By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The SEC Championship Game saw #1 Alabama (10-0) face off against #7 Florida (8-2).
These two programs played in the first SEC Championship Game in 1992. This was a matchup of two historically great programs, but it also determined the Heisman winner.
Mac Jones and Kyle Trask were the two frontrunners to win the Heisman and they did not disappoint.
This was the first real test for the Crimson Tide against a Gators team that would not quit. This is the case of the best player on the best team versus the best player in college football.
Mac Jones threw for 418 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Najee Harris rushed for 178 yards and scored five TD’s. DeVonta Smith caught 15 receptions for 184 yards and two scores. It was enough to win a 52 – 46 shootout in Atlanta.
“Those guys are pretty phenomenal. They have been all year,” Nick Saban said. “They certainly delivered tonight when we needed them to.”
The Gators trailed 35 – 17 at halftime but they scored a couple of third quarter touchdowns and held Alabama scoreless. They scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but Bama scored 17 points.
Kyle Trask threw for 408 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“We were rolling pretty good,” said Trask. “We just ran out of time.”
Harris was the MVP of the game. He had 31 carries for 178 yards, but he also caught 5 passes for 67 receiving yards and turned three of those into scores.
“I’ve been catching the ball since birth,” he quipped. “People don’t expect it because of the running back name, but I can catch.”
Harris set an SEC championship game record with his five touchdowns, breaking the mark of four scored by Auburn’s Tre Mason in 2013. The Alabama senior also broke a couple of school records, setting new standards for career rushing TDs (44) and overall TDs (54).
Kadarius Toney led the Gators with 8 receptions for 153 yards 1 TD. Tight end Kyle Pitts had 7 catches, 129 yards and a touchdown. Florida’s leading rusher only had 2 carries for 24 yards. I think the lack of offensive balance has been a problem all season that came back to haunt them in this game.
“I thought we showed a lot of character,” coach Dan Mullen said. “That was an excellent team we played … give them credit. That’s why they’re ranked No. 1 in the country.”
This win completed an undefeated season for Alabama. They are the clear favorites going into the College Football Playoff.
“This has been a year with a lot of disruptions,” said Saban, who had his own bout with COVID-19. “The resiliency this team has shown this season to win 11 games is pretty phenomenal.”
The only team that I think is capable of beating Alabama is Clemson. The Tigers would not see them until the National Championship, assuming both teams win. They beat #2 Notre Dame 34 – 10 in the ACC Championship Game.