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How the matchup versus Chattanooga showed bright future for Alabama’s RB room

Alabama freshman RB Justice Haynes (#22) scores a rushing touchdown versus UTC.
Gary Cosby Jr. - USA Today Sports

The University of Alabama is set to lose two running backs to graduation, but Saturday’s game against Chattanooga opened the eyes of college football to how elite the Crimson Tide’s future is at the position.

Two underclassmen stood out at Bryant-Denny Stadium on senior day in Alabama’s 66-10 victory over the Mocs.

RELATED: Nick Saban explains why Kool-Aid McKinstry was replaced by Caleb Downs as Alabama’s punt returner vs. UTC

Alabama had 315 yards rushing and five touchdowns, but Jam Miller and Justice Haynes were the story.

Alabama RB Jam Miller (No. 26) running through a tackle of a Mocs defender.

Alabama RB Jam Miller (No. 26) running through the tackle of a Mocs defender at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Photo comes via Brian Pride – Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Miller, a sophomore from Tyler, Texas, has explosive playmaking abilities. He possesses power, but Miller’s speed in the open field makes him a nightmare for defenders to handle. The former four-star had his best outing of the season against Chattanooga with 77 yards rushing on six carries. Miller recorded an explosive 45-yard run while averaging 12.8 yards per rushing attempt.

The Mocs had no answer for him when he got the ball. Haynes, a five-star freshman from Georgia, received the most opportunities to start his career versus Chattanooga. He displayed power and speed to the tune of 42 yards rushing on five attempts, including two touchdowns. Haynes bounced a run outside for a 33-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

RELATED: Nick Saban gives his thoughts on Chris Braswell being ejected for targeting vs. UTC

Richard Young, a five-star freshman, collected a rushing score as well. Young’s came early in the fourth quarter of the game.

The three young backs combined for 121 of Alabama’s 315 yards rushing. All three provide something different to the rotation; however, they complement each other well. Tide fans enjoyed what they saw and know something special is in the making.

Coach Nick Saban highlighted the growth of Haynes after the matchup.

“Justice is a really good player,” Saban said. “He probably has not gotten as many opportunities as we would like for him to have because of the depth of the position, but I was pleased with how he played. He made an outstanding run for a touchdown at the end of the game, but 19 (Kendrick Law) did a heck of a job blocking for him downfield so he could score a touchdown. Justice has done a good job all year, and we have a lot of confidence in him.”

Alabama improved to 10-1 and faces Auburn next week in the Iron Bowl.

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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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