Countdown to Kickoff
Tide Falls in Double Overtime to Arkansas, 34-31


Saturday, September 27, 2003

Shaud Williams
Shaud Williams

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Arkansas 34, Alabama 31

*Alabama suffered a tough 34-31 double-overtime loss to No. 9 Arkansas in front of 82,818 fans here today at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The loss is Alabama's second in a row and third in its last four games to open the 2003 season.  Arkansas' Chris Balserio's 19-yard FG on the final play of the second overtime period was the game-winner for the Razorbacks.

*The Alabama captains for today's game with Arkansas are sophomore quarterback Brodie Croyle (offense), sophomore safety Roman Harper (defense) and junior safety Chris James (special teams).

*The start of today's game was delayed one hour and three minutes due to a severe thunderstorm and lightening in the area of Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The last time the start of an Alabama was delayed by weather was the Alabama-Louisiana Tech game on Nov. 1, 1997 here in Tuscaloosa.  The Alabama-Ole Miss game was stopped in the second quarter to heavy rain and lightning on Oct. 22, 1994 also here in Tuscaloosa.  The actual kickoff was 3:37 p.m. (CT).

*The temperature dropped nine degrees and the heat index dropped 15 degrees after the thunderstorm rolled through Tuscaloosa around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.  The 2:30 p.m. weather forecast was 84 degrees (93 heat index), 67 percent humidity and a south wind at 7 mph.  After the storm, the temperature dropped to 75 degrees (78 heat heat index), 83 percent humidity and a north-northwest wind at 17 mph (gusting up to 32 mph).

*Alabama held a 31-10 lead with 7:52 left in the third quarter, but watched Arkansas score the game's final 24 points to pull out the thee-point win. The Razorbacks outscored Alabama 14-0 in the fourth quarter and put the game-winning points on the board at the end of the second overtime for the win. 

*Arkansas improves to 4-1 (.800) all-time in overtime games since the rule was initiated in 1996.  The Razorbacks have played the two longest overtime games in NCAA history, winning at Ole Miss in seven OTs (2001) and losing at Tennessee in six OTs (2002).    All five overtime games for the Razorbacks have come on the road.

*Alabama falls to 2-3 (.400) in overtime games since its first OT game in 1997.  Alabama is 1-1 (.500) in overtime games here at Bryant-Denny Stadium, beating Ole Miss in 1998 and losing to Arkansas today.  Alabama is also 2-2 (.500) in overtime games against SEC teams, losing at Kentucky in 1997 and to Arkansas today.

*With the loss, Alabama still leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 8-6. Arkansas snapped a two-game losing streak here today against Alabama and also snapped a two-game losing streak here in Tuscaloosa.

*Arkansas' four wins here in Bryant-Denny Stadium tie Florida and LSU for the second-most by an opponent against the Crimson Tide.  Miss. State has the most wins over Alabama here in Bryant-Denny Stadium with seven victories. The Razorbacks have three on-the-field win and four overall wins against the Crimson Tide here in Tuscaloosa, including a forfeit win in 1993 (Alabama 43, Arkansas 3) due to NCAA sanctions.  The home team is 5-7 in the Alabama-Arkansas series.

*With the loss to Arkansas, Alabama has now lost six of its last seven games against Top 25 teams here in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*The loss to Arkansas also snapped a three-game winning streak against Top 25 SEC teams dating back to last year.

*Arkansas running back Cedric Cobbs ran the ball 36 times for 198 yards and one TD against Alabama.  Cobbs is the second straight back to rush for 100 yards against the Alabama defense.  Northern Illinois' Michael Turner had 155 rushing yards last weekend in a 19-16 win over Alabama.  The Crimson Tide has allowed 100 rushing yards to a back in consecutive games for the first time since the 2000 season.  In 2000, Miss. State's Dontae Walker (117) and Dicenzo Miller (104) on Nov. 11, 2000 followed by Auburn's Rudi Johnson (130) on Nov. 18, 2000.

*Cobbs 198 rushing yards are the most against Alabama since Miss. State's James Johnson ran for 237 yards on Nov. 14, 1998 in Starkville.

*Arkansas had 491 total yards against Alabama, the most allowed by the Crimson Tide since LSU recorded 611 total yards on Nov. 3, 2001 here at Tuscaloosa. The Tigers won the game 35-21 and the 611 yards are the most ever allowed by an Alabama defense.

*Arkansas had three rushing TDs in the win over Alabama, one more than UA had allowed in its previous nine games combined.
*Redshirt freshman Kyle Tatum (Prattville) made his first career start in today's game against Arkansas, subbing for Ahmad Childress at the right defensive tackle position. Tatum made his Alabama debut last weekend in the loss to Northern Illinois and played 18 snaps on the defensive line.

*Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones 39-yard touchdown run with 12:08 left in the first quarter is the longest run from scrimmage against  Alabama this season.  The previous long was a 21-yard run by Northern Illinois' Michael
Turner in last week's game.

*True freshman defensive tackle Dominic Lee (Birmingham) made his Alabama debut at right defensive tackle in the first quarter of today's game with Arkansas.

*True freshman receiver Tyrone Prothro (Heflin) made his Alabama debut at wide receiver in the second quarter and his first rushing attempt came on a reverse that failed to gain a yard at the Razorbacks 43-yard line.

*Sophomore quarterback Spencer Pennington (Fayette) replaced Croyle at quarterback with 1:10 left in the second quarter when the Alabama starting QB left the game with an injury.  Pennington drove the Crimson Tide to the Razorbacks 32-yard line where junior place kicker Brian Bostick tied the game with 48-yard FG on the last play of the half.  Pennington was 3-for-7 for 22 yards on the drive as the Crimson Tide tied the score at intermission.

*Bostick's (Cullman) career long 48-yard field on the last play of the first half tied the game at 10-10.  Bostick's previous long was a 44-yard FG in the loss to Oklahoma (Sept. 6) earlier this season.

*Senior split end Dre Fulgham (Montevallo) gave Alabama a 17-10 lead with 13:28 left in the third quarter when he hauled in a 71-yard TD pass from Croyle.  With Alabama facing a third-and-one at its own 29-yard line, Croyle found a wide open Fulgham streaking down the middle of the field for the go-ahead scored.

*The 71-yard TD reception is the longest reception by Fulgham in his Alabama career.  The 71-yard pass is the longest touchdown pass for Croyle in his UA career.  Croyle's longest career pass completion was a 75-yard pass to Shaud Williams last year against Arkansas in Fayetteville.

*Fulgham finished the game with two catches for 83 yards and a career-high two touchdowns.

*Croyle finished the game completing 12 of 25 passes for 204 yards and a career-high three TD passes.  Croyle's previous best was two TD passes in his first career start last year against Arkansas in Fayetteville.

*Following the 71-yard TD pass, Alabama forced a turnover on the very next play as junior cornerback Anthony Madison picked off a Matt Jones pass at the UA 48-yard line and returned the ball 29 yards to the Arkansas 23-yard line.  Alabama scored three plays later, when Croyle fired a 12-yard TD strike to an open Fulgham in the back of the end zone to give Bama a 24-10 lead with 11:50 left in the third quarter.

*The interception was the first turnover forced by the Alabama defense in 16 quarters, dating back to the second quarter of the South Florida game in the 2003 season opener.  Madison's 29-yard interception return was his first career interception for the Crimson Tide.  Alabama forced three turnovers in the loss to Arkansas and has now forced six turnovers this season.

*Alabama senior halfback Shaud Williams (Andrews, Texas) had 19 rushing attempts for 135 yards and one TD in the loss to Arkansas.  Williams recorded his second career 80-yard touchdown run against Arkansas as he burst up the middle for a score with 7:21 left in the third quarter to give Alabama a 31-10 lead.  Last year in Fayetteville, Williams had an 80-yard TD
run on the very first play of the football game to give the Crimson Tide a 7-0 lead en route to a 30-12 win.

*With the 80-yard TD run in the third quarter, Williams becomes the second player in Alabama football history to record two touchdown runs or 80 or more yards in his career.  The other Alabama running back with two career TDs runs of 80 or more yards is Calvin Culliver, who had an 87-yard TD run against Virginia Tech in 1973 and an 85-yard TD run against Vanderbilt in 1974.

*Alabama scored 17 points in the third quarter against Arkansas to take a 31-17 into the final quarter. In last year's win at Fayetteville, Alabama scored 17 points in the first quarter to take a 17-0 lead.  The Crimson Tide offense had 188 total yards in the quarter, including seven rushes for 106 yards and 3-of-4 passing for 82 yards.

*Sophomore cornerback Charlie Peprah (Plano, Texas) recorded his sixth career interception in today's loss to Arkansas.

