FAYETTEVILLE— Even when it messes up Alabama’s offense finds a way to score.
Leading by seven points, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found Irv Smith Jr. over the middle of the field. Smith went 47 yards to the Arkansas 12-yard line before being stripped. Receiver Henry Ruggs III scooped the ball and went the remaining 12 yards for a touchdown, building a 14-point lead that would become 34 in its 65-31 win over the Razorbacks.
As it has been for most of this season, the Alabama passing attack was deadly. The combination of Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts threw for 393 yards, led primarily by Tagovailoa.
The sophomore quarterback threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns, before being replaced late in the third quarter. Three different receivers finished with a touchdown.
Smith finished with one touchdown, which came on the first play of the game.
Smith trailed out of the Alabama backfield and caught the ball at the 31-yard line. He outran the entire defense 76 yards to the end zone for the first score of the game.
Receiver Jerry Jeudy finished with a team-high two touchdowns and 135 yards, one away from his career high.
His first touchdown came on a go route, where Tagovailoa launched the ball 42 yards into Jeudy’s arms. The second came on a slant route. Jeudy caught the ball around the 50, from there Jeudy outran the Arkansas defense for a 60-yard score.
“I saw I had a lot of room, once I saw that room I just burst and ran away from the defender,” Jeudy said.
With two touchdowns, Jeudy is up to eight touchdowns on the season, halfway to Amari Cooper’s record setting 16 that came back in 2014. He has also caught two touchdowns in four of Alabama’s six wins this season.
The Crimson Tide’s running game had been below expectations for most of the season. It exploded for 246 yards, led by senior back Damien Harris.
Harris finished with two of the four rushing touchdowns and 111 yards. It was his first game over 100 yards this season.
“Even though we are playing pretty well on offense, we still love to run the ball,” Harris said. “In all honesty, any way we can put points on the board, move the ball down field and keep our defense off the field, that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Midway through the third quarter, Alabama was 0-1 on third downs. Alabama drove down to the Razorback two-yard line. It ran Harris up the middle on third down, gaining one yard. Coach Nick Saban decided to keep the offense out on the field and go for the touchdown.
Harris leaped over the line but was ruled short. The play was reviewed and reversed, for Harris’ second touchdown of the day.
“I made sure to stay on the field a little longer, and I was standing around looking at the refs like ‘ya’ll going to review that right?’ I knew I was in.’” Harris said.
Overall, the Crimson Tide had 639 yards of offense.
“It’s good to have that balance on offense where you can run the ball and throw the ball effectively at any point of the game.,” Harris said.
Alabama is home against Missouri for its only home game in the month of October, on Oct. 13.