The Alabama Crimson Tide beat up on Missouri Saturday, winning 42-10. Missouri had no chance against the best team in the nation.
While the Tide defense gets all the credit, and rightfully so as they're dominant, Saturday it was all about the run game.
Eddie Lacy ran for 176 yards on 18 attempts and three touchdowns. He averaged 9.8 yards per carry and had a long run of 73.
T.J. Yeldon ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. He averaged eight yards per carry.
That's a combined 320 yards on 36 carries. That's almost nine yards per carry.
Coming into this game, Alabama averaged 188 yards on the ground. Respectable and good for 40th in the nation.
Yet Saturday was their breakout game. Both Lacy and Yeldon are elite talents. They have shown that throughout the year, although not on a consistent basis.
Lacy's first two games were bad, as he rushed for 35 yards against Michigan and 36 yards against Western Kentucky. But he had 106 against Florida Atlantic, and then the 176 on Saturday.
Yeldon ran for 55 yards against Arkansas, but 111 against Michigan.
The problem is that individual stats don't apply. In a two-back rotation, you're not going to put up huge numbers consistently.
But with Saturday's showing by both Lacy and Yeldon, it's clear that the Tide can run over opponents too. This game should get them more committed to the run, now that Saban and Co. know how effective it can be.
The defense will take this team far. That we know. But you need to score to win, too, and the defense can't do it alone.
So in big games against big teams, the Tide will need to keep pounding it on the ground. Lacy and Yeldon will have to come up big in games against LSU and Mississippi State.
Missouri may not be the best team, but they do have the 46th-ranked defense in the country. So this huge production didn't come against scrubs.
Look, the defense will take this team to at least the SEC Championship. It is an incredibly stout unit filled with future NFL players.
But as I said, they can't do it alone. They need support from the offense. And because the run game has shown such explosiveness, it will be that unit that will launch them into what everyone thinks is inevitable: the BCS title game.
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