Want to know who ought to vote for the Heisman?
Antonio Morrison, that’s who.
And Jon Bullard. And Keanu Neal. And Vernon Hargreaves. And Bryan Cox Jr. And all the rest of the Florida Gators.
In the year of the running back, it all went through them. Leonard Fournette. Then Dalvin Cook. Now Derrick Henry. Think about it: If Georgia’s Nick Chubb hadn’t been injured, the Gators would have faced the first-, second- and fifth-rated running backs in the nation. (They’ve also played against New Mexico State’s Larry Rose, who is eighth, and three others who are in the top 40).
But it is Henry, the University of Alabama tailback, who might be the best of them all.
Stopping Henry is the No. 1 goal for the Florida defense in Saturday’s SEC Championship game. Alabama’s Nick Saban is still a conservative at heart, and you get the idea he’d like nothing better than to hand it to Henry 50 times if it meant winning the game. It’s the punch-in-the-mouth of a great football team.
Even though Florida has the nation’s fifth-rated defense overall and the eighth against the run, both Fournette and Cook had success against them. Fournette rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Cook had 33 yards after three quarters, but as the Gators’ defense wore down, he finished with 183 yards and two scores. Not coincidentally, those are the only two teams to beat Florida this year.
So the challenge is simple. The Gators have to contain Henry. They have to force the game into the hands of Jacob Coker.
Still, for Florida to have a ghost of a chance, quarterback Treon Harris would have to play the game of his life. Considering how the Gators’ offense has sputtered for the last month, that’s not likely to happen
Prediction: Alabama 31, Florida 7.