ARLINGTON, Texas — Give the ball to Derrick Henry and watch him run.
All No. 20 Wisconsin could do was watch, as the junior running back worked his way to 147 yards rushing on 13 carries in No. 3 Alabama’s 35-17 win Saturday night.
Henry averaged 11.3 yards a carry and had three touchdowns.
“Derrick Henry has had an outstanding camp,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think he’s a fabulous player. He usually plays better as the game goes on in terms of workhorse-type guy. And it was good to see him make some good runs out there.”
With just over five minutes left in the first quarter, Henry broke out for a 37-yard touchdown run. In the third quarter he ran the ball in 56 yards and then two yards.
“Anytime you get a chance to put a guy like that in front of a defense, you know they’re not gonna want to tackle that guy for a whole 60 minutes in the game so it’s all about about wearing them down,” senior cornerback Cyrus Jones said. “[Offensive coordinator Lane] Kiffin puts those guys in the right position, and we have an amazing offensive line so they just open up the holes and he just runs through them as hard as he can. I mean, what can defenses really do?”
The defense held Wisconsin to 268 yards of offense including 40 yards rushing. The Badgers’ quarterback Joel Stave was 26-for-39 with one interception. He threw two touchdown passes and was sacked three times.
Junior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen recorded two sacks. Freshman defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick recorded the other sack.
“Aggression, that’s the biggest thing coach harped on us and preached on us all offseason: aggression,” Allen said. “We want to come off, we want to be the aggressors, we want to play on their side of the line of scrimmage, we want to take the battle of them. So I feel like as a front and as a defense, we did a great job doing that tonight.”
Alabama’s quarterback question hasn’t been decided, but it’s been narrowed down to two. Jake Coker started the game and went 15-for-21 with 213 yards passing, a touchdown and three sacks. Cooper Bateman came in at the start of the fourth quarter. He went 7-for-8 for 51 yards and was sacked once.
The plan going forward isn’t similar to what it was this past week, Saban said.
“We’ll look at the film and evaluate the things that we need to do to improve on,” Saban said. “And we’ll make a decision about who plays quarterback based on what’s best for our team.”
Alabama (1-0) takes on Middle Tennessee State (1-0) Saturday at 3 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports