The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide have spent this week preparing for what will arguably be one of their toughest tests of the season traveling to face the high-octane Arkansas offense in Fayetteville on Saturday. Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallet has been described as "the best pro quarterback in college football" for his strong arm and proficient passing ability.
Alabama's defense has been among the best in the nation so far in 2010, allowing only one touchdown in the first three games. One of Mallet's strengths is his ability to hang tight in the pocket, and wait for his receivers to get open. A strength that Alabama's defense is hoping to turn into a weakness.
"As a pass rusher, you do get excited when you know you're going to play against a guy who's going to sit in the pocket and try to execute his offense to the best of his abilities," Damion Square said. "Yeah, it does excite me as a pass rusher."
It's Arkansas' first ranked opponent all season, with their toughest competition coming in their 31-24 win over Georgia. When Georgia stormed back to tie the game, Mallet silenced the home crowd with three passes that covered 73 yards and scored a touchdown all with less than a minute remaining.
"Right now, we're licking our chops," Alabama linebacker Jerrell Harris said. "We're ready to play and show the world what we can do against one of the top teams."
While Alabama's defense has been stellar, their secondary is arguably the weakest piece of the unit. It will be crucial for the Crimson Tide to put pressure on Mallet to keep him from connecting with his receivers for game-changing deep plays, especially with a rowdy home crowd that will be hungry for an upset. Mallett has a chance to solidify his status as a Heisman frontrunner with a big game. But more importantly, the Razorbacks have a chance to get a game ahead of the Crimson Tide in the SEC West. They way both of these teams have been playing this season, the road to the SEC Championship game appears to run right through Fayetteville this Saturday.
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