By Dave Thomas
If you’re the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1), you are one step closer to your fulfilling your biggest goal at the start of the season. Then again, it may seem so far away with what still needs to be accomplished to get there.
Alabama cleared another major hurdle this past Saturday, scoring a 29-15 win over Florida in Atlanta to capture yet another SEC football crown. In doing so, ‘Bama cemented its place in the college football playoffs (awaiting Sunday’s decision on who it will play on Dec. 31 in the national semifinals).
Henry Starts Slow, Finishes With Bang
The Crimson Tide, which looked sluggish on offense at times, ultimately wore down Florida (10-3), this despite the fact that star running back Derrick Henry was bottled up for a good chunk of the game. When all was said and done, Henry (a leading candidate to capture the Heisman Trophy), finished another productive day with 189 yards (1 TD) on 44 carries.
While Florida had Henry’s number for part of the day, ‘Bama quarterback Jake Coker came up with some big plays when he needed to keep the struggling Tide offense afloat. Coker would end his afternoon going 18-of-26 for 204 yards (2 touchdowns). Freshman sensation Calvin Ridley was also a main contributor, catching eight balls for 102 yards, while ArDarius Stewart and Richard Mullaney both added key touchdown receptions.
Once again, it was ‘Bama’s stifling defense which had Florida on the run for much of the afternoon at the Georgia Dome.
Florida, which managed all of two points in a regular season-ending loss to rival Florida State, was limited to seven first downs on this afternoon, finishing with a woeful 15 yards rushing. If ‘Bama is to secure its 16th national championship when all is said and done, it will be its defense that was the catalyst.
So, what were ‘Bama fans noting on social media following the school’s 25th SEC football crown?
Safe to say, much of the emotion was about how this team has rebounded following a 43-37 loss to Ole Miss in game four of the season, how Henry is the prohibitive favorite next weekend to capture Alabama’s second-ever Heisman Trophy (Mark Ingram), and much love for Coker, a quarterback who many thought couldn’t get the job done not only last season (lost out to Blake Simis), but in 2015.
Among the tweets:
Yes, there is still much work to be done if ‘Bama is to secure the national crown come Jan. 11 in Glendale, AZ. With three other solid teams in the playoff hunt, Nick Saban and Co. will have their work cut out for them to bring the title back to Tuscaloosa.
Between now and then, however, Crimson Tide fans can enjoy celebrating the 25-time SEC champs.