TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — AJ McCarron threw three touchdown passes and Kenyan Drake rushed for 104 yards and two scores to lead No. 1 Alabama to a 52-0 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) rolled to a 28-0 halftime lead and easily avoided catching the upset bug that struck other SEC powers. Alabama has won by the same margin over Arkansas two years running.
It’s the first time Alabama has shut out an SEC opponent two years in a row since wins over Mississippi State in 1973-74.
The Razorbacks (3-5, 0-4) have dropped five straight games —the longest losing streak of Bret Bielema’s head coaching career — and were coming off a 52-7 loss to No. 11 South Carolina.
The Tide outgained Arkansas 532-256 in total yards, getting 352 on the ground.
McCarron was 15-of-21 passing for 180 yards in three quarters, including touchdowns of 4, 30 and 17 yards.
Drake needed just eight carries to reach 100 yards for the second straight week. T.J. Yeldon had 88 yards and a 24-yard touchdown on 12 carries. Yeldon caught four passes for 45 yards.
Freshman Derrick Henry ran for 111 yards on six carries, all in the fourth quarter and most of it on an 80-yard touchdown in the final minute. The Razorbacks had allowed only eight rushing touchdowns in the first seven games, but gave up four Saturday.
Arkansas’ Brandon Allen continued to struggle in the team’s fourth consecutive game against a ranked team. He completed 7 of 25 passes for 91 yards with two interceptions.
The Tide also managed to contain Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, who both came in ranked among the SEC’s top seven rushers. Collins ran for 77 yards on 18 carries and Williams had 13 rushes for 48 yards.
Alabama has allowed just one touchdown and 16 points in its last five games.
The offense pounded away at Arkansas but also produced some big plays, especially in the first half.
Drake bounced off tight end Brian Vogler at the line and burst outside for a 46-yard touchdown.
Amari Cooper, easily the Tide’s best receiver as a freshman, caught his first touchdown pass of the season. He dropped one ball on the sideline then caught a near-perfect throw from McCarron on the next play for the TD.
Freshman tight end O.J. Howard added a 17-yard catch for his first career touchdown in the third quarter.
Defensively, Alabama got one veteran safety back but might have lost another.
Vinnie Sunseri left the game with an apparent leg injury in the first quarter. He limped off the field after helping cover a kick, headed to the locker room and didn’t return to the game.
Free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix returned from a two-game suspension and picked off a tipped pass for his first interception of the season after Arkansas moved into Alabama territory on its second drive.
Clinton-Dix was reinstated by the NCAA on Friday after reportedly accepting a short-term loan from an assistant strength and conditioning coach.