ARK-ALA FB 11/20/21

The Razorbacks run onto the field before Saturday’s game against Alabama. The No. 2 Crimson Tide knocked off No. 21 Arkansas 42-35 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The No. 21 Razorback football team fought hard but fell short in a 42-35 loss against the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“We did not come here to lose by seven, we came here to win the game,” Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman said following the game. “We just ran into a team that was seven points better than us tonight.”

The Arkansas offense started the game off sluggishly, with three punts and a fumble on its first four drives, and relied on the defense to pick up the slack.

The Razorbacks came up with a big fourth down stop early in the first quarter with Alabama driving, and it held the Crimson Tide to a field goal after fumbling the football deep in Arkansas territory.

It was a defensive battle at the end of the first quarter with Alabama holding a slim 3-0 lead.

From there, both offenses caught fire in a high-scoring second quarter that featured a Bryce Young touchdown pass to John Metchie on the first play of the period.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback KJ Jefferson and the Arkansas offense quickly responded, as Jefferson hit junior wide receiver Treylon Burks for a 15-yard touchdown pass that cut the Alabama lead to 10-7 with just over 11 minutes to play in the half.

“Treylon had a great game today,” Jefferson said. “We both got in the film room and looked at stuff we could correct, just me and him, just one-on-one. Stuff that we could help the offense move the ball down the field. And today I just gave him a chance and he made plays.”

After the dust settled on a quarter in which the teams scored 35 total points, Alabama went into the locker room holding a 24-14 advantage.

The third quarter picked up right where the first half left off, as the Crimson Tide scored on its first drive of the period to extend its lead to 31-14.

Facing third-and-short on the Arkansas 34-yard line, Jefferson threw a pass up to Burks, who came down with it and scampered 66 yards for a touchdown that cut the Alabama lead to 31-21 with just over 10 minutes to play in the third quarter.

The Razorback defense held Alabama to a field goal the rest of the quarter, and the Hogs trailed 34-21 going into the game’s final 15 minutes.

Facing fourth-and-9 at the Alabama 32-yard line, redshirt junior punter Reid Bauer hit redshirt senior tight end Blake Kern with a touchdown pass on a fake field goal — Arkansas’ second successful attempt in as many weeks — that cut the deficit to six with just over 11 minutes left in the ballgame.

“The defense was standing on the sidelines with our helmets on, we were ready just in case anything happened,” redshirt senior linebacker Grant Morgan said. “We ran it all week, we saw it all week, they’ve done well doing it and we knew Kern ran it great.”

Redshirt senior defensive back Montaric Brown ripped the ball away from Alabama tight end Cameron Latu and recovered it at the Arkansas 1-yard line, giving the Hogs possession and a chance to take the lead with fewer than nine minutes to play.

“That was a big play for us,” Pittman said. “(Brown has) been big all year for us.”

After a three-and-out, Young threw a strike to Williams for a 40-yard touchdown pass to extend the Alabama lead to 14 with just over five minutes to play in the contest. It was Young’s fifth passing touchdown of the game to accompany his 559 yards.

“I feel like every other week we’ve got somebody who’s up for the Heisman we’re playing,” Morgan said. “Bryce is a very good athlete, he’s a very good player. You can see how he extended plays throughout the game with his feet.”

Jefferson found freshman running back Rocket Sanders in the corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 1:02 to play in the game, cutting the Alabama lead to 42-35.

Freshman kicker Cameron Little could not convert an onside kick, and it sealed the win and the Southeastern Conference West Division title for Alabama.

“We’re not into moral victories, but at the end of the day, that’s a really good ball club,” Morgan said. “They’re well-coached, they’ve got a great offense. We’re going to leave here, we’re going to focus on Missouri, we’re going to put this behind us, we’re going to flush this as fast as we can. We’re still on the rise.”

The Hogs will host the Missouri Tigers at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the regular season finale. At stake is Arkansas’ first eight-win season since 2015 and its first victory over Missouri since the same year. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

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