 at halftime. On its second possession of the second half, Alabama upped its lead to 21-0 when McElroy fired an 80-yard TD pass to Maze. The three big scoring plays averaged 60.67 yards.
NEXT GAME: Alabama (4-0) will play its first true road game of the 2009 season this Saturday, Oct. 3, when the Crimson Tide faces the Kentucky Wildcats (2-1) at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. The game will be televised by the SEC Network with an 11:21 a.m. (CDT) kickoff, with Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Cara Capuano describing the action. Kentucky is third in the SEC and 12th nationally with a 24.96 kickoff return average this season. UK speedster Derrick Locke is second in the SEC and ninth in the NCAA with a 34.12 kickoff return average this year.