3 Takeaways from the Alabama Crimson Tide's Week 12 Win

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 23, 2020

3 Takeaways from the Alabama Crimson Tide's Week 12 Win

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    The Alabama Crimson Tide did exactly what the No. 1 team in the country should do against an overmatched opponent on Saturday. 

    Nick Saban's program blew out the Kentucky Wildcats, 63-3 to move one step closer to the SEC Championship Game and a potential College Football Playoff berth. 

    Alabama scored at least two touchdowns in three of the four quarters and had DeVonta Smith lead the offensive production once again. 

    The Crimson Tide defense was as dominant as the offense, as it did not allow the Wildcats to get much going on the ground and through the air inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

    Week 12's victory kept Alabama safely atop both polls, and it should reinforce its status as the top team in the first College Football Playoff rankings that come out on Tuesday. 

DeVonta Smith Broke the SEC Record for Touchdown Catches

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    Smith's third multi-score game in the last four contests helped him break the SEC receiving touchdown record. 

    Twenty-four of Smith's 33 touchdown receptions have come in the last two years, and he has achieved that feat while playing alongside a handful of NFL talents. 

    A year ago, Smith made 14 scoring plays in an offense that contained two first-round picks in Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.

    For the first part of this season, Smith split the spotlight with Jaylen Waddle, who himself is viewed as a first-round pick in April 2021, before he suffered a season-ending injury.

    Smith broke Amari Cooper's previous record with the first of his two trips to the end zone on Saturday in the second quarter. 

    His second score of the contest gave him back-to-back double-digit receiving touchdown seasons. He is 97 yards away from earning consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns as well. 

Christian Harris Turned in a Fantastic Performance

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Christian Harris was everywhere on Saturday night, as he recorded 11 tackles, eight of which were of the solo variety.

    Harris also produced a sack and a tackle for loss in a game in which Kentucky managed 179 total yards. 

    The sophomore linebacker has been a menace to opposing offenses all season, but in the last few games, he has performed at another level. 

    Harris has three 10-tackle performances this season, with two of them coming in the last three trips to the gridiron. Harris made a season-best nine solo tackles during his 10-tackle outing against the Tennessee Volunteers. 

    For now, Harris has assumed the role of the dominant player in the middle of the Alabama defense, and he will be important in the upcoming Iron Bowl.

    The Auburn Tigers love to run the ball with Tank Bigsby, but if Harris gets to him in the backfield or allows short gains, Alabama's top rival could become one-dimensional on offense, and the Tide offense could create a large gap on the scoreboard. 

Alabama Dominated the Run Battle

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Alabama outgained Kentucky 226-59 on the ground. 

    The Crimson Tide averaged 5.7 yards per carry compared to the 1.8 yards per rush that the visitors earned, and five of their nine touchdowns came on the ground. 

    Najee Harris produced at his normal high rate with 83 yards and two touchdowns off 13 carries. Backups Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams each received over 10 carries as well. 

    McClellan took advantage of his high carry total, as he bested Harris by 16 yards on three fewer carries and found the end zone once. 

    The ground dominance allowed Mac Jones to have an easy afternoon in the pocket, as he only attempted 23 passes. 

    Defensively, Alabama smothered the Kentucky tandem of Asim Rose Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke and quarterback Terry Wilson managed five yards on five carries. 

    If the ground battle is that one-sided in favor of Alabama moving forward, it may be hard for anyone to beat it in the season's biggest games.

            

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    Statistics obtained from ESPN.com,