Tagovailoa throws 4 TD as No. 1 Alabama beats Arkansas 65-31
By CHIP SOUZA, Associated Press
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Tua Tagovailoa passed for 334 yards and four touchdowns as No. 1 Alabama ran its winning streak against Arkansas to 12 straight with a 65-31 win Saturday.
It took just one play for Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) to set the tone as Tagovailoa hit tight end Irv Smith Jr. on a pass across the middle that Smith took 76 yards to the end zone and a 7-0 lead just 21 seconds into the game.
The game was never close after that. Even when Alabama made mistakes the result was at times successful. On the Crimson Tide's second possession, Tagovailoa hit Smith again, and the 6-foot-4 junior ripped off another big gain before he was stripped from behind by Ryan Pulley. Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III picked up the fumble in stride and carried it the remaining 12 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 10:01 left in the first quarter.
The margin grew to 21-0 before Arkansas (1-5, 0-3) got on the scoreboard. The Razorbacks, who have lost five straight games since a season-opening win against Eastern Illinois, drove 76 yards in eight plays as Ty Storey found success in the short passing game. Storey hit C.J. O'Grady with an 8-yard pass in the corner of the end zone.
The Arkansas defense finally stopped Alabama early in the second quarter on a key fourth down play, and moved to the Tide 5. Storey kept on second down, but was hit at the 1 and fumbled with Alabama recovering. The Tide marched 99 yards to go up 28-14 when Jerry Jeudy hauled in a Tagovailoa pass and raced 42 yards for the score.
Tagovailoa added his fourth touchdown pass late in the second quarter, again finding Jeudy for 60 yards and a 41-14 halftime lead.
Alabama added a defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter when Shyheim Carter intercepted a Storey pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. Alabama has returned four interceptions for touchdowns this season.
Alabama: Some fumble issues and shoddy defense will give coach Nick Saban more than enough to complain about after yet another easy victory. Tagovailoa has thrown 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions and has yet to throw a fourth-quarter pass. The Crimson Tide have scored 45-plus points in all six games this season, the best in program history.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks might be able to win an SEC game this season, but it was never going to happen against Alabama.
Alabama entered the game ranked No. 1 and did nothing to relinquish that position.
Alabama will host Missouri next week.
Arkansas will host Mississippi in Little Rock.
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