Character is something that means a lot to Arkansas linebacker Grant Morgan. A two-time team captain, he was a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy for the best former walk-on player in college football, and might win it this year while also being considered for All-American status.
So when he talks about the character of an opponent, people take notice.
Morgan called Saturday's 42-35 loss at Alabama "heartbreaking," and said that it "sucks" to have lost "because we all came here to win." But he also gave a lot of credit to the No. 2 Crimson Tide, including with "at the end of the day, that's a really good ball club."
The player he singled out for the most praise was Alabama sophomore quarterback Bryce Young.
"Bryce is a very good athlete, he's a very good player," Morgan said. "You could see how he extended plays throughout the game with his feet. We'd huddle up, we'd send an extra guy and he'd figure out a way to get out, or he'd find a way to elude a defender and [make a play].
"I hope he wins the Heisman because of how he handles himself."
When asked to elaborate, Morgan said: "The way that he talks to his players, and the way he led them, the way he demanded the offense, you could kinda tell he's a one-of-a-kind player. When you listen to other quarterbacks who were in front of him, play, or not in front of him, played before him, he's similar to that. And they were up there for the Heisman too.
"He has a really good arm, yeah, but you could tell the way that he leads that team, and the way he demands that offense, it was fun to be able to play against a good player like that and be able to do what we did as a defense."
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said that Young should definitely be in the Heisman talk, and also made a comparison in style with maybe the best player in the NFL.
"He made some really great plays when he broke the pocket and had a few nice throws to the side and angles," Pittman said. "Looked a little like [Patrick] Mahomes sometimes out there. But they protected him well and he made a lot of plays and he's got really good wideouts to get open. I thought he had a [good] head for the game. I mean they score 42 points and threw the ball whole bunch of times, about 40. He had a great game."
Player of the Game: Young. He threw for 559 passing yards while setting the Crimson Tide's single-game passing record, and also had five touchdown passes.
Play of the Game: The 79-yard touchdown pass over the top to Jameson Williams, who was double-covered on the play. The Razorbacks never really had an answer for the speedy wide receiver who had a career-best 190 yards receiving on eight catches.
Statistic of the Game: For the second straight week, Young had five touchdown passes, giving him 38 for the season. Joe Namath, who happened to be at the game, had 24 during his entire Crimson Tide career (1962-64), and a career-best 13 in 1962.
5 Things of Note:
1] Yards after the catch
Of Williams' 190 receiving yards, just 68 were yards after the catch, and a lot of those were on the slant he turned into a 32-yard touchdown. Young hitting him over the coverage for two touchdowns adds a whole new problem for defenses because Alabama really hadn't done that before this season. Overall, the Crimson Tide had 270 yards after the catch for 48 percent of its passing yards. For Williams, it was just 35.8 percent.
2] Running back depth
Brian Robinson Jr. had 122 rushing yards on 27 carries (4.5 average), for his fourth 100-yard game of the season in addition to having 99 against Mississippi State. The rest of the Crimson Tide running backs took exactly one handoff against Arkansas, although Trey Sanders and Christian Leary both had a reception (the latter resulting in a touchdown). The Alabama running game has gone all in on Robinson.
3] Man in the Middle
Middle linebacker Henry To'oTo'o was credited 13 tackles, tying his career best set against Mississippi State. He's taken over the team lead with 85 on the season, six more than Will Anderson Jr. Next up among the defensive front seven is Christian Harris with 58.
4] Punter? What punter?
Alabama punted just once against Arkansas. The four other possessions that didn't result in a score where on downs, end of the first half, missed field goal and fumble in the red zone.
5] Totally Impressive
Alabama’s 671 yards of total offense were the fifth most in program history, and the fourth most of the Nick Saban era.
- 833 vs. Virginia Tech, Oct. 27, 1973
- 723 at Ole Miss, Oct. 10, 2020
- 677 at Vanderbilt, Sept. 23, 2017
- 672 vs. Florida, Sept. 20, 2014
However, of the five opponents, only No. 21 Arkansas was ranked at the time.