FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas fell to 4-2 on the season and 0-2 in SEC play with its 49-30 home loss to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday.
Here’s a quick look at how the Hogs grade out from the defeat.
Quarterback Austin Allen took a beating from the tough Alabama defensive front — Allen was sacked 6 times — and the Hogs averaged 2 yards per carry. Allen threw 3 interceptions. The Arkansas offensive line continues to be a major problem. Alabama scored 2 defensive touchdowns.
But despite all of that, the offense might have played well enough — or close to well enough — to win. Allen passed for 400 yards and the Razorbacks converted half of their third-down attempts, while also scoring touchdowns on three of their five red-zone trips.
When your opponent averages more than 10 yards per play, it’s hard to earn any grade higher than a failing one. The middle of Arkansas’ defense remains a huge problem, exacerbating questions about the safeties.
The Razorbacks also missed several tackles. All told, this was a miserable performance by the defense and an impressive one by the Alabama offense, led by freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Special teams: C
Coach Bret Bielema replaced kicker Cole Hedlund with Adam McFain this week in practice, and McFain made his only field goal attempt of the game, a 25-yarder in the second quarter. Kickoff specialist Connor Limpert didn’t record any touchbacks. Redshirt freshman Deon Stewart fumbled a kickoff return.
What boosted this unit’s overall grade is senior Toby Baker, who averaged 52.8 yards per punt and continues to have an exceptional individual season.
Arkansas challenged its fans to “be louder” Saturday, and when the game kicked off, Hogs fans were terrific. It’s hard to knock them too much for quieting as the game slipped out of control for their beloved Razorbacks, or even for emptying the stadium throughout the second half.
It’s hard to know exactly how much of the responsibility for Saturday’s performance falls on the coaches vs. the players, but the bottom line is the areas of concern — offensive line and the middle of the field on defense in particular — aren’t getting better.
The only reason I kept the overall grade above the “D” level is because it was Alabama. The Crimson Tide have a tendency to make everyone look bad.