Well, that wasn’t near bout as easy as we were hoping it’d be, was it? We weren’t expecting to be behind with 1:50 left in the third quarter, but there we were, with a first and 10 on our own 19 and the Pigs ahead 7-3. At that point, it was beginning to look like the offense was never going to get it going. But on the first play of the series a beautiful thing happened: Jake Coker (who had been shakey all night) lofted a pass to a wide open Calvin Ridley for an 81 yard TD, putting the Tide ahead 10-3 and turning the game around.
But the really big play came from the defense to get the ball so that this beautiful thing could happen. On the previous Arkansas possession, the Hawgs had a 3rd and 5 at their own 45. It was time for another stop on the part of the defense and they got it, thanks to Dalvin Tomlinson who knocked down a Brandon Allen pass which could have given the Pigs a critical first down in Bama territory. This play forced an Arkansas punt which was fair caught by Cy Jones the Tide 19 — and that was followed by the beautiful thing that put the Tide ahead in the game.
The third big play came on the next Arkansas possession. The Hawgs faced a 4th and 5 at their own 41. Inexplicably, Bret Bielema caledl for a fake punt. Punter Toby Baker rumbled and stumbled for a grand total of 2 yards, leaving the RazorPigs 3 whole yards short of a first down — and giving the Tide the ball on their 43 yard-line — from which they proceeded to drive for their second touchdown making the score 17-7 and basically ending the game. So, within a 5 minute period Alabama went from being behind, struggling and unsure on offense and as uncomfortable as Phil Robertson at a White House reception for Hillary Clinton, to being ahead by ten points and completely in control of the game. Thank you notes are in the mail to Coach Bielema and the Pigs’ Special Teams’ coach.
The defense had another magnificent game. They are about as good as we could hope — even with the weaknesses in the defensive backfield. But the quarterback play continues to be wobbly and inconsistent. Apparently, Jake Coker has a constitutional inability to throw off his front foot and that continues to cause a great deal of heartburn. That, along with Lane Kiffin’s belief that we must play like a PAC 12 team when we get inside the 10 yard-line, are the main concerns for the offense. The key continues to be turnovers — or, more particularly, not giving up turnovers. If we can stop giving the bad guys the ball deep in our own territory, we’ll be fine.
But, you know what guys? At least we ain’t Georgia! Hopes for another championship are still alive. Win number 3 of the “Must-Win” games is in the books and now we can turn our attention to College Station this coming Saturday. The Aggies are one the five teams on the schedule to take their off-week before they play the Tide, so while Bama was clawing and scratching to beat the Hawgs, the Agricultural & Mechanical school was sitting in Laz-e-Boyz, enjoying those drinks with the little umbrellas in em, and eating those little bar-b-qued weenies. So we’ll see how that’ll work out for them.
But for now, let’s all give thanks for another victory. Three down, six more to go.