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Tide edges out Razorbacks in homecoming win

It was not the strongest of starts for the Crimson Tide offense during homecoming on Saturday afternoon against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Perhaps you can chalk it up to the 11 a.m. start time with Alabama earning just one first down across its first two drives, but it did not take long for Jalen Milroe and company to get it going.

After allowing back-to-back long field goals from Arkansas star kicker Cam Little from 55 and 49 yards and going down 6-0 late in the first quarter, the Tide offense turned it on.

Alabama would score touchdowns on three straight possessions to take a 21-6 lead into halftime. Milroe got the action started with a high deep-ball to Kobe Prentice that Prentice adjusted beautifully for on 3rd and 14 that went for a 79-yard touchdown:

After forcing an Arkansas three-and-out, Milroe and the offense got right back out there with an impressive 10-play, 83-yard drive that ended in a Milroe QB-sneak for a 1-yard score. The biggest play of this drive was a strike on 3rd and 16 to Ja’Corey Brooks to put Alabama in the red zone.

The final score of the first half came on an absolutely beautiful toss to a wide-open Amari Niblack for a 29-yard TD:

The second half was a completely different story than the first for Alabama, with the Crimson Tide unable to find the end zone in the entire second half. A 77-yard drive where the run game was extremely effective via Jamarion Miller and Roydell Williams ended in a Will Reichard 30-yard field goal.

Arkansas was able to score their first touchdown of the game near the end of the third with a long drive that ended in a KJ Jefferson 5-yard touchdown to Isaiah Sategna.

Offensive line issues in pass protection continued all afternoon for Alabama, with Milroe being sacked five times through the third quarter. While the Tide offense went stagnant, Arkansas was able to get right back into the game, pulling within 3 with 11 minutes left.

A 70-yard touchdown drive for the Hogs marked by missed tackles and blown coverages followed by a 2-point conversion cut the Alabama lead to 24-21.

Alabama immediately went three-and-out after Arkansas cut the lead and gave the Hogs the ball back trailing by three. A huge sack by Dallas Turner stopped a promising Arkansas drive and gave Alabama the ball back with around five minutes left.

The Crimson Tide took advantage of the opportunity, never giving Arkansas the ball back after a risky Milroe throw on 2nd down to Amari Niblack while he was getting hit worked out and ultimately put the game away:

It was far from perfect for Alabama on Saturday afternoon, with the Crimson Tide nearly blowing a 24-6 lead. A disastrous third quarter for the offense that allowed Arkansas back into the game and saw Jalen Milroe finish the game 10/21 will offer plenty of teaching moments.

Moving forward, the Tide must figure out how to avoid offensive stagnation and keep their foot on the gas and play for a full 60 minutes rather than the tale of two halves that Saturday afternoon provided.

But a win is a win, and Alabama survives another day in their fight for the College Football Playoff.

Follow Michael Brauner on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP

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