Alabama went to the red zone nearly as much in this game (seven times) as Arkansas has been in four games against SEC competition (12). UA converted six of those seven trips into points of some kind, more than enough to beat the Razorbacks 48-7.

Tweet length review of the game

After which score did your interest wane? For me it was Najee Harris’ second touchdown, the one just 20 minutes into the game. That’s when I started crafting my story ideas and thinking a little bit about LSU.

Did you know?

 – UA coach Nick Saban’s emphasis on third-down defense did not go unnoticed. Alabama was allowing conversions 36.27 percent of the time, but held Arkansas to 3-for-12 on third down to get that down to 34.78 percent. UA didn’t face third and short often — just four of Arkansas’ 12 third downs had four or fewer yards to gain — but UA stopped the Razorbacks in three of those four third and shorts.

 – UA has now forced 111 turnovers since the start of the 2015 season; 24 of them have been returned for touchdowns. Thus, over four and a half seasons, Alabama has returned 21.6 percent of its turnovers for touchdowns, to make no mention of offensive points off of those turnovers, which Alabama has 79 of this year alone.

 – Alabama’s six penalties for 60 yards was an improvement — both numbers are better than five of UA’s seven games that came before it — but when the penalties came, they proved costly. Arkansas got three first downs by penalty and UA has now given opponents 22 first downs by penalty; only eight teams have granted their opponents more first downs this way.

 – On the subject of penalties, Arkansas committed zero. UA hasn’t seen an opponent play a penalty-free game since Kent State in 2016. It’s only happened five times since 2000, the other three being Ole Miss in 2011, South Carolina in 2004 and UCLA in 2001.

 – Wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jerry Jeudy are both on pace to finish the season with over 1,000 receiving yards, and Henry Ruggs III is on pace to finish with over 800 if UA only plays 13 games. Before this season, there had only been 10 900-yard receiving seasons in school history. UA could have three of them in 2019 if UA makes both the SEC Championship Game and a College Football Playoff run.

 – Outside linebacker Terrell Lewis leads the team with 12 quarterback hurries. For context, last year, Quinnen Williams and Christian Miller led the team with 12 quarterback hurries for the entire season. The highest season total of this decade by a Crimson Tide defender was Jonathan Allen’s 15 in 2016. 

What about this game will be remembered in January?

The Mac Jones show, throwing passes almost as fun to watch as his touchdown celebrations.

Quoting Nick Saban

 – “Terrell’s played really well. I thought he pressured the passer a couple of times and did a really good job of playing his position.”

 – “I think it’s always the plan with your quarterback, if you can get him a few easy completions early in the game it’s always helpful confidence-wise. We do that with Tua (Tagovailoa) even when he plays. We weren’t afraid to throw the ball down the field and we weren’t afraid to do anything we normally do with Mac. I thought he did a really good job in the game, played within himself and made good decisions. One time he could’ve thrown the ball in the flat down in the red zone and tried to hit Jerry in the corner of the end zone and overthrew it, but like I say, there’s always something. We’re always trying to be perfect: we never can be, but somewhere along the way we want to get to excellent, and we’re still working on that part.”

Quoting the Crimson Tide 

 – Jones: “I just told everybody to do their job and I thought everybody executed pretty well. Not bad, we’ll just keep working.”

 – Jones: “Tua’s a great teammate. He’s always easygoing, he doesn’t stress anybody out. It’s good to learn from him. We have a great relationship and he does a great job of keeping everybody calm.”

 – Cornerback Patrick Surtain II: “I’d probably say that’s one of my best picks, just high-pointing the ball. That’s the main part we need to do.”

 – Safety Xavier McKinney: “We always try to play good as a defense, we try to do as best as we can, and I think the offense has kind of saved us a little bit in some games, so we try to make sure we have their back and play the best we can for them so we can get the ball back in their hands.”

Quoting the opponent

 – Arkansas coach Chad Morris: “You watch them on film, and there’s not many deficiencies, and I’ve said that all week long. Even in their special teams. That’s why I was pleased with the way Sam (Loy) punted the ball tonight. Our plan was to try to get the ball up and worry more about sky and the height of the punt more than the distance of the punt to try to keep it off their return. And I thought we did some good things in that regard. There were some good things, but again, there were too many mistakes against a good opponent.”

 – Arkansas quarterback John Stephen Jones, replacing Nick Starkel in the first half: “We started putting together a few packages this week, and I practiced those a little bit so that I was ready to go.”

 – Arkansas defensive back Joe Foucha: “I think they put a pretty good plan for (Mac Jones). They kept it simple with him. With Tua (Tagovailoa) being out, I think they executed pretty well.”

Top 4

One man’s very arbitrary top four players of the game, in no particular order

 Lewis: Three tackles, one pass breakup, six quarterback hurries. As I wrote in my print-deadline story Saturday night, a case can be made that no player had a bigger role in Alabama putting the game away than Lewis, who heavily influenced two of the three interceptions. Quarterback hurries are generally a suspect stat, given there is no uniform policy for judging them and they can vary widely from school to school and even game to game, but six hurries out of this performance feels legitimate.

 Jeudy: Seven catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. It had actually been a while since Jeudy’s had a classic game of his: against Texas A&M and Tennessee, he combined for seven catches for 91 yards. He bested both of those numbers in about 40 minutes of action against Arkansas.

 Mac Jones: 18-22, 235 yards, three touchdowns. The high completion percentage was surely influenced by the pop passes in the first quarter, but when offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian took the governor chip off of him, he did not disappoint.

 Shane Lee: Six tackles, two for a loss, and a sack. One could argue Lee didn’t have as big an impact on this game as others, such as Najee Harris or Arkansas defensive back Joe Foucha and his 13 tackles, but Lee gets the nod as a show of appreciation for his continuous development. The improvement in Lee has been obvious, and while there are still deficiencies in certain areas, it is much easier to find the strengths in his current arsenal than it is to find weaknesses.

Against the spread

UA reached the point spread of 34 points with two minutes left in the first half; scoring two more times from there, while only allowing one Arkansas score, secured the cover. The 55 points fell right at the number that was most common by the time kickoff came, so it depends on when and where the bet was placed as to whether it was an over, under or push.

Next Up

An extra week of buildup, thanks to the second open week of the season, for what should be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with LSU.

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson