Defense leads No. 1 Alabama over Arkansas 52-0

Associated Press Modified: September 15, 2012 at 8:02 pm •  Published: September 15, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Tyler Wilson had seen all he could handle with a minute left in Arkansas' 52-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama when he asked to speak to the media afterward.

Injured players don't normally talk after games for the Razorbacks, but Wilson's case was different. The senior quarterback, who missed the game with a head injury, felt the season slipping away Saturday.

Last week's shocking loss to Louisiana-Monroe was bad enough. What Wilson saw against the Crimson Tide, however, was a team that didn't believe it could win.

"Do I feel that we, at times, gave up out there? Absolutely," Wilson said. "As a leader, it sucks to see people not do their jobs and to see things go wrong.

"There have been a lot of people jump off the bandwagon, and it is my job to keep everyone in this organization and this team in that locker room together. I am going to make sure of that going forward."

Arkansas (1-2, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) had little of Wilson's conviction without its leader on Saturday.

Alabama's Eddie Lacy ran for three touchdowns, and Alabama (3-0, 1-0) forced five turnovers in the school's 21st-straight win to open conference play.

The shutout was the second straight for the Crimson Tide, which defeated Western Kentucky 35-0 last week. The last time Alabama, which has now forced 12 turnovers this season, had back-to-back shutouts was against Vanderbilt and Kentucky in 1980.

The latest example of Crimson Tide dominance came at the expense of a suddenly reeling Arkansas (1-2, 0-1), which followed last week's shocking loss to Louisiana-Monroe with the school's worst defeat since a 70-17 loss to Southern California in 2005.

The Razorbacks played without Wilson, who suffered a head injury last week — and whose availability was in question until moments before kickoff. With or without Wilson, last season's first-team All-SEC quarterback, Alabama was ready.

"We told our players that their quarterback situation was not our problem, it was theirs," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "And regardless of who played that we would have to play well if Tyler played, and we got ready for all the things that they did."

AJ McCarron was 11 of 16 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown for the Crimson Tide, but it was the defense that set the tone from the outset.

Vinnie Sunseri and Haha Clinton-Dix each had first-half interceptions for Alabama, which held Arkansas to just 44 yards of total offense in the first half and 137 for the game.

The loss was the first shutout for the Razorbacks since a 28-0 loss to LSU in 2005. It was also the first time Arkansas was held scoreless in Razorback Stadium since a 7-0 loss to Baylor in 1966.

The performance was too much for Wilson to ignore, prompting his postgame speech — six months after former coach Bobby Petrino was fired and only three games into what was expected to be a championship season.