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A'Shawn Robinson run defense bails out Alabama

Jason Getz/Associated Press
A'Shawn Robinson played a large role in Alabama slowing down Arkansas' strong rushing attack.

Of all that went wrong for Alabama Saturday in a 14-13 win over Arkansas, the one thing the Crimson Tide needed most given the opponent -- a stout run defense -- proved to be as reliable as ever.

The dynamic Razorbacks duo of Jonathan Williams (83 yards) and Alex Collins (13 yards) never broke free for the big gains that had highlighted a 317-yards-per-game rushing attack all season. As a team, Arkansas rushed 39 times for 89 yards, about 30 percent of their season average. Central to Alabama's run-stopping efforts was sophomore defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson. The 320-pounder made five tackles, 1.5 of them for losses, and forced a fumble by Williams that Alabama recovered in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, Robinson beat a double-team to force a fourth-and-1 run outside, where Xzavier Dickson made a tackle for no gain.

Alabama entered the game ranked No. 3 in the NCAA in rush defense, allowing 65 yards per game.

Beyond Robinson, key defensive contributions came from everywhere. Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen blocked a PAT try that proved to be the difference in the game, All-American safety Landon Collins intercepted a pass and broke up two others, and inside linebacker Reggie Ragland made 12 tackles.

But the Crimson Tide looked positively miserable in various other areas, committing four fumbles and two turnovers on special teams. UA rushed for just 66 yards and Amari Cooper caught a season-low two passes for 22 yards.

The test for the Crimson Tide defense goes from one extreme to the other next week when Alabama plays host to Texas A&M and it's hurry-up, no-huddle offense.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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