No. 1-ranked Alabama went to Arkansas on Saturday in a return to SEC play. Here are four key questions that were answered:
1. Could this be a trap game?
Early kickoff. Long road trip. An opponent with only one victory in 2018. It was the kind of game Alabama might be expected to look past. The offense was sharp from the start, as it has been all season, but the defense looked a little jet-lagged. Arkansas drove the ball and might have made the first half closer if not for a couple of turnovers in Crimson Tide territory.
2. Will the kicking game improve?
If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Joseph Bulovas missed an extra point in the first half, clanging it off the upright. It was his first point-after miss of 2018 but the fourth of the season overall for Alabama, which will have to continue to look for answers in its placekicking game. Bulovas made a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and UA’s kickoffs continued to be strong.
3. Will Tua Tagovailoa take a snap in the fourth quarter?
Alabama’s sophomore quarterback played well into the third quarter but still hasn’t thrown a pass or handed off in the final period of a game with the Crimson Tide now halfway through its regular-season schedule. Jalen Hurts played a couple of snaps in the first half but took over the position with 3:18 to go in the third quarter.
4. Will Damien Harris get turned loose?
He sure did. Alabama’s senior running back had his best game of the 2018 season, rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, adding a catch for 13 yards. He got into a groove on a long touchdown drive in the second quarter and was lead carrier on another scoring march in the third period.