FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Alabama's second touchdown of the day, a fumble recovered by wide receiver Henry Ruggs III for a touchdown, is officially credited as a passing touchdown for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

On the play, Tagovailoa hit tight end Irv Smith Jr. up the middle. Smith fumbled at the 12 while trying to break a tackle. Ruggs recovered the fumble for a score and received credit for a touchdown reception despite not technically catching the ball on the play.

The NCAA football statistician's manual explains it with an example in the following passage in Section 13, Article 2, A.R. 4 (on page 15):

"Team A’s ball on Team B’s 20. Adams completes a pass to Allen, who fumbles at the 10. The ball rolls into the end zone, where Adler recovers for a touchdown. Credit Adams with a pass attempt, a completion of 20 yards and a touchdown pass. Credit Allen with a reception of 20 yards. Credit Adler with no reception and zero yards, but with a touchdown by receiving. Credit Team A with a touchdown by passing and with a fumble not lost."

Ruggs had one catch for 21 yards in the second quarter, his only grab of the day. Combined with the 12 yards and a touchdown on his recovery, that gave him one catch for 33 yards and a touchdown as his final stat line.

Opening-drive touchdown

For the sixth straight time this season, Alabama scored on its opening drive. Tagovailoa completed a short pass to Smith Jr., who outran Arkansas defenders down the sideline for a 76-yard score.

The Crimson Tide has won 21 consecutive games that featured a touchdown on its first drive. That number dates back to the 2014 Sugar Bowl, which Alabama ultimately lost to Oklahoma despite putting up points immediately on offense.

When leading at the half, Alabama is 123-7 under Nick Saban. To get even more specific, it’s 107-4 when leading by at least seven points come halftime.

Alabama had a 27-point lead over Arkansas through two quarters. It was up 41-14.

That first touchdown was on the Crimson Tide’s first offensive snap. Alabama scored on its first play last year against Arkansas, too. Running back Damien Harris started off the 2017 game with a 75-yard touchdown run.


Alabama missed an extra point in the first half, the first by Joseph Bulovas but the fourth for the Crimson Tide as a team all season. The errant kicked bounced off the upright. The last time UA missed four extra points in a season was 2009, when UA made 43 of 47 attempts.

Bulovas made 8 of 9 point-after kicks and added a 27-yard field goal.

Tide bits

Game captains were center Ross Pierschbacher, running back Damien Harris and outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings. … Alabama won the toss and chose to receive. Alabama is 4-2 in coin tosses this season. … Attendance was announced as 49,723 according to tickets scanned at the gate. There were 64,974 tickets distributed for the game. …. Nick Saban remained undefeated in 12 games against Arkansas as Alabama head coach. He is 15-2 against the Razorbacks overall. Alabama has also won 78 straight games against unranked teams at Alabama. … Punter Skyler DeLong did not appear in the game for a second straight week on Saturday. Alabama hasn't had to punt since its 45-23 win over Texas A&M. That means he has only played in four games this season and his redshirt remains intact. ... Running back Josh Jacobs briefly became the 59th player in Alabama history to rush for 1,000 yards in his career, but was hit for a two-yard loss on his final carry to finish the game at 998 career yards.


Tommy Deas and Terrin Waack contributed to this notebook.