By Laura Owens

Special to


HOOVER – Arkansas senior quarterback Austin Allen had a career passing day last year against Alabama, but it did not come without some pain.

Allen threw for a career-high 400 yards against Alabama’s stubborn defense. He also had three interceptions and was sacked seven times.

“(Alabama’s defense) didn’t take any plays off,” Allen recalled from the 49-30 loss. “Their D-line was full-go from opening kickoff until final whistle.”

That relentlessness is what stood out to Austin as being particularly special about the Crimson Tide’s defense.

“It seemed like they were always in the right spot at the right time,” he said.

For however tough Alabama’s defense was to face, Allen said the most valuable thing he got from that game was the experience of facing a defense like that.

“You know, playing in that environment and understanding how good you have to play to beat a team like that,” he said.

Allen led the Southeastern Conference last year both in total passing yards (3,430) and yards per attempt (8.3). He had 25 touchdowns throwing, three of which came against Alabama.

“We kind of got down (against Alabama) where we had to start throwing the ball, and I didn’t play flawless by any means … but I thought our wideouts ran really good routes and got open,” he said. “I think that’s what it came down to. Those guys ran solid routes, got open; my job was just to put the ball in the right place at the right time.”

In a season that promises solid quarterback performance in the SEC, Allen has the chance to be among the top of that list.

“Austin’s a smart dude,” said Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. “…To be a starting quarterback in the SEC is not an easy task on the field or off the field. You got a lot of things coming at you. For him to survive and learn and to go through it a year ago gets me very excited.”