A bad taste filled Derrick Henry’s mouth. He started
pounding his helmet as he paced on the Alabama sideline.
Henry was well on his way to what was arguably the best game
of his career. Henry carried the ball for a personal record 38 times to finish
the evening with three touchdowns in the No. 4 Crimson Tide’s 30-16 win over No. 2 LSU.
His 210 rushing yards
are the second highest of his career, and Henry did it against the then-No. 1
rush defense in the SEC that was allowing an average of 83 yards a game prior
But for a moment none of that mattered to Henry. All that
mattered was the moment when Tashawn Bower knocked the ball out of his hands.
“That one fumble he really felt bad about that because he
just wanted the team to do their best,” center Ryan Kelly said.
Henry’s teammates did not give him a chance to dwell on his
mistake and surrounded him on the sideline.
“Our team kind of rallied behind him,” Kelly said. “We just
told him to kind of shake it off and he went back out there and ran just as
hard as he ever did. It was awesome.”
So when Alabama got the ball back with a 14-point lead and
just over nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the team turned to its
leader. Henry responded by doing what he does best — running.
He carried the ball 10 times for 78 yards as Alabama ran out
the clock to end the game.
“Preparation was the key,” Henry said. “Throughout the week, we had to prepare right. Go out there and practice hard and compete hard for us to have the success that we did today.”
A lot of the talk leading up to the game centered on LSU’s Leonard Fournette and when, not if, Fournette ran through Alabama’s defense, he would cement himself as the best player in the country.
“Yeah, you’re damn right he is [the best running back in the country],” quarterback Jake Coker said. “Derrick, he did the same thing he’s been doing for some reason he just doesn’t get as much credit as the other guy.”
The other guy, Fournette, finished the night with 19 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown.
“It really just comes down to, like Coach has probably said all week, just dominating our box,” linebacker Dillon Lee said. “Once everyone was winning their individual battles, we were all together as a defense. Our gap control was really sound tonight, and they were always backed up on third down.”
Earlier in the week Alabama received a No. 4 ranking from the College Football Playoff Committee and people around the nation questioned whether the Crimson Tide deserved it.
When Ole Miss lost to Arkansas minutes before Alabama took the field the lead spot in the SEC West was suddenly up for grabs. Alabama currently controls its fate in returning to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, but the Crimson Tide still has a road trip to Starkville, Mississippi coming up, and the Bulldogs have the talent to take advantage of a team suffering a post LSU hangover.
Despite all of the carries lately Coker is confident that Henry can continue his dominant run.
“He’s done well so far,” Coker said. “I mean he’s a beast so you know he hasn’t slowed down yet and he keeps on going so why not.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports