Oct. 14, 2013
The University of Alabama football team returns home for a stretch of three straight Southeastern Conference games beginning with the Arkansas Razorbacks this Saturday. The game marks the start of the second half of the 2013 season as the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks square off on ESPN with kickoff set for 6 p.m. CDT. Brad Nessler will serve as the play-by-play announcer, with Todd Blackledge at his side as the color analyst. The two will be joined by sideline reporter Holly Rowe. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart serving as sideline reporter.
RANKINGS: Alabama enters week eighth of the 2013 season ranked first in the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches polls. Arkansas is unranked.
ARKANSAS: Arkansas is under the direction of first-year head coach Brett Bielema, who took the reins of the Razorbacks' program after seven seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin. The Razorbacks are 3-4 in 2013 and in the middle of a four game losing streak after a 52-7 defeat by South Carolina last weekend. Arkansas is 0-3 in Southeastern Conference with losses to No. 10 Texas A&M (Sept. 28) and at No. 18 Florida (Oct. 5). Brandon Allen quarterbacks the Hogs and has thrown for 864 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. His leading receiver is Javontee Herndon with 18 receptions for 288 yards and four touchdowns. True freshman Alex Collins leads Arkansas and ranks third in the SEC with an average of 102.9 yards per game on the ground and four touchdowns.
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 13-8 (16-7 before forfeited and vacated games), and has won six straight in the series after a 52-0 win in Fayetteville last season. The Tide has also won four straight in Tuscaloosa by an average margin of 34.5-18 while the average margin of victory during the current six-game streak is 39.8-15.5. Alabama and Arkansas first met on January 1, 1962, as the Tide defeated the Razorbacks 10-3 in the Sugar Bowl en route to Alabama's sixth national championship.
THE ALABAMA/ARKANSAS SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 13-8 (16-7 before forfeited and vacated games). The most recent meeting occurred on September 15, 2012, when the Crimson Tide posted a 52-0 victory over the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. The Tide has won straight games in the series by an average margin of 39.8-15.5 and four straight games in Tuscaloosa by an average score of 34.5-18. Alabama and Arkansas first met on January 1, 1962, as the Tide defeated the Razorbacks 10-3 in the Sugar Bowl en route to Alabama's sixth national championship. The Tide's last loss to the Razorbacks was in double overtime on September 23, 2006, by a score of 24-23 in Fayetteville. Arkansas' last win in Tuscaloosa was a 34-31 win in 2003 in double overtime.
ARKANSAS SERIES IN THE SABAN ERA: The Crimson Tide is undefeated against the Razorbacks since head coach Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa with a 6-0 record. Many of the series highs for Alabama have come in the past four years under Saban. Last year's 52-0 victory in Fayetteville marked the most points and the largest margin of victory in the series. In 2008, Saban's first trip to Fayetteville (LSU played Arkansas in Little Rock during his time in Baton Rouge), the Crimson Tide scored 49 points, in large part because of dominance on the ground with the Tide picking up a series-high 328 rushing yards. The Alabama defense was successful in 2009 in making the Razorbacks' offense one-dimensional by holding Arkansas to a series-low 63 rushing yards, while the Tide's Greg McElroy threw for a then-career-best 291 yards and three touchdowns. In 2010, No. 1 ranked Alabama posted a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over No. 10 Arkansas at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. Junior running back Mark Ingram rushed for 157 yards on 24 attempts and scored two touchdowns. In 2011, Trent Richardson racked up 211 total yards on the day (126 rushing, 85 receiving) including a touchdown reception, while AJ McCarron finished the game 15 of 20 for 200 yards and two touchdown passes. Marquis Maze added an 83-yard punt return for a score. In the last five games against the Razorbacks, the Tide has outscored Arkansas 198-55.
SABAN VS. ARKANSAS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 8-2 (9-2 before the 2007 vacated win) all-time against Arkansas, with his only two losses coming in his first three years at Louisiana State. Saban's losses to Arkansas came in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Ark.. Saban has never lost a game to Arkansas in Baton Rouge, Fayetteville or Tuscaloosa.
NEXT GAME: Alabama welcomes Tennessee to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the two program's traditional October rivalry game. The Crimson Tide has won six straight in the series and four straight in Tuscaloosa.