Bama wins SEC title; to meet MSU Dec. 31

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015


That’s what the Alabama defense did to Florida Saturday in the SEC Championship game as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 29-15 victory over the Gators, winning their 25th conference title.

Alabama held the Gators to 180 total yards, including only 15 in rushing. From the first quarter to the fourth period, there was a time that the Crimson Tide held the Gators to three yards of total offense.

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During the stifling, the Crimson Tide erased a 7-2 deficit while running off 27 unanswered points to secure the victory.

With the victory and the No. 2 ranking in the College Football Playoff, Alabama will face Michigan State in the semifinals on Dec. 31, in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Top-seeded Clemson will face Oklahoma on the same day during the Capital One Orange Bowl. The winner of each game will advance to play in the national championship on Mon., Jan. 11, 2016 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

In Saturday’s game, Alabama running back Derrick Henry broke the SEC single-season rushing yards record previously held by the Georgia great Herschel Walker. Henry rushed for 189 yards on 44 carries and a touchdown to increase his season total to 1,986 yards. He also earned Most Valuable Player honors for his play in the game.

Alabama quarterback Jake Coker completed 18-of-26 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Calvin Ridley for a big throw that was down at the 2, which set up Henry’s lone touchdown.

Receiver ArDarius Stewart had four catches for 64 yards.

The defense recorded five quarterback sacks, nine tackles for a loss, an interception and a forced fumble in the win. The Gator offense only had seven first downs and was outgained on ball possession by 43 minutes, and 29 seconds.

The Crimson Tide opened their scoring spree on a blocked punt that turned into a safety as linebacker Keith Holcombe’s block bounced the ball through the back of the end zone in the first quarter. Florida bounced back in the second with a 85-yard punt return by Antonio Calloway, which was the longest return in SEC Championship history.

Alabama responded with a 28-yard field goal by Adam Griffith, cutting into the Florida lead at 7-5.

Coker connected with Ridley on a 55-yard dart to set up the short scoring play from Henry late in the first half. At halftime, Alabama led 12-7.

Griffith added another field goal in the third, and Coker connected with Stewart on a well-defended pass to go ahead 22-7. Coker then found Richard Mullaney midway through the fourth on a traffic-heavy pass to give his team a 29-7 advantage.

Florida scored in the fourth quarter on a 46-yard pass from Treon Harris to receiver C.J. Worton. Harris completed the 2-point conversion and the lead went to 29-15.