By Andrew Edwards
The Alabama/Arkansas matchup this upcoming weekend got a little bit more interesting with the Crimson Tide’s loss of Tua Tagovailoa.
In case you didn’t see, Alabama’s quarterback suffered a high ankle sprain midway through the Tennessee game this past weekend. It’s believed that he will be back in time for the LSU game, as most people who suffer this type of injury start to turn the corner ten days after surgery.
That leaves us with Mac Jones, MACtion or Mac and Cheese – the backup Alabama quarterback. Limited compared to the electric Tagovailoa, Jones will have to make his first career start this weekend against the Razorbacks. It’s no secret, Jones is more of a game manager. Coach Nick Saban will put him in situations to make the fewest mistakes possible, similar to Alabama QB’s of the past.
With Alabama’s star quarterback gone, the defense will have to step up as well.
They did a good job in the second half of the Tennessee game, limiting the Volunteers to only three points. Now they need to put it all together for four quarters, something that Alabama fans have been waiting all season to see.
Meanwhile, Arkansas comes into this game winless in conference play with a four-game losing streak. They just came off of their worst beating of the season, losing to Auburn 51-10 this past weekend. They now must travel to Bryant-Denny and face a university that has not lost to an unranked team since 2007.
The Razorbacks rank 75thin the country in total offense and now allow 30.7 PPG after the auburn debacle last Saturday.
Key Matchup: Mac Jones vs Arkansas Defense
In his first career start, Mac Jones will go up against one of weaker defenses in the SEC. Even though this is first start, look for a potentially surprising game from the Sophomore QB. He will have a full week to prepare as the starter, and will have the opportunity to lean on an Alabama run game that has come alive of late.
Player to Watch: Alabama K/Punter Ty Perine
Freshman walk-on kicker Ty Perine came on the scene this past weekend and stole the show. Yes, an Alabama kicker was the highlight of a game for the first time ever.
A graduate from Prattville High School, Perine averaged 46.5 yards per punt this weekend against the Vols. Look to see if Saban gives him the nod to start again this Saturday.
The “Game of the Century Part II” still looms for the Crimson Tide