Fayetteville (UofA) - The Arkansas Razorbacks had the defending national champion on the ropes for 55 minutes before a pair of late game turnovers allowed the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to escape, 24-20.
The game was played in front of a record attendance at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium of 76,808. The attendance breaks the mark set against Tennessee on Nov. 11, 2006, of 76,728.
"I'm proud of the way our team played today, and proud of the atmosphere our fans created for us today and all week." Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino said. "We had our opportunities and we just didn't make it happen."
It is the first loss of the year for Arkansas, 3-1 and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Alabama moves to 4-0 as the Crimson Tide wins its SEC opener.
In the battle of 2010 Heisman hopefuls, Alabama's Mark Ingram rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner in the closing moments.
Arkansas' Ryan Mallett finished the day with 357 yards and both of Arkansas' touchdowns. He was 25-of-38 with one passing TD, but his three interceptions proved costly for the Razorbacks' attempt to upset No. 1 at home for the first time since 1981 against Texas.
Arkansas stunned the Crimson Tide with the first score of the game, and kept the lead and the pressure on the defending champs for most of the game.
The Razorbacks racked up 421 yards on 58 plays. Ironicly, Alabama also had 421 yards.
Mallett set the tone for the day in the first 60 seconds, using two passes to give the Razorbacks a lead they would never relinquish. Mallett connected with Jarius Wright for 31 yards on the first play of the game. He turned to Ronnie Wingo, Jr., for 43 yards and the touchdown.
Alabama slowed Arkansas on its next possessions and finally got into positive yardage toward the end of the first quarter. Ingram got Bama on the board with a 54-yard run to tie the game at 7-7.
The Razorbacks picked up their first field goal of the game from Zack Hocker on the next drive, a 31-yarder, to regain the lead, 10-7.
Arkansas drove the length of the field, only to have Mallett picked off in the back of the end zone. The momentum swing didn't last long for Bama. McElroy took the Tide back down the field, but then had his own end zone interception to stop the Alabama drive.
Mallett closed the first half with a seven-play, 66-yard drive that ended with his own one-yard sneak and a 17-7 halftime lead.
Hocker's 48-yard field goal extended the lead to 13, 20-7, with 5:04 left in the third quarter.
The Tide responded as McElroy began to find his stride, alternating passes with handoffs to Ingram. McElroy closed the 74-yard, 8 plays drive with a 20-yard screen to Richardson.
Jeremy Shelley's 36-yard field goal pulled the Tide closer at the 6:01 mark, 20-17, but an Arkansas sack by Tenarius Wright at the Razorback 11-yard line proved the key, forcing Bama to opt for the field goal rather than the long 4th-and-17.
Facing third down deep on his end of the field, Mallett was intercepted by Bama free safety Robert Lester. Returning the ball to the Arkansas 11, Ingram carried it in three plays later for the first lead of the game for the Crimson Tide. The PAT made it 24-20 with 3:18 left.
It looked like Mallett would have another chance to rally Arkansas like last week at Georgia. Moving the Hogs from their own 21 yard line, the junior completed three passes to move Arkansas to their own 46 before throwing his third interception of the game. Dre Kirkpatrick's pick off of a ball being thrown away gave Bama the ball with the chance to kill the clock.