University of Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula Post-Game Quotes

"Unfortunately we came up short. The effort was great. The execution at times was brilliant, at times it was not. We had some missed opportunities, some penalties that hurt us, the missed field goal and the interception that's uncharacteristic of Brodie (Croyle). We just have to find a way to overcome this. And we're going to do it together. We're looking for answers right now."
"It was as brilliant as we've played all year. We had the short-yardage play, two beautiful play action fakes by Brodie and Dre (Fulgham) and then the long one by Shaud (Williams). We knew there was a lot of football left and we didn't relax at all."
"The defense was on the field a lot. They did get turnovers and we scored off them and they were helpful."
"There's no rest for the weary. They are a great football team but we have to find a way to bounce back and we're going to do that together."             

University of Alabama Player Quotes

Dre Fulgham:

"We should have won. Everybody in here is disappointed. We had them on the ropes. We should have taken care of them when we could have."
"I think our receivers played a pretty good ballgame. It's just frustrating right now, knowing we should win and we don't."
Anthony Madison:

"It's a tough loss. We shot ourselves in the foot. We had the game won. We should have gone ahead and closed it out. We had some foolish penalties in the game which cost us. Arkansas is a great team. I give all the respect to them. But there is no way they should have won that game. We should have come out with the victory."
"It's good for the defense. We've been working hard as a team, the defense as a whole, trying to get takeaways. It's something we practiced a lot this week. All the guys stepped up and made some plays. It's just something that we knew we needed to do. Whatever we needed, we just tried to come up with the big play."
Justin Smiley:

"It felt great to get out there and get my feet wet again. I've been missing it. I've got to contribute to the team. It was just really good to get back out there."
"We got some breaks and then we did some things that went against us. It was just one of those games where we needed one thing to go right for us, and it didn't seem to happen for us. I don't think I've seen anything in my life like this. Everything was going right for us. We had all the momentum on our side and we blew a 21 point lead. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it in my life.  We will bounce back."

University of Arkansas Head Coach Houston Nutt Postgame Quotes
Opening Comments-
"We had some guys that refused to quit.  They could have easily said that's it at 31-10.  There were some heroes tonight.  It's a tough place to play and we had them at their best and we knew that.  We had a lot of things to overcome."
"We were very patient.  It's not our game to come out throwing.  I think that's what helped us win the game."
On coming from behind-
"It was 31-10 and Shaud Williams was running wild and I'm thinking 'Oh no, here we go again.'  It was pretty gloomy.  At 31-17 we got a little confidence.  When we scored the one to make it 31-24 they said 'We're going to win this.'  It's just perseverance and character."
On quarter Matt Jones-
"Matt has ice water in his veins; he's cool under pressure."
On the interception in OT-
"It was a great momentum change; it won the game for us."

University of Arkansas Players Quotes

#4 Cedric Cobbs
"I felt that we had a team good enough to face adversity and still give all we had and pull this one out. I thought that after I fumbled that I would never forgive myself if we lost the game. But this win took everyone, it took the defense to stop them in overtime, everything just played out in the end."
"We have a team of champions, when there was time left on the clock, we knew that we had what we needed to get back in it, we felt that if we could get into overtime, our offense would do what it could to win. God played a big part in this."  
#22 Tony Bua
"You have to give Alabama a lot of credit, they have a tremendous team. They didn't quit, they have an unbelievable team. We were just fortunate to win the game."
"Absolutely not, absolutely not, we are not that kind of team. We are a blue collar team, a hard hitting team with a lot of juniors and senior. We never gave up; we knew that if we didn't give up any more big plays we had a chance. We knew that if we gave up one more big play, we would lose this one."
#55 Chris Balserio
"I've been waiting for this opportunity for all of my life, and it came. I was just ready to go, I wasn't nervous. I have never been in this situation before, so I'm just thankful we were able to be put in position to win at the end, it was unbelievable."
"It's funny, even before the game was tied, someone mentioned the field goals that we missed early, and I said 'don't worry
about it, I'm going to win it at the end with a field goal.'"
#65 Dan Doughty
"We just had to believe in each other, our coaches came up with a great game plan, and we just had to carry it out. We knew that we were going to get (Alabama's) best. It was just one of those games, they had big plays, and we had big plays, our defense made big plays."
#9 Matt Jones

"I think both sides were wearing down a bit at the end. I thought their defense was very good. They kept their team in it until the end. The crowd noise had a little bit of an effect but once we made some big plays we were able to quieten them down a little bit."
"Sometimes you just have to get lucky. And then they missed that field goal. As far as the win, it puts us at 1-0 in the SEC. It's just one game."