ATHENS – Najee Harris is quite the best running back in the country, he plays like that and thinks like that.
The Alabama senior running back, after an effort of 206 yards and 5 touchdowns against Ole Miss, is looking forward to the challenge that the Georgia defense will present at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium (TV: CBS).
« Georgia, they have an incredible defense, one of the best in the country, ”Harris said during his interview with Zoom on Tuesday.
“If you look at what they did in the last game in Tennessee, that motivates me even more because you know, when you line up against them they’re straight guys, they’re dogs, really,” Harris said. .
“It’s a motivating game for all of us. It motivates me more because I feel that I have to be even more on top of my game, to know that we can come out victorious in this game.
The Bulldogs (3-0) lead the country in running defense, allowing just 38.3 yards per game and 1.49 yards per carry after keeping the Vols to within 1 yard in the 44-21 win over last Saturday.
Harris, a 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Antioch, Calif., Leads the SEC with 115.7 yards per game. He already has 10 touchdowns in the first three games.
Georgia, meanwhile, haven’t allowed a quick touchdown to a running back in the last 18 games. The streak dates back to when Josh Jacobs of Alabama recovered his own fumble in the end zone in the second quarter of Tide’s 35-28 SEC Championship game win in 2018.
Each team talks about finding a balance between running and passing, to better keep a defense in mind
Very few succeeded this against Kirby Smart’s Georgia teams, but those who did have been more successful.
In the five games that the Bulldogs have allowed a 100-yard runner during Smart’s tenure, UGA is just 3-2.
The Bulldogs are 44-10 in all 54 games, the opponents haven’t had a 100-yard runner. Georgia is also 25-1 when opponents fail to collect 100 yards collectively.
But Harris presents a unique challenge, as does the Alabama line.
“(Harris) is quick, physical, gets the ball well out of the backfield, that makes the defense a lot harder,” said Smart. “It’s not just Najee; their offensive line is enormous. Each guy is 330/340, and they carry on you. ”
Smart and his defensive team likely studied the film of Tide’s victory over Texas A&M closely earlier this season.
Coach Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies prioritized the stoppage of the run, holding Harris in relative failure as he had 12 carries for 43 yards (and 2 touchdowns).
« Texas A&M did a lot of stunts, lowered safety, stopped the running game a bit, but it opened up a lot for duds, ”said Harris. “We’re trying to be a team where we’re up against a team that’s trying to stop the race, we’re going to (pass) the ball. If they try to stop the pass, the running backs have to play a role and the running game has to open.
That’s what happened at Texas A&M, as quarterback Mac Jones had 20 of 27 passes for 435 yards with 4 touchdowns and just one interception.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said Crimson Tide’s offensive line intensified against the Rebels last Saturday.
“I think (Harris) played really well in the game, (and) I also think the offensive line did a really good job in the blocking game up front, so he had a few opportunities in the game. , which we have not been. consistent, ”Saban said. “But we were very consistent in the racing game and had a good balance.”
Harris said victory was a matter for him and his teammates whether Alabama did it by land or air.
« Personally, I don’t even look at the statistics, ”said Harris. “I’m looking at what we have to do to win the game.
“Every game is different because each team plays a different defense against us. We don’t really know what to expect in the game. “
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