for this game

Wilson's late TD pass lifts Alabama to upset of Arkansas

Sep 16, 2007 - 4:44 AM TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- Darren McFadden reminded the nation why he is a Heisman Trophy candidate. Meanwhile, Nick Saban reminded everyone why he has been one of the most successful college football coaches in recent history.

John Parker Wilson passed for career highs of 327 yards and four touchdowns - including the game-winning score with eight seconds left - to lead Alabama to a 41-38 upset of No. 16 Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference thriller.

Thanks to a wild finish, Saban recorded a landmark win in his first home SEC game at Alabama (3-0, 2-0 SEC West), which exacted a measure of revenge against rival Arkansas (1-1, 0-1 West).

"I am very proud of the way the players competed today," Saban said. "We always talk about playing for 60 minutes in a game and when we score a touchdown with eight seconds left to win a game, it's an easy way to reinforce a point."

"The guys kept their composure and kept their cool," Wilson added. "There were ups and downs, but we were able to keep our composure and finish it off."

The Razorbacks posted a one-point overtime victory last year over the Crimson Tide, who looked ready to avenge the bitter loss early in this one.

Saban, who guided Louisiana State to a share of the national title four years ago, was lured away from the NFL's Miami Dolphins this past offseason to coach Alabama.

"We showed a lot of character in the game to get the ball back at the end of it," he said. "We had a great two-minute drive, and people made plays. It was a tremendous victory for the University of Alabama, for our players, for our fans."

Saban appeared to have his newest SEC team headed in the right direction, as Alabama led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter before Arkansas rallied behind McFadden to take a 38-31 advantage in the fourth quarter.

However, the Crimson Tide converted a late field goal to cut their deficit to 38-34 and set the stage for Wilson, who orchestrated a classic last-minute drive.

Starting at his own 26-yard line with no timeouts and 2:37 left on the clock, Wilson engineered an 11-play drive capped by his three-yard TD pass to Matt Caddell with eight seconds remaining.

"We went out there and I told the guys, 'Let's go win it. Why not?'" Wilson said. "The funny thing is that I was talking to Caddell on the sideline before the game. I told him 'Let's go get a touchdown.' We all knew we could."

Facing a vicious blitz from the Razorbacks, Wilson lofted a perfect pass into the back-left corner of the end zone to the 6-foot Caddell, who outjumped 6-1 cornerback Jamar Love to make it 41-38.

"(I was) really just focusing on making that catch," Caddell said. "That's all. I knew where I had to get it. (Wilson) had faith in me and threw the ball where I could make a play on it. It was just a great play."

"It was a read play," Wilson added. "He wasn't the first guy. He was on down the progression. We were able to throw it up, and he was able to make a great play."

Wilson finished 24-of-44 with just one interception. The junior's favorite target was Caddell, who hauled in nine receptions for 92 yards. D.J. Hall chipped in six receptions for 172 yards and two TDs for Alabama.

Wilson's heroics overshadowed an amazing performance by McFadden, who battled second-half cramping and a late concussion to rush for 200 yards and two TDs on a career-high 34 carries.

"All our backs showed a lot of heart," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "They were just playing their guts out. Darren McFadden played extremely well. He earned every yard he got tonight."

Alabama built a 31-10 lead with 5:15 remaining in the third quarter when Wilson hit tight end Nick Walker for a two-yard TD.

But Arkansas battled back from there, as McFadden and Felix Jones spearheaded a rushing attack which helped the Razorbacks physically dominate the last 20 minutes of the contest.

"Hopefully, the lessons that we will learn are about consistency," Saban said. "We started out the game extremely well offensively and defensively. We lost the momentum of the game in the second quarter. ... We were a little bit up, then down, but came back in the end."

The dynamic duo of McFadden and Jones combined for 59 rushing yards on a late third-quarter drive capped by Casey Dick's two-yard TD pass to tight end Andrew Davie with 3:05 left in the period.

After recovering a fumble at the Alabama 41-yard line, Arkansas clawed within 31-24 on McFadden's first TD of the game - a one-yard score just four seconds into the fourth quarter.

"I felt better running the ball in second half than I did in the first half," McFadden said. "I think their defensive front was getting tired."

The Razorbacks forged a 31-31 tie three minutes later when McFadden scampered in from five yards out, capping a six-play drive which was set up by cornerback Dallas Washington's interception at the Crimson Tide 26.

McFadden continued to battle the cramping on Arkansas' next drive, rumbling for a 20-yard first-down run with 9:58 left.

Jones reeled off a 36-yard run on the following play, and Dick completed a seven-yard TD pass to fullback Peyton Hillis three plays later to give the Razorbacks their first lead of the game at 38-31 with 8:08 left.

But the Crimson Tide did not go away, as Leigh Tiffin drilled a 42-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 38-34 with 4:20 left.

Arkansas did not eat up enough clock time on its next possession - with McFadden on the sideline - and was forced to punt with 2:37 remaining, setting the stage for Alabama's game-winning drive.

Jones finished with 96 yards on 16 carries while Dick completed 11-of-23 passes for 145 yards, three TDs and one interception for Arkansas, which fell to 9-7 all-time in SEC openers.

"I was real proud of our team," Nutt said. "I thought that we started playing football like we know how to play it. We showed a lot of heart and a lot of character. I really thought this was our game."






