FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — DeVonta Smith returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown as No. 1 Alabama scored 28 points in a span of 11 minutes in the first half and rolled past Arkansas 52-3 on Saturday.
After the teams traded field goals, Smith started the Crimson Tide (10-0, CFP No. 1) barrage. Najee Harris scored consecutive touchdowns just 14e seconds apart and a final plunge from 1 yard by Brian Robinson Jr. had Alabama in cruising toward the Southeastern Conference championship game next week against No. 6 Florida.
It was an otherwise quiet day for Smith, with three catches for 22 yards, but the receiver bolstered his surging case for Heisman Trophy consideration on one play.
Crimson Tide defenders racked up eight sacks, the fifth of which resulted in a fumble by Arkansas quarterback Feliepe Franks which was recovered by DJ Dale at the Razorbacks 4. Harris scored on the next play.
Alabama allowed just 188 yards and kept Arkansas (3-7) from registering a first down during a streak of seven straight possessions from the first quarter to the third.
Harris and Robinson finished with a combined 100 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 27 carries. Jase McLellan added a final rushing down, an 80-yarder, with 1:51 left. Mac Jones, whose day was finished in the third quarter, threw for 208 yards on 24 of 29 passing for Alabama.
Franks was one of three Arkansas quarterbacks to take snaps, including back-up K.J. Jefferson, who left in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury, bringing Franks back into the game to finish. They combined to go 9 of 17 for 108 yards.
Alabama: The Tide went unbeaten in the SEC regular season for the third time in five years.
Arkansas: An encouraging first regular season under coach Sam Pittman ended with a four-game losing streak. Still, the Razorbacks’ three SEC wins were just one fewer than they had the previous four seasons combined.
The Crimson Tide entered Saturday as a unanimous No. 1 and will most likely stay that way.
Arkansas could still make a bowl game in this strange season.
Alabama: Another trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game, the Tide’s third in five years.