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Alabama leaders for Heisman Trophy race dominated SEC Championship Game

Mac Jones celebrates TD pass to DeVonta Smith in SEC title game
Adam Hagy - USA TODAY Sports

A classic was played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Nick Saban flashed his brightest smile.

He has been known for being a tough coach, but he showered much love toward his players after defeating Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. While he has enjoyed the competitive spirit and excellence of his team, the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy showed up and showed out for the Crimson Tide in a 52-46 shootout victory.

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Before the season started, very few people thought Mac Jones could lead a championship squad.

He turned in his fourth 400-yard passing game of the season, totaling 418 yards with five touchdowns to one interception.

Jones attempted a career-high 43 passes and completed 33 for a 77 percent completion clip.

Each time the Gators felt like it was in striking distance, the redshirt junior led a drive that put Alabama up by two touchdowns. His 15-yard strike to DeVonta Smith delivered the team to 52 points and it hung on to win by six. Jones now has 32 touchdown passes this season, making him the third quarterback of the Saban era at Alabama to toss for 30 scores in a season.

AJ McCarron did it in 2012 (30) and Tua Tagovailoa accomplished the feat twice in 2018 (43) and 2019 (33). Also, Jones is now second all-time for passing yards in a single season (3,739) and third all-time for touchdowns (32) in school history.

He has guided the Tide’s offense to at least 40 points in 10 straight games.

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DeVonta Smith is now Alabama’s all-time career leader for receiving yards (3,620) and touchdowns (40).

The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder put on a show and was not ‘locked up’ by Marco Wilson of Florida.

He had a game-high 15 catches for 184 yards (game-high) and two touchdowns. Smith was targeted 18 times and made the most of each play, averaging 12.3 yards per reception.

He recorded a fumble recovery and covered an onside kick from the Gators to help seal a win for the Tide.

Regardless of him not being mentioned as much as his teammates, Najee Harris needs to be a finalist for the Heisman.

Not only did his NFL Draft stock rise tremendously, but Heisman voters saw how dominant he is at receiver.

Harris collected 178 yards rushing, 67 yards receiving and five total scores. He is Alabama’s all-time leader for rushing touchdowns (44) and scores responsible for by a running back.

After a performance from Josh Jacobs in the 2018 SEC Championship matchup, he was awarded Most Valuable Player. Harris earned the honor this time around for the Tide.

Alabama needed its offense to match Florida’s and its three marquee stars did just that.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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