  • 196
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 16 2:48 AM


  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARKANSAS (16) 0 10 7 21 38
    ALABAMA 21 0 10 10 41 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - TD, DJ HALL 9 YD PASS FROM JOHN
    PARKER WILSON (ANDREW FRIEDMAN
    KICK), 6:25. ALABAMA 7-0
    ALABAMA - TD, GLEN COFFEE 14 YD RUN (ANDREW
    FRIEDMAN KICK), 10:39. ALABAMA
    14-0
    ALABAMA - TD, DJ HALL 35 Y

    Sep 15 10:41 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    MATT CADDELL 3 YD PASS FROM JOHN PARKER WILSON
    (ANDREW FRIEDMAN KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 38
    ALABAMA 41 0:08 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:39 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 64 roots (Upset, Close Finish)

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:39 PM
  • MrEncinas I love this site

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:38 PM
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:38 PM
  • hangtime79 RUWTbot you rock. What a throw, what a catch!

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:38 PM
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    AFaust3 Added 5 roots

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:37 PM
  • AFaust3 Wow, this is a pretty big upset in the making.

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:37 PM
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:33 PM
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:31 PM
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:27 PM
  • 69
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:22 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG ALABAMA
    LEIGH TIFFIN 42 YD
    ARKANSAS (16) 38
    ALABAMA 34 4:20 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:18 PM
  • 54
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:13 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ARKANSAS
    PEYTON HILLIS 7 YD PASS FROM CASEY DICK
    (ALEX TEJADA KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 38
    ALABAMA 31 8:08 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:07 PM
  • 39
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    RUWTbot Took away 27 roots (Close Finish)

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:07 PM
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    pdxguy96 Added 5 roots

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 10:00 PM


  • NCAAF
    ARKANSAS (16) 31
    ALABAMA 31 11:58 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 9:56 PM
  • 61
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    hangtime79 Added 5 roots

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 9:55 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ARKANSAS
    DARREN MCFADDEN 1 YD RUN
    (ALEX TEJADA KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 24
    ALABAMA 31 14:56 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 9:43 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARKANSAS (16) 0 10 7 17
    ALABAMA 21 0 10 31 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - TD, DJ HALL 9 YD PASS FROM JOHN
    PARKER WILSON (ANDREW FRIEDMAN
    KICK), 6:25. ALABAMA 7-0
    ALABAMA - TD, GLEN COFFEE 14 YD RUN (ANDREW
    FRIEDMAN KICK), 10:39. ALABAMA
    14-0
    ALABAMA -

    Sep 15 9:39 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ARKANSAS
    ANDREW DAVIE 2 YD PASS FROM CASEY DICK
    (ALEX TEJADA KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 17
    ALABAMA 31 3:05 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 9:27 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    NICK WALKER 2 YD PASS FROM JOHN PARKER WILSON
    (LEIGH TIFFIN KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 10
    ALABAMA 31 5:15 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 9:21 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG ALABAMA
    LEIGH TIFFIN 24 YD
    ARKANSAS (16) 10
    ALABAMA 24 10:57 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 9:02 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARKANSAS (16) 0 10 10
    ALABAMA 21 0 21 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - TD, DJ HALL 9 YD PASS FROM JOHN
    PARKER WILSON (ANDREW FRIEDMAN
    KICK), 6:25. ALABAMA 7-0
    ALABAMA - TD, GLEN COFFEE 14 YD RUN (ANDREW
    FRIEDMAN KICK), 10:39. ALABAMA
    14-0
    ALABAMA - TD, DJ H

    Sep 15 8:28 PM
  • 56
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    RUWTbot Added 31 roots (Upset)

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 8:28 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG ARKANSAS
    ALEX TEJADA 22 YD
    ARKANSAS (16) 10
    ALABAMA 21 0:23 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 8:26 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ARKANSAS
    CROSBY TUCK 40 YD PASS FROM CASEY DICK
    (ALEX TEJADA KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 7
    ALABAMA 21 6:03 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 8:08 PM
  • 25
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 7:53 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARKANSAS (16) 0 0
    ALABAMA 21 21 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - TD, DJ HALL 9 YD PASS FROM JOHN
    PARKER WILSON (ANDREW FRIEDMAN
    KICK), 6:25. ALABAMA 7-0
    ALABAMA - TD, GLEN COFFEE 14 YD RUN (ANDREW
    FRIEDMAN KICK), 10:39. ALABAMA
    14-0
    ALABAMA -

    Sep 15 7:43 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    DJ HALL 35 YD PASS FROM JOHN PARKER WILSON
    (ANDREW FRIEDMAN KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 0
    ALABAMA 21 1:27 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 7:40 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    GLEN COFFEE 14 YD RUN
    (ANDREW FRIEDMAN KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 0
    ALABAMA 14 4:21 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 7:28 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    DJ HALL 9 YD PASS FROM JOHN PARKER WILSON
    (ANDREW FRIEDMAN KICK)
    ARKANSAS (16) 0
    ALABAMA 7 8:35 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 7:16 PM
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 15 1:12 PM
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 10 8:46 PM
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    Arkansas(16) vs. AlabamaSep 10 4:00 PM
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