FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. _ Saturday's game was billed as a potential Heisman Trophy showdown, and with 157 rushing yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns University of Alabama junior running back Mark Ingram showed why he's the reigning winner.
He also put himself back into the running to repeat after missing the first two games of the season with a knee injury.
"Mark's a great player and he sure did a great job in the second half," Coach Nick Saban said.
Meanwhile, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett's campaign may already be over despite passing for 357 yards.
Coming in he was 8-1 at home (69.5 completion percentage and averaging 331.9 passing yards per game), with 27 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Saturday he had only one touchdown pass against the Crimson Tide compared to three costly interceptions.
One was in the end zone and the other two were late, to set up Alabama's game-winning touchdown and to help the Tide seal the victory.
"It's an honor," sophomore safety Robert Lester said of his two pickoffs.
For the second straight year, Mallett was able to lead his team to just two third-down conversions. The Razorbacks were two of 10 Saturday, with no conversions in the second half.
With his performances, Ingram moved up to fifth on the Alabama career rushing list with 2,622 yards:
Alabama career rushing yards 3,565 Shaun Alexander, 727 att.,1996-99 3,420 Bobby Humphrey, 615 att., 1985-88 3,324 Kenneth Darby, 702 att., 2003-06 2,741 Johnny Musso, 574 att., 1969-71 2,694 Mark Ingram, 443 att., 2008-present 2,645 Dennis Riddle, 612 att., 1994-97 2,560 Bobby Marlow, 408 att., 1950-52 2,519 Johnny Davis, 447 att., 1974-77 2,486 Sherman Williams, 535 att., 1991-94
Ingram also scored his 33nd rushing touchdown, moving him into a tie for third with Humphrey behind Alexander (41) and Musso (34).
Ingram comes full circle
Ingram's 100-yard performance came against one of three SEC teams that gave him problems last season. Although he had 99 rushing yards against Tennessee last year, he had the only lost fumble of his career.
Here's Ingram's numbers against SEC opponents during the last calendar year:
Carries-yards-TDs Kentucky 22-140-2 Ole Miss 28-172-1 South Carolina 24-246-1 Tennessee 18-99-0 LSU 22-144-0 Miss. State 19-149-2 Auburn 16-30-0 Florida 28-113-3 Arkansas 24-157-2 Total: 201-1,250-11
Injuries and starters
Senior quarterback Greg McElroy had an obvious limp after sustaining an upper thigh contusion.
"I've played with a lot of pain, but this thing's killing me," McElroy said. "I think it was on the third-down sack, the guy's knee must have got me just in the right spot. It's pretty painful. The next few days will probably be pretty sore, but if I've played with broken ribs before I can handle this."
Junior defensive end Marcell Dareus and sophomore defensive end Damion Square were both shook up on the same play near the end of the first half, but returned in the second half. Dareus left the stadium wearing a protective boot on his left foot.
Sophomore linebacker Nico Johnson started at weakside linebacker and with Courtney Upshaw (ankle) at Jack. Jerrell Harris would have started at strongside linebacker, but Alabama came in a nickel package with DeQuan Menzie at star.
Alabama has gone 17 consecutive games without allowing more than 21 points, which is the longest active streak in the nation. The Tide has also won eight straight games against ranked teams, dating back to the start of the 2009 season, and 11 of the past 13.
Alabama improved to 3-5 under Saban when trailing at the half.
After calling for a "Red Out," Arkansas didn't wear all-red uniforms, but did for the first time run out to the field through an expanding smoking snout instead of an inflatable Razorback.
The entire coaching staff wore patches to support of the "Coach to Cure Muscular Dystrophy" program. To donate $5 text the word "cure" to 90999 or visit www.coachtocuremd.org. ... The game ball was delivered to the field by the U.S. Army Silver Wings Parachute Team. ... Team captains were Dont'a Hightower , Julio Jones and McElroy.