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No. 11 Alabama holds off late Arkansas charge in 24-21 win

The Crimson Tide led 24-6 during the second half

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - OCTOBER 14: Jalen Milroe #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide passes the ball over Nico Davillier #0 of the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)
Alabama QB Jalen Milroe threw for two TDs and ran for another in Alabama's 24-21 win over Arkansas. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images) (Alex Slitz via Getty Images)

No. 11 Alabama hung on for a 24-21 win over Arkansas on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide led 24-6 in the second half before Arkansas scored 15 consecutive points to pull within three with 10:59 to go when KJ Jefferson hit Rashod Dubinion for a 14-yard TD.

Arkansas got the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead with 9:45 to go after quickly forcing a three-and-out, but the Razorbacks’ drive ended before midfield when Dallas Turner sacked Jefferson on a third down.

The sack forced Arkansas to punt the ball away and the Razorbacks never got the ball back again thanks to a couple of big plays by Jalen Milroe. The Alabama QB converted third down on a four-yard run to keep the clock running and found Amari Niblack on a great touch pass for another first down two plays later.

All Alabama needed after that was another first down to end the game. The victory is the 200th for coach Nick Saban with the Crimson Tide and he's now 32 wins behind Bear Bryant for the most all-time at Alabama.

“We played pretty good until it was [24-6] and then we got two third-down penalties, they got back in the game, scored, we lost our momentum, went three-and-out three or four times on offense,” Saban told ESPN after the game. “So we’ve got to learn how to play for 60 minutes and finish the game.”

Alabama trailed 6-0 in the first quarter before reeling off three consecutive touchdowns before halftime. The first score came on a third down as Milroe found a wide-open Kobe Prentice for a 79-yard TD.

Milroe scored on a QB sneak in the second quarter and then hit Niblack on a 29-yard TD with less than five minutes before halftime.

The win pushes Alabama to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the SEC while Arkansas is now 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the SEC. The good news for Razorbacks fans after the loss is that the team’s SEC schedule is much more manageable over the final five games. In addition to Alabama, Arkansas had LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss among its first four conference games. The Razorbacks now have no more ranked opponents remaining on their schedule and could feasibly go 4-1 and still make a bowl game.