Alabama’s Trent Richardson is the best running back in college football. He’s consistently performed at a high level this year and was a Heisman finalist. With the BCS National Championship Game being a rematch of a regular season loss to LSU, don’t be surprised to see Richardson looking to get some revenge with LSU. I expect him to perform at his highest level on the biggest stage in college football and be the best player on the field.
In his first matchup with LSU, the junior running back caught five passes for a total of 80 yards, including one he broke for 39 yards. His total of 80 receiving yards proved to be his second highest receiving total in a regular season game this year.
A lot of people forget about this aspect of being a running back. They study their rushing yards and let the receiving yards fall to the wayside. But in this year’s BCS National Championship Game Richardson’s versatility and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, rather than running it, could be the big difference between an Alabama win and an Alabama loss.
If you haven’t watched Richardson play yet this year, then you are missing out. The 5’11”, 224-pound running back is one of the hardest players in college football to bring down. Forget an arm tackle, you need to wrap this guy up and bring a few teammates with you to help if you want to bring him down to the turf. Countless times he’s shaken off the first defender, gaining yards after contact.
One of the most impressive things a running back can do is break tackles and Richardson seems to do it with regularity. He always keeps his legs moving and sometimes seems to throw defenders off of him with ease. Instead of a two-yard gain he may gain six. Instead of a one-yard gain he may gain four. It may seem small, but over the course of an entire game these extra yards add up and help to move the chains. If LSU’s defensive players fail to swarm Trent Richardson and gang tackle him, it could mean the end of LSU’s hopes of winning the BCS National Championship Game this year.
For many of the players playing in the BCS National Championship Game it will be the highest stage they have ever played on, but not for Richardson.
In 2010 Richardson played a vital role in an Alabama win over the Texas Longhorns in the BCS National Championship Game. It’s hard to measure the importance of Richardson’s experience on the highest level, but one thing is for sure, it can only benefit him. He won’t get the same pregame jitters or be struck by the overall awe of playing in a BCS National Championship Game like the first-timers will. His focus will be on the game and he will forget about the spotlight and just do what he does best, play football.
The fact that he has this experience gives him an edge over all of the first-timers and could prove to be a big part of his success in the game.
With their last matchup being a 9-6 overtime LSU win, it’s hard to imagine this BCS National Championship Game will be high scoring. With such a low scoring output in their last matchup, Richardson’s ability to make the big play could turn out to be the most important factor of them all. Richardson has shown countless times through his ability to break tackles and juke defenders that he can make what looks like a two-yard gain into an 80-yard touchdown run on any given play of the game.
If the game is low scoring like the last time these two teams met, it could come down to one big play by Richardson that wins the game for Alabama. It could all come down to one run in which Richardson jukes two defenders, stiff arms the safety and sprints 80 yards for a touchdown. We will just have to wait and see. But if the game is close and all it takes is one score for Alabama to win, then they have the most lethal player on the field in Trent Richardson.