Rapid Reaction: Upset? Please. Alabama again shows why it's No. 1
No. 2 Clemson lost. No. 8 Washington State got destroyed. No. 10 Auburn fell. No. 11 Miami and No. 12 Oklahoma escaped.
No. 1 Alabama?
Saturday, Arkansas took its turn, falling 41-9 at Bryant-Denny. It was the Tide’s fourth consecutive SEC victory this season, and the combined margin is bordering on unnecessary roughness: 193-31.
Alabama brought the pain from the opening whistle.
One week after he erased a rare deficit with a 75-yard touchdown run, this time Damien Harris wasted no time. He raced 75 yards on Alabama’s first play for a touchdown. Simple handoff, a foot plant, a broken tackle, a field reversal and off he went, untouched the rest of the way. A play designed to get 4 yards produced seven points.
Alabama off to a strong start with a 75-yard TD run by Damien Harris. pic.twitter.com/ke5rnmjmyy
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 14, 2017
Harris’ second touchdown might have been more impressive. What it lacked in yardage, it more than made up for in physicality. Trapped behind the line, Harris broke a tackle and retreated a yard farther while trying to get to the edge.
Once there, he encountered three more Arkansas defenders. It was an Oklahoma drill at that point. Harris lowered his shoulder and bounced off one, slid through another for a 4-yard touchdown.
Seven minutes into the game, Alabama led 17-0 and had yet to allow a first down.
Rat poison for everybody.
Alas, the only thing more unstoppable than the Tide right now is Nick Saban’s unrelenting pursuit of perfection.
After Jalen Hurts was sacked to force a rare punt, Saban was pacing the sidelines, waving his arms. Henry Ruggs III fumbled three consecutive punts, losing the second one. Hurts threw an interception, snapping his streak of 207 passes without one.
It didn’t matter. LSU looks more formidable now than it did two weeks ago, but none of it might matter until the Tide ventures to The Plains on Nov. 25.
Arkansas was without injured starting quarterback Austin Allen. Backup Cole Kelley did what he could, which is a polite way of saying the Hogs were doomed from the start.
Alabama has allowed three touchdowns in its past four games. It didn’t matter that the offense actually punted on three consecutive possessions for the first time since the opener against Florida State.
Hurts responded to his first interception of the season by leading Bama on a 78-yard drive, capping it with his first touchdown pass of the game. Who caught it? Who else? Ruggs, whose four receptions this season have all produced touchdowns.
Earlier, Hurts ran for a score — no surprise there — allowing him to double dip in the scoring column for the fifth time this season.
Alabama topped 300 yards rushing, again. Harris led the way with 125.
Mack Wilson, best known for destroying returners, made a diving catch for an interception, increasing the Tide’s SEC-leading total to 10. Later, Wilson got back to his crushing ways, stopping a touchdown with a bruising hit at the 1.
Everybody wants to talk about the gap Alabama has created in the SEC. After a wild week in which so many contenders lost or struggled, it’s fair to stretch that conversation to the rest of the country.