Video recap provided by Jonathan Perez and Nikko Tan, WUFT Sports
The second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1, 8-1 SEC) won their second straight SEC Championship with a 29-15 victory over the 18th ranked Florida Gators (10-3, 7-2 SEC).
It was a dominating performance by the Tide as they outgained the Gators in total yards, 437 to 180. Heisman front runner, Derrick Henry, outgained the Florida offense by himself running for 189 yards on 44 carries with one trip to pay dirt. On a seven-yard carry halfway through the third quarter, Henry passed Herschel Walker’s SEC record for most rushing yards in a single season. His performance earned him SEC Championship MVP honors.
It wasn’t just the yardage output where Alabama dominated, it was the time of possession battle as well. The Tide held the ball for over 43 of the 60 game minutes. Florida only had two drives that lasted at least five plays, while going three-and-out eight times. Despite the offense not allowing the defense to rest, red shirt sophomore linebacker Matt Rolin didn’t place blame on the other side of the ball. The oft injured Rolin finished tied for third on the team with eight tackles in the game.
Sophomore defensive back Jalen Tabor echoed Rolin’s sentiments but also discussed how difficult it is to stop a powerful offensive attack like Alabama.
Of the 180 yards that the Gators were able to piece together on offense, only 15 of those were on the ground. Running back Kelvin Taylor recorded season lows in both carries (seven) and yards (eight). Freshman wide receiver Antonio Callaway believes the lack of a ground game hampered the passing game as well.
The two touchdowns the Gators scored came on big plays. Callaway returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown, longest in SEC Championship game history, and C.J. Worton hauled in a 46-yard pass from Treon Harris late in the fourth quarter. Harris finished the game 9-of-24 for 165 yards with a touchdown and one interception. The sophomore quarterback noted that the offensive struggles were due to multiple negative plays.
Florida head coach Jim McElwain acknowledged that his team was outmatched in this game, but he believes the foundation has been set to continue building and improving the Gators program.
Florida will find out what bowl game they will play in and who their opponent will be on Sunday afternoon.