Alabama vs. Missouri: Tide's 2-Headed Monster at RB Shows They're No. 1 Duo

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVOctober 14, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 13:  Running back T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball upfield during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There's no doubt that the Alabama Crimson Tide boast the nation's best running-back duo, and they proved that by running all over Missouri Saturday afternoon in a rain-soaked beat-down. 

Head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide came into the season with major question marks as to who would emerge behind running back Eddie Lacy as the team's No. 2 option. 

After six games, the nation can agree that the Tide have found not only a secondary option in freshman back T.J. Yeldon, but a back capable of carrying the load himself.

Both backs had a statement game in a 42-10 victory on the road against SEC newcomer Missouri. In Lacy's first touch of the ballgame, and only the second play overall from scrimmage, he scampered for a 73-yard touchdown that set the tone early for quarterback AJ McCarron's offense. 

Lacy had 100 rushing yards and two TD just halfway through the first quarter. Talk about coming out firing on all cylinders. 

He would finish with 177 rushing yards and three total touchdowns on 18 carries. 

The blessing in Alabama having such a deep team is that it can continue to pound the opposition while giving the feature back a rest. However, Yeldon's initial impact on the game was so convincing that it surely made even some Alabama fans curious as to who the better running back was. 

After blocking a Missouri punt late in the first quarter and starting a drive on the Missouri 17-yard line with a 14-0 lead, the Tide turned to Yeldon. He punched it into the end zone after three straight carries. 

He continued to produce, finishing the game with 18 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns. An impressive average of eight yards per carry is just what you want from the secondary component of a two-man running-back rotation.

We all figured that this deep running-back position would thin out and that Saban would find his two go-to guys. There's no doubt that Yeldon is the man for the job.

Looking at the season stats gives us the best impression of each back's impact thus far. Lacy stands at 64 carries for 314 yards, while Yeldon has carried the ball 50 times for 292 yards. 

Yeldon's insane speed and moves give him a better yards-per-carry average, and he can reach the end of defenses to get into footraces. Lacy is more of a bruiser, but he also has breakaway speed. 

There's not much better of a combination that you could ask for in a running back duo—at the professional or collegiate level. 

While many NFL teams pride themselves on having solid two-back rotations, it's much more difficult to come by in the NCAA. Many college teams struggle to find even one back who can run the ball consistently, much less two. 

The Crimson Tide's running-back depth may have taken a hit this season, but nothing is stopping Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon from having a monster year alongside one another in the Alabama backfield. 


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