WATCH: Nick Saban's Press Conference after Arkansas
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Before Saturday’s game against Arkansas, No. 1 Alabama honored its 2009 national championship team. The Crimson Tide then went on to replicate the past title winners in a 48-7 victory over the Razorbacks.
Led by a stout defense and a controlling offensive attack, Alabama (8-0, 5-0 in the SEC) cruised to victory, beating Arkansas (2-6, 0-5) for a 13th straight time. Saturday game also served as Homecoming inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, giving the Crimson Tide is 17th straight win on the occasion.
Replacing injured Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones made his first career start at quarterback. The redshirt sophomore became the 10th starting quarterback in the Nick Saban era. His debut marked the first time a Crimson Tide starting quarterback missed a game due to injury under Saban.
Even without its All-American, Alabama’s offense didn’t miss a beat. Jones picked apart the Arkansas secondary, completing 18 of 22 passes for 235 yards with three touchdowns. Starting with a series of screens, swings and pop passes, the four-star recruit picked up confidence before hitting the Razorbacks for longer throws later in the game. He led Alabama to scores on its first five possessions, completing 12 of 15 passes for 178 yards and two scores over that span.
Jones made way for freshman Taulia Tagovailoa during Alabama’s second possession of the third quarter. The younger brother of Tua completed 6 of 8 passes for 45 yards.
Najee Harris continued his torrid run on the ground, rushing for 86 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. The five-star back was on pace to record his third straight 100-yard game before leaving the game with a knock early in the third quarter. Brian Robinson Jr. recorded 67 yards on 13 carries as Alabama totaled 179 yards on the ground.
Jerry Jeudy reached the century mark through the air for the first time in six games, pulling in seven receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Henry Ruggs III caught Jones’ first touchdown of the game and finished with four receptions for 47 yards. DeVonta Smith had four receptions for 67 yards but left the game with an injury in the second quarter and did not return. The junior sat on Alabama’s bench out of uniform in the second half.
Meanwhile, Alabama’s defense turned in its most dominant performances of the season, holding Arkansas to 213 total yards.
Trevon Diggs returned an interception 84 yards for a touchdown just before halftime to put the Crimson Tide up 41-0 at the break. The pick-six marked Alabama’s fourth straight game with a non-offensive touchdown.
Terrell Lewis was once again unguardable in pass rush, recording a whopping six quarterback hurries to go with three tackles and a pass breakup. Fellow outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings was also dominant on the opposite side of the field, recording four tackles and two pass breakups to go with his first interception of the season.
Alabama forced four turnovers on the day as Christian Harris had a 37-yard fumble recovery to go with a team-high six tackles, while Patrick Surtain II recorded an interception. Alabama has caused at least one turnover in each of its games this season with eight fumble recoveries and 10 interceptions.
Alabama will head into an open week before hosting No. 2 LSU (8-0, 4-0) on Nov. 9.
Mac Jones is 8 of 10 passing for 74-yards with 2 touchdowns to start the game. He has a rating of 208.2 😳— Kyle Henderson (@Rivals_Kyle) October 26, 2019
How many yards and touchdowns will Mac Jones throw for today against Arkansas— Kyle Henderson (@Rivals_Kyle) October 26, 2019
Our staff will provide you with non-stop coverage of Saturday's game between No. 1 Alabama and Arkansas. The Crimson Tide will host the Razorbacks at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.