It didn’t take Nick Saban long to get a trademark win. Three games into his first season, his team accomplished something Mike Shula was incapable of doingâ€”winning a game by coming from behind in the fourth quarter. The signature win wasn’t a thing of beauty, and it wasn’t even a typical Sabanesque performance. But when it mattered the most, Alabama made plays to win the game. The final: Alabama 41 Arkansas 38.
The Arkansas game continued to show Alabama has weaknesses. But football is about overcoming weakness.
And overcome it, they did. With lots of mistakes, John Parker Wilson could have hung it up, but he didn’t. He made plays down the stretch including a superb 73-yard scoring drive to clinch the game. Wilson finished the game with career high marks. He was 24 of 45 for 327 yards and four touchdowns.
Read the game wrap-up and then I’ve got 10 thoughts on the game below it.
Here’s the complete game wrap-up:
A few other observations about the game:
1. Nick Saban likes to talk about playing the entire game. This win illustrates his point: â€œIâ€™m certainly proud of the way our players played the game,â€ Alabama head Coach Nick Saban said. â€œWe always talk about playing for 60 minutes in the game and when you score a touchdown with eight seconds to go in the game, itâ€™s an easy way to reinforce a point. This is a tremendous victory for the University of Alabama, a tremendous victory for our players and our fans.â€
2. Saban managed the game like an expert. Leigh Tiffin has trouble hitting some kicks. Instead of going for it late in the fourth quarter, Saban kicked a field goal to put the Tide down four points. Why? It is obvious the game wasn’t yet on the line. Less pressure on the kicker resulted in a 42-yard field goal.
3. 31 points were scored in the fourth quarter. That might just be more dramatic than the 1985 Iron Bowl. I doubt we’ll see many more games with that many points scored in the fourth quarter with Saban building the defense. At least, my cardiologist hopes this is the last season of it.
4. Houston Nutt is a good coach. I know it is fashionable to trash the Arkansas head coach; however, it is freaking Arkansas. What can he do there? It isn’t like he is playing in a pansy conference like the Big East or ACC. Nutt does a good job with what he has. I’d say Nutt has done more than any recent Razorback coach. I’ll continue to pull for the guy.
5. Arkansas netted 301 yards rushing. If you had told me before the game that fact, I’d have said Alabama lost.
6. Both teams tied for 450 yards of total offense. Wowzorz.
7. This was the first time since the 2001 Independence Bowl that Alabama has won by coming from behind in the fouth quarter.
8. Caddell wasn’t the primary receiver on the play. Wilson made the decision to go to him based on his read. â€œIt was a read play. He wasnâ€™t the first guy. He was on down the progression. We were able to throw it up and he was able to make a great play.â€
9. Darren McFadden should win the Heisman Trophy. He’s a dominating back. 195 yards on 33 carries and tallied two rushing touchdowns. He also hauled in three catches for 16 yards, according to the game notes. McFadden received a (light) concussion, which limited him at the end of the game.
10. D.J. Hall was spectacular. He proves he is one of the best players in college football with amazing grabs. His 172-yard receiving performance was a thing for the highlight reelâ€”certainly, it was a Crimson Classic. Speaking of, how long until this game makes it on there?