by: Tyler Priddy
HOT SPRINGS — It’s been fifteen years since the Razorbacks have claimed victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Will it be done again? The University of Alabama has been proclaimed one of the best teams in the SEC, with Arkansas not earning a win over them since Coach Houston Nutt. Over the last decade, Alabama has faced some tough games against Arkansas under the last five coaches since Arkansas last win in 2006. That may not be the last one. This Saturday, Alabama may lose that fifteen-year winning streak.
On Sept. 23, 2006, Arkansas met Alabama at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium and won a heated game. The Arkansas home-game was a big one, winning in double over time with a final score of 24-23. A crowd of nearly 75,000 people watched a great game, with both teams scoring against each quarter with neither scoring during the first overtime period.
This was one game where one could say two team were evenly matched. Both teams nearly balanced out with Arkansas ending ahead with 3-2 turnovers, Alabama in passing yards 285-104, Arkansas in rushing yards 172-118, and Alabama in total yards 361-269. As Nutt’s coaching career with Arkansas began to switch over to Ole Miss in after 2007, his 9th season was a good one, with a record of 10-4, and beating rivals including Ole Miss, Auburn, and Tennessee. Arkansas stayed behind Alabama until the third quarter, when Darren McFadden made a two-yard touchdown, followed by Arkansas safety Randy Kelly’s 39-yard fumble recovery. Freshman starter, Mitch Mustain, played his first season with Arkansas and was a “fresh out of high school” player who threw some great passes, such as the pass to tight end, Ben Cleveland, used to tie the game. Jeremy Davis then scored the extra point, wining the game against #22 Alabama.
In 2007, one of the biggest head coaches in the SEC, Nick Saban, began coaching in Alabama. Saban’s first Razorback game was a rough one. The Tide met the Razorbacks in Tuscaloosa on September 15 for another close game a year after their last win that ended with a victory for Alabama, 41-38. Alabama originally had a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, but Arkansas came back in the second with a 40-yard pass from Casey Dick to Crosby Truck. McFadden’s last game against Alabama game ended with 33 carries, 3 touchdowns, and 195 rushing yards. Total yards for both teams were 450, both ended with three turnovers, and Alabama ended ahead in first downs 24-22. The outcome over #16 Arkansas and Alabama turned out with a Crimson Tide victory, 41-38.
Out of the four seasons under Coach Bobby Petrino, the Arkansas went the 2010 season with a record of 10-2, and earned a loss from Ohio State at the Sugar Bowl, their first Major Bowl since the 1990 Cotton Bowl. On Sept. 25, 2010, #1 Alabama faced off against # 10 Arkansas in Fayetteville for what would be the first game two teams in the top ten would play each other at Razorback Stadium since 1979. Another nearly sold-out game, Alabama beat Arkansas by a narrow score of 24-20. With the Ryan Mallet taking the lead with the Razorbacks in passing yards, Alabama came back in the second quarter with a 54-yard carry by Mark Ingram to tie the game by the third quarter, creating a tie with Arkansas. Midway through the third, Arkansas extended their lead 20-7. By the fourth quarter, the Tide bounced back with Mark Ingram scoring three direct touchdowns on top of the extra points. As an original win was thought at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Tides turned over by the end of the game when Ingram took Alabama’s one-yard touchdown at 6:00, leaving the ending score, # Alabama 24-20.
Bret Bielema’s coaching success with Arkansas could be considered questionable with his record, but the 2014 Alabama game was Bielema’s best game his team played in regards to Saban and the Crimson Tide. On Oct. 11, 2014 #7 Alabama came to Arkansas to play a game that won by one point and was close to going into overtime. Some big plays were in this game. Arkansas had an 81-yard drive that was capped with a three-yard Jonathan Williams touchdown run. Allen also had a major 54-yard touchdown pass to A.J Derby. Arkansas quarterback, Brandon Allen, threw a total of 246- yards, Alabama’s Blake Allen 161. Arkansas also topped Alabama in both rushing yards, receiving yards, turnovers, and first downs. Surprisingly, Arkansas did not score the points they needed. Arkansas responded on the next possession with an 81-yard drive that was capped with a three-yard Jonathan Williams touchdown run.