Crimson Conclusions: Alabama vs. Florida (SEC Championship)


In Crimson Conclusions, we look back on the Crimson Tide’s previous game. This week, it’s the SEC Championship.

The second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) won the SEC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoffs with a 29-15 win over 18th ranked Florida Gators (10-3) Saturday night. The Tide rode their beastly Heisman candidate running back, Derrick Henry, and a pair of exciting receivers on offense while the Tide’s defenses suffocated the life out of the Gator offense. Alabama allowed a couple of big plays for Florida which briefly gave Florida some hope early in the game, but the Tide absolutely dominated the second half and wore down the tough Florida defense.

Ridley, Stewart Step Up
Before the game, I said that with the heavy workload Derrick Henry has had in the second half of the season and with Florida’s stingy defense likely to be keying on Henry, someone else on the offense would have to step up in the game. Receivers Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart both did just that and made some huge plays in the game. Henry still carried the ball more than 40 times, but Ridley and Stewart’s big plays were backbreakers for the Florida defense and helped open things up for Henry in the second half.

Calvin Ridley made a huge 55-yard catch that led to Henry’s score in the first half and Stewart made an even bigger 32-yard TD catch late in the third quarter which really put the game away for the most part. Both plays were questionable throws from Coker and unbelievable catches from the receivers. Ridley had absolutely toasted All-American corner Vernon Hargreaves on his deep route but Coker was late on the throw, and as a result, Ridley had to come back to the ball. He bad a beautiful adjustment on the short throw and leaped over both Hargreaves and the safety coming down with the ball at the two-yard line. Two plays later Henry pounded his way into the end zone.

Coker’s throw to Stewart was a play in which he avoided the rush, and picked up a huge block from Henry, and just simply heaved it to Stewart. Sometimes a gunslinger has to throw it up and give his guy a chance and that’s what Coker did and Stewart made him look like a genius for it. Stewart skied high in the air, making a perfect jump in between two defenders, and came down for the touchdown. Coker’s night was pretty solid as he made some terrific throws, including an absolute bullet of a touchdown in the fourth quarter to Richard Mullaney in which he threaded the ball between to two defenders, and made some big runs and scrambles as well. Alabama used the read option in the game much more than we have seen all game and Coker surprisingly seemed to excel at it. Ridley finished the game with 102 yards receiving and Stewart had 64 yards. Ridley’s 8 catches gave him 75 on the season, breaking Amari Cooper’s freshman Alabama record.

SEE ALSO: Photos From The Tide’s 29-15 Over Florida

Henry Continues to Amaze (and crush defenders)
Even with receivers stepping up in the passing game and easily the best defense Alabama has seen all year, Derrick Henry continued to absolutely pound away at the record book. He ran for 189 yards on 44 carries and a touchdown and broke the SEC single-season rushing record going over 1,900 yards rushing on the season with a chance to become the first SEC player to ever rush for over 2,000 yards in the Playoffs. Henry’s day started pretty slow as Florida made it very clear he was going to have to EARN every single yard and they were stacking the box on the big back. Lane Kiffin never gave up on the big man and continued to feed him.

As the defense began to wear down in the second half, Henry began to rip off longer and longer runs and the defense seemed to be worn completely out. Kenyan Drake got some playing time in the game as well and looked pretty solid with the ball and that could be a big plus for the Alabama offense in the playoffs to take some pressure off of Henry, who has 90 carries over the last two games of the regular season. With another incredible performance, Henry likely secured Alabama’s second-ever Heisman Trophy winner and showed just how humble of a man he is when he said that he was “disappointed in his performance” likely pointing to his fumble in the game.

