GIMME FIVE — KEYS TO TODAY’S GAME
1. Stop the Run
Arkansas’ pass defense has struggled, but stopping Alabama’s power run game remains priority No. 1. The Crimson Tide is averaging 221.5 rushing yards in the last four games vs. Arkansas. So limiting T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy is critical.
2. Win Turnover Battle
Arkansas has lost the turnover battle in both games, but the statistic must change to beat Alabama. Consider this: The Crimson Tide is 50-6 since 2008 and there’s a common them in the six losses? Alabama lost the turnover battle each time.
3. Protect Your Quarterback
No one has forgotten the beating Tyler Wilson endured at Alabama in 2011. He isn’t expected to play today, but Arkansas’ line must protect the quarterback no matter who starts. The Hogs won’t win with shoddy line play against the Tide.
4. Sound on Special Teams
Alabama has notched a punt return touchdown in two of the past three wins against Arkansas. Special teams blunders have played a big role in the series. So Arkansas can’t afford to give away points, or field position, on special teams today.
5. Make McCarron Uncomfortable
Alabama has a strong line, but quarterback AJ McCarron has hit the ground eight times in two games. Arkansas’ secondary has struggled to cover receivers this season, so putting heat on McCarron to disrupt timing is vital for the Hogs.
— Robbie Neiswanger