Bama-Arkansas grades: Crimson Tide D shuts down Razorbacks in blowout

Alabama's pass rush gets pressure on Arkansas QB Austin Allen on a ridiculous 69 percent of his dropbacks.

| 2 weeks ago
(Wesley Hitt, Getty Images)

(Wesley Hitt, Getty Images)

Bama-Arkansas grades: Crimson Tide D shuts down Razorbacks in blowout

Alabama Crimson Tide 49, Arkansas Razorbacks 30

Here are the biggest takeaways and top-graded players from Alabama’s 49-30 win over Arkansas:

Alabama Crimson Tide

Quarterback grade: Jalen Hurts, 72.7

Hurts finished the game with an average grade, but that is more indicative of what he was asked to do rather than his play not being impressive. He was rested by midway through the fourth quarter and dropped back to pass just 18 times in the game. What really helped was how little pressure he was under, with the Arkansas defense getting there on just four of those 18 dropbacks. Perfect on throws either behind the line of scrimmage, or up to 19 yards downfield, Hurts took what the defense gave him and kept moving the chains when needed, behind a dominant running game.

Top offensive grades:

TE O.J. Howard, 76.4

C Bradley Bozeman, 75.8

OT Cam Robinson, 74.2

OT Jonah Williams, 73.1

WR ArDarius Stewart, 71.6

Dominant running game powers Alabama

With big runs from three different running backs, Alabama’s running game found the big plays to blow this game open. Damien Harris finished as the team’s leading rusher, rushing for 118 yards, including a 57-yard run off the left end. He benefited from good blocking, with just 38 of his yards coming after contact. That wasn’t the case for Bo Scarborough, who had his best game since arriving at Alabama, with 41 of his 56 yards coming after contact. True freshman Joshua Jacobs saw just three carries before leaving the game injured, but that was enough time for an impressive 56-yard run, although he did fumble to end that drive. One player who really stood out as a run-blocker was tight end O.J. Howard. Whether it was sealing defensive ends at the line of scrimmage, or linebackers at the second level, he did his part to keep defenders from the running backs.

Top defensive grades:

CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, 88.7

LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, 83.9

ED Tim Williams, 82.5

ED Terrell Hall, 81.8

S Ronnie Harrison, 80.3

Pressure, pressure, pressure

What Alabama did to Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen on Saturday night really can’t be overstated. Allen dropped back to pass 61 times, and was under pressure on 42 of those plays. That’s 68.9 percent of his dropbacks. To put that into context, Allen was pressured on 37.8 percent of his dropbacks through the first five weeks of the season — one of the highest rates in the nation. Combined, the Alabama defense finished the game with 46 total pressures, including seven sacks and nine quarterback hits. Seven different players registered at least four pressures, including backup edge defender Terrell Hall, who managed to register a sack and four hurries, despite rushing the passer just eight times. One of the most dominant team performances you’ll ever see from a pass-rushing standpoint, they made life miserable for the Arkansas quarterback. CB Minkah Fitzpatrick earned the highest grade of the game, including his 100-plus-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Quarterback grade: Austin Allen, 63.2

This was definitely Allen’s worst game of the year so far, but with the amount of pressure he was faced with, it’s hard to blame him too much. He’s performed very well under pressure so far this year, but completed just 35.5 percent of his passes under pressure against Alabama. When he was given enough time, he went 14-for-18 for 216 yards and a touchdown, but even with his early-season performances in the face of pressure, the sheer volume he faced added up on Saturday night.


Top offensive grades:

C Frank Ragnow, 82.1

WR Jared Cornelius, 78.6

OT Dan Skipper, 69.3

WR Dominique Reed, 68.1

WR Keon Hatcher, 67.6

Cornelius has a big day downfield

When the Razorbacks were able to make things happen on in the passing game, wide receiver Jared Cornelius was often a big part of it. He caught five passes in the game, with three of them coming on passes 20 yards or further downfield, while he also took a short pass 57 yards. Despite Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick’s big day, Cornelius picked up 102 yards on three catches when matched up against him.

Top defensive grades:

LB Dwayne Eugene, 78.6

CB DJ Dean, 76.2

LB Dre Greenlaw, 75.1

DT Taiwan Johnson, 73.5

LB De’Jon Harris, 71.5

Wise Jr. shut out as a pass-rusher

One of the big individual matchups coming into this game was supposed to be defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. going up against Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson. With Wise Jr. splitting time between the right and left side, and Alabama able to rely on their running game as much as they were, it didn’t really happen like that, and we saw them lined up against each other when Wise rushed the passer just seven times. Still, it wasn’t a good game for him overall, managing to generate zero total pressures on 15 pass-rushing opportunities.

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.