Dec 5, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris (3) is sacked by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (93) and teammates during the second quarter of the 2015 SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Defense Stifles
The Alabama defense held Florida to 180 total yards and just 15 yards rushing in the game in a dominating performance. Florida has struggled on offense this season and that continued on Saturday. Really Florida’s biggest play all year, since Will Grier was suspended, has been QB Treon Harris just lobbing up deep passes and letting his receivers make plays on the game. Two deep passes by Harris, one in the first half and one late in the game, accounting for nearly all of Florida’s offensive production. For the remainder of the game, the Alabama pass rush constantly put pressure on Harris and bottled up Kelvin Taylor in the running game. In fact, Taylor ran for a total of eight yards in the game. It was another dominating performance for one of the most dominating defenses in the Saban era.

On To The Playoffs
With the SEC Championship now in hand the Crimson Tide have an opportunity to avenge last season’s playoff Semifinal loss to Ohio State. The number two seed Crimson Tide will face off against the number four seed Michigan State Spartans of December 31.

Jake Coker: 18-26, 204 yards, 2 TD; 8 carries, 23 yards

Derrick Henry: 44 carries, 189 yards, 1 TD
Kenyan Drake: 4 carries, 14 yards; 3 catches, 16 yards

Calvin Ridley: 8 catches, 102 yards; 1 carry, 2 yards
ArDarius Stewart: 4 catches, 64 yards, 1 TD; 1 carry, 5 yards
Richard Mullaney: 3 catches, 22 yards, 1 TD

Ryan Anderson: 4 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 3 QBH
Jarran Reed: 3 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 2 QBH
Marlon Humphrey: 3 TKL, 1 INT
Jonathan Allen: 3 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 QBH
A’Shawn Robinson: 3 TKL, 0.5 TKL, 0.5 sack, 1 QBH
Dalvin Tomlinson: 3 TKL
Tim Williams: 2 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Reuben Foster: 2 TKL, 2.0 TFL
Shaun Dion Hamilton: 2 TKL
Derrick Gore: 1 TKL
Rashaan Evans: 1 TKL
Dillon Lee: 1 TKL
Ronnie Harrison: 1 TKL
Eddie Jackson: 1 TKL
Tony Brown: 1 TKL, 1 FF
Minkah Fitzpatrick: 1 TKL
Geno Matias-Smith: 1 TKL
Da’Shawn Hand: 1 TKL, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sack
Cyrus Jones: 1 TKL
Reggie Ragland: 1 PBU, 2 QBH
DJ Pettway: 1 blocked field goal, 1 QBH
Keith Holcombe: 1 blocked punt, 1 safety

Adam Griffith: 2/3 FGs, 3/3 XPs
JK Scott: 6 punts, 51.2 YPP, Long: 59 yards
Kenyan Drake: 1 KOR, 22 yards
Cyrus Jones: 7 PR, 32 yards; 1 KOR, 24 yards

Jake Coker: 222-338, 2,489 yards, 17 TD, 8 INT; 61 carries, 94 yards, 2 TD
Cooper Bateman: 37-51, 291 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 5 carries, 8 yards
Alec Morris: 1-1, 6 yards

Derrick Henry: 339 carries, 1,986 yards, 23 TD; 10 catches, 97 yards
Kenyan Drake: 72 carries, 347 yards, 1 TD; 24 catches, 250 yards, 1 TD
Damien Harris: 45 carries, 155 yards, 1 TD; 4 catches, 13 yards
Bo Scarbrough: 15 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD
Ronnie Clark: 5 carries, 20 yards
Derrick Gore: 6 carries, 15 yards
Xavian Marks: 1 carry, 0 yards; 2 catches, 19 yards

Calvin Ridley: 75 catches, 893 yards, 5 TD; 1 carry, 2 yards
ArDarius Stewart: 54 catches, 600 yards, 4 TD; 4 carries, 7 yards
Richard Mullaney: 34 catches, 308 yards, 5 TD
OJ Howard: 30 catches, 335 yards
Robert Foster: 10 catches, 116 yards, 2 TD
Cam Sims: 6 catches, 46 yards
Ty Flournoy-Smith: 3 catches, 48 yards
Chris Black: 2 catches, 23 yards
Daylon Charlot: 2 catches, 9 yards
Michael Nysewander: 1 catch, 19 yards, 1 TD
Dakota Ball: 1 catch, 8 yards
Hale Hentges: 1 catch, 5 yards
Derek Kief: 1 catch, -3 yards

