Although Bryce Young was injured during the game, No. 2 Alabama came back to beat No. 20 Arkansas 49-26 and improve to 5-0 with the victory at Razorback Stadium. Arkansas is now 3-2 on the season. The Crimson Tide offence appeared to be in cruise control early in the game, but the Razorbacks scored 23 unanswered points, and the Tide surged back to win the game in the fourth quarter.
Heisman champion and Alabama quarterback Young threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Kobe Prentice in the first quarter, helping the Tide to a 14-0 lead. While attempting to throw the ball away.
Young was tackled by the ankles and fell awkwardly, injuring his shoulder. He had to leave the game in the second quarter. In his place, backup quarterback Jalen Milroe guided the Tide to a 28-0 victory.
Yet, Arkansas scored right before halftime, beginning a frantic comeback effort in the third period. An unexpected onside kick was recovered by the Hogs, and they scored early in the third to make it 28-14.
After limiting Arkansas to a field goal, Alabama’s punter muffed the snap, giving the Hogs the ball inside the 5-yard line on their subsequent possession. The Razorbacks scored fast and now trail by only three points, 28-23.
All of a sudden, though, things got boring. With the game already out of reach, Milroe ripped off a 77-yard run to set up a touchdown, and on the ensuing drive, running back Jahmyr Gibbs sprinted 72 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score to 42-23. Gibbs rushed for 206 yards and scored once on the ground, a 76-yarder that came midway through the fourth quarter.
Young ended the game with 173 passing yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 score on 8 rushing yards, despite being injured. Milroy went 4 for 9 for 65 yards, but Alabama could muster up only 3 passing yards in the second half.
However, in the second half, the Tide outgained the Hogs 241-228, leading to a victory by a score of 42 or more for the eighth year in a row against their SEC West opponents. Running back Rocket Sanders led Arkansas with 101 yards on 22 touches and a touchdown.
First, Young’s popularity will be the only thing everybody considers. At the start of the second half, Young was still standing on the sidelines in full dress and with his helmet on, but Alabama categorised him as doubtful to return.
It was Milroy, though, who broke the huddle with the rest of Alabama’s offence when they took the field. Alabama had a 21-point lead at the time, so the plan was for Young to sit on the bench as long as possible. Young would come back if Arkansas made a contest of it. After Arkansas closed the gap to 28-23 with Milroe still on the field, all hope was lost.
If you’re a supporter of the Alabama team, that should give you pause. Indications are strong that Young will not be available for next week’s game if he was not well enough to return in the second half. There, the Crimson Tide will face off against a Texas A&M squad that defeated them last year.
As the box score versus Mississippi State attests, the Aggies’ offence has been abysmal, but their defence has held strong. The following week, Alabama travels to Tennessee; without Young, they would take a major hit against the Volunteers’ high-powered offence.