ADVERTISEMENT

No. 2 Alabama could clinch title shot versus No. 21 Arkansas

November 18, 2021 GMT
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) celebrates a defensive stop against LSU during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
1 of 3
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) celebrates a defensive stop against LSU during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
1 of 3
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) celebrates a defensive stop against LSU during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

No. 21 Arkansas (7-3, 3-3 SEC, No. 21 CFP) at No. 2 Alabama (9-1, 5-1, No. 2), Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST (CBS).

Line: Alabama by 21 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Alabama leads 24-7 (21-8 after NCAA sanctions).

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Alabama can secure a spot in the SEC championship game against No. 1 Georgia with a victory and give its playoff case another boost. The Razorbacks would love to snap a 14-game losing streak against the Crimson Tide and offer even more evidence of their turnaround under second-year coach Sam Pittman.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama’s stingy run defense against Arkansas’s potent running game. The Razorbacks have the nation’s No. 6 rushing offense, averaging 233.5 yards per game. The Tide are allowing only an average of 81.5 yards on the ground, ranking third nationally and led by defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis and linebacker Will Anderson Jr.. Arkansas has four players with at least 456 rushing yards, including Trelon Smith (513) , quarterback K.J. Jefferson (474), Dominique Johnson (456, six touchdowns) and Raheim Sanders (460).

ADVERTISEMENT

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Arkansas: Jefferson has been the guy that makes the Razorbacks’ offense go, running and passing. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has passed for 1,990 yards and 17 touchdowns with three interceptions. Jefferson, who completed just 1 of 6 passes in last season’s game off the bench, has also run for five touchdowns.

Alabama: WR Jameson Williams has been one of the top deep threats in college football and a huge difference maker for the Tide offense. The Ohio State transfer has 1,028 yards and 10 touchdowns. That includes eight catches of 50-plus yards, seven of them going for scores.

FACTS & FIGURES

Alabama has outscored Arkansas 252-80 over the last five meetings, an average margin of 34.4 points. ... Alabama is 3-0 against teams ranked at the time, since Texas A&M wasn’t ranked for its upset. Arkansas has beaten a pair of Top 25 teams, while getting edged by No. 10 Mississippi 52-51 and clobbered by No. 1 Georgia 37-0. ... Anderson leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss per game, racking up 12.5 sacks and 24.0 TFLs through 10 games. ... Arkansas WR Treylon Burks has accounted for a third of his team’s receptions (51 of 153).

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25