The Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0) have emerged as heavy favorites to beat the Florida Gators (8-2) in the SEC championship game in Atlanta.
Here are the three keys for the Tide to do exactly that:
By Steve Wright
Stop Kyle Trask
This has to be goal number one for Alabama on Saturday. The Crimson Tide offense – more on them later – is so good that they are usually able to simply overpower and run away from opponents with a scoring barrage. Florida, however, is one of the few teams in the country that can score with Alabama – or at least they were doing earlier in the season.
The key to their attack is the passing ability of Kyle Trask. He is a legit Heisman candidate and he leads the nation in both passing yards (3,717) and touchdowns (40). He will also see this as a chance to press those Heisman claims even further and will be primed for a big day. Alabama were torn apart earlier in the year by the likes of Ole Miss and Texas A&M, so there is a little concern about the secondary. They have, however, not allowed a passing TD in five games, so this will be interesting.
Use Najee Harris
There is so much to like about this Alabama offense with its multiple weapons – and multiple Heisman contenders of their own – as they have shredded teams in 2020. Mac Jones at quarterback has often been the key man, but this feels like a game for running back Najee Harris to really shine. Harris leads all FBS running backs with 22 touchdowns on the season and he is going against a Florida defense that allows over 140 yards on the ground per game, but that keeps it at a low per carry average of 3.9 as they limit huge plays. Getting Harris involved will allow Jones to throw off of the back of him attracting extra defenders into the box, so expect a heavy dose of Harris early.
DeVonta Smith in Big Moments
With Jones and Harris being the stars that they are, it took people a while to see the season that DeVonta Smith was having at wide receiver for the Crimson Tide. With 11 touchdowns in four games heading into last week – and then a huge punt return for a touchdown against Arkansas in that game – Smith has emerged as a big play waiting to happen. The offense needs Smith to be able to get long and stretch a defense and his combination with Jones will be too much for the Gators to handle.