Ready? Start! Five...four...three...two...one! Do you have someone? Amari Cooper you say? You’re right!
Alabama coaches selected eight players for recognition as Players of the Week for their contributions in the win over Auburn as the Crimson Tide won the Southeastern Conference Western Division championship.
Bama will make its ninth appearance in the SEC title game Saturday against Missouri. The Crimson Tide is 19-1 on the year, ranked first in the nation, and has a 7-1 SEC record. Missouri is 10-2, also 7-1 in the SEC, and ranked 13th in one poll 14th in another. The teams will kick off at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. CBS will televise the game.
In addition to Cooper, who was also named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, the Bama coaches selected fullback Jalston Fowler and tackle Austin Shepherd on offense; safeties Nick Perry and Geno Smith on defense; and linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton, wide receiver/return man Christion Jones, and punter/kickoff man JK Scott on special teams.
Cooper tied his school record for receiving yards in a game with 224 on 13 catches with three touchdowns. He is now the school record holder for receiving touchdowns in a single season (14) and career receptions (207) and is now second all-time in SEC career receiving yards. Fowler again did an outstanding job of blocking from his fullback position and had a key eight-yard rush to pick up a first down on a key third-and-one in the fourth quarter. The Tide rushed for 227 total yards which included 127 from T.J. Yeldon and 72 from Derrick Henry. Shepherd led the team with a grade of 92 per cent and had no penalties, sacks, pressures or missed assignments. He moved from right tackle to left tackle early in the fourth quarter when Cam Robinson left with an injury and had a key block on Henry’s 25-yard TD run that put UA up 55-36 with 3:46 remaining.
On defense, Nick Perry was second on the team with 13 total tackles (eight solo) with two for loss. He had a key interception in the third quarter at the UA 46 and returned it 23 yards to the Auburn 31. Alabama went on to score on the ensuing drive to go up 42-36 early in the fourth quarter. Smith was third on the tackle chart with 10 stops in the game, including seven unassisted. He also had two tackles for loss.
Christion Jones came up with a couple key returns that gave the Crimson Tide very good field position. He had a 29-yard punt return to the UA 42-yard line that helped lead to a touchdown in the second quarter as well as a kickoff return of 37 yards in the third quarter. Hamilton came up with four knock-down blocks on kickoff return and one knock-down block on punt return. Scott had just two punts in the game and averaged 55.5 with a long of 70. There were no return yards as he had one touchback and one inside the 20. Scott, who leads the nation in highest percentage of punts inside the 20, also handled kickoffs and recorded three touchbacks on eight kicks.
On the season, Landon Collins is the team leader in player of the week honors with eight. He is followed by Scott (seven) and Cooper (six).