Mac Jones, Alabama Prepare to Face Improved Arkansas Squad
The Arkansas Razorbacks (3-6) are familiar with Mac Jones.
It was against this team a year ago that Alabama quarterback’s legend began when he replaced an injured Tua Tagovailoa and led the Crimson Tide to a 48-7 victory over the Razorbacks in Bryant Denny Stadium, putting up 235 yards and three touchdowns in his first start.
Now Jones and the No. 1 Crimson Tide (9-0) travel to Fayetteville with a chance to end the SEC regular season undefeated for the fifth time in the Saban era. Alabama hasn’t lost to Arkansas since 2006, making it 13 straight victories.
The Crimson Tide are fresh off the second stop on their revenge tour, crushing their rival LSU 55-17 in Baton Rouge. Meanwhile the Razorbacks are coming off of a heartbreaking last-second loss to Missouri, 50-48.
Although it may be easy to overlook Arkansas based on record alone, this is a much improved Arkansas team under new head coach Sam Pittman. Arkansas was 2-10 last year, and winless in the SEC. This year, they already have three SEC wins. Not to mention, three of their six losses have come by three or fewer points.
Offensively, the Hogs are vastly improved. The 2019 campaign saw the Razorbacks end the season ranked 110th in the country in total offense. With the addition of Florida transfer Feliepe Franks, they have improved to 51st in the country. The team also leads the SEC in turnover margin at .89 per game.
Defensively, the Razorbacks have slightly improved from being ranked 124th to 103rd, however their defense contains standouts like linebacker Grant Morgan, the national leader in tackles with 111. Arkansas will need to have the defensive game of their life if they want any shot at stopping the Alabama offense that is fourth in the nation in yards per game and first in points among the power five conferences.
"It’s always a challenge to play on the road in the SEC and we have a lot of respect for Arkansas’ team.” Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban said Wednesday. “They play hard, they’re tough, they kind of reflect their coach’s culture and attitude of how he wants them to play. I think that it doesn’t matter what your talent level is, you’ve got to be able to match that kind of toughness and energy and intensity.”
Currently, the spread is Alabama -31.5 with the over/under being 68.5. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN at 11:00 a.m. CT or listen in for live coverage on Tide 100.9