Reggie Ragland: 90 TKL, 6.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 6 PBU, 6 QBH, 2 FF
Reuben Foster: 60 TKL, 7.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 8 PBU, 3 QBH
Geno Matias-Smith: 57 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR
Jarran Reed: 53 TKL, 4.5 TFL, 1.0 sack, 2 PBU, 8 QBH, 1 FR
A’Shawn Robinson: 42 TKL, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 9 QBH, 1 FR, 1 blocked field goal
Minkah Fitzpatrick: 41 TKL, 3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 2 INT, 88 yards, 2 TD, 8 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 blocked punt, 1 TD
Marlon Humphrey: 40 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 3 INT, 5 PBU, 2 FF
Eddie Jackson: 40 TKL, 3.0 TFL, 5 INT, 230 yards, 2 TD, 2 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR
Jonathan Allen: 34 TKL, 12.5 TFL, 10.0 sacks, 4 PBU, 6 QBH, 2 FF
Ryan Anderson: 33 TKL, 9.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks, 10 QBH, 2 FF, 2 FR
Dalvin Tomlinson: 30 TKL, 0.5 TFL, 6 PBU, 4 QBH
Cyrus Jones: 29 TKL, 4.0 TFL, 1 INT, 7 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF
Shaun Dion Hamilton: 24 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1 QBH
Denzel Devall: 21 TKL, 5.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 2 PBU, 6 QBH
Tim Williams: 18 TKL, 11.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 4 QBH
Dillon Lee: 18 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 QBH
DJ Pettway: 16 TKL, 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 2 QBH, 1 blocked field goal
Tony Brown: 16 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 2 PBU, 1 FF
Bradley Sylve: 14 TKL, 1.0 TFL
Ronnie Harrison: 14 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 2 INT, 41 yards, 4 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FF, 1 FR
Daron Payne: 13 TKL, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sack, 1 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FF
Da’Shawn Hand: 12 TKL, 4.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 2 QBH
Maurice Smith: 12 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 PBU, 1 FR
Keith Holcombe: 7 TKL, 1 PBU, 1 blocked punt, 1 safety
Rashaan Evans: 7 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 QBH
Michael Nysewander: 6 TKL
Jabriel Washington: 6 TKL, 1 INT, 34 yards, 1 PBU
Josh Frazier: 4 TKL
Shawn Burgess-Becker: 3 TKL
Cole Mazza: 3 TKL
Darren Lake: 3 TKL, 1 PBU
OJ Howard: 2 TKL
Hootie Jones: 2 TKL
Damien Harris: 2 TKL
Derrick Gore: 1 TKL
Anthony Averett: 1 TKL
Dominick Jackson: 1 TKL
Walker Jones: 1 TKL
Ryan Kelly: 1 TKL
Robert Foster: 1 TKL
OJ Smith: 1 TKL
Calvin Ridley: 1 TKL
Kenyan Drake: 1 TKL
Derrick Henry: 1 TKL

Adam Griffith: 21/29 FGs, Long: 55 yards; 51/51 XPs
JK Scott: 57 punts, 44.2 YPP, Long: 59 yards; 0/1 FGs, 1/1 XPs
Cyrus Jones: 36 PR, 438 yards, 3 TD; 1 KOR, 24 yards
Richard Mullaney: 2 PR, 30 yards; 2 KOR, 26 yards
Kenyan Drake: 14 KOR, 309 yards
Damien Harris: 9 KOR, 174 yards
ArDarius Stewart: 2 KOR, 30 yards
Michael Nysewander: 1 KOR, 16 yards
Chris Black: 1 KOR, 7 yards
Ty Flournoy-Smith: 1 catch, 19 yards