TUSCALOOSA, Ala.– What most would deem as an average performance, Alabama football head coach Nick Saban referred to as the ‘spark’ for his team in a hostile environment.
Mississippi State, a program that is unarguably having its best season under Dan Mullen, came into last week’s matchup expecting a win versus the Crimson Tide. Bulldogs’ running back Aries Williams gave the men of crimson all it could handle – 22 carries, 97 yards, two touchdowns – but Alabama’s Josh Jacobs came to life for his squad when it needed momentum on offense.
He has not been 100 percent healthy for much of the year, however, the competitiveness bound inside the three-star and late addition to last year’s class will not allow for him to back down.
After tying the game at 14 with a rushing touchdown in the first half, Jacobs’ versatility opened things up in the third quarter as he caught back-to-back passes from quarterback Jalen Hurts – including a 12-yard reception for a first down. Both plays softened up the Bulldogs in the middle, allowing for Harris to record a 48-yard burst to put the Tide in the red zone.
Two possessions later, the Oklahoma native ran with power between the tackles.
He ripped off gains of seven, eight, 13 and 11 yards, to set up Harris’ 11th rushing touchdown – which came on a 14-yard run. Having Jacobs on that drive gave Alabama a lot of confidence as it tied the game at 24, snatched momentum and quieted a crowd that was boisterous all-night long.
His fresh legs helped the Tide pull out a 31-24 thrilling win on the road, and according to Saban after the contest, he said Jacobs provides on impact when it comes to sweep runs.
“Josh is a different cat for us in being that he is a quick, explosive, fast guy,” Saban said.
“He has not been healthy all the time, but I think as a change-of-pace guy to go in there and do what he did tonight was probably the whole spark for the whole team.”
Earlier today, Jacobs was one of 10 guys recognized for Player of the Week honors from the Tide’s coaching staff and he joined Hurts, Calvin Ridley and Jonah Williams from the offensive standpoint.
“Just his competitive disposition in how he ran the ball and the second effort affected everyone out there,” Saban said of Jacobs.
During today’s presser, Saban continued to reiterate how much the team has to get Jacobs involved more in the game plan. With him back at full strength, look for him to get increased touches against Mercer this week and in Alabama’s meeting against Auburn in the Iron Bowl.