It Was Record Day For Bama Football

It was a record day for Alabama football as the Crimson Tide defeated Missouri, 42-13, in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Saturday. First and foremost, Bama won its 24th SEC Championship, far and away the continuing record.

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Alabama had a huge day offensively. The Crimson Tide had a number of school SEC Championship Game superlatives in the win over Missouri. Bama accumulated 28 first downs and 42 points on 76 total plays. The Tide had four rushing touchdowns and completed 23 passes.

With the one-yard touchdown run by T.J. Yeldon on the Crimson Tide’s opening drive, Alabama has now scored in the first half in 102 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation.

That score also made it 182 consecutive games in which Alabama has scored, the longest streak in program history.

Alabama owns a 3-2 lead in the series with Missouri. During the Tigers’ time in the SEC, Alabama owns a 2-0 record, including a 42-10 victory for the Tide in Columbia in 2012.

The win moves Alabama to 12-1 on the season, reaching the 12-win plateau for the eighth time in school history. Under Coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide has collected 12 or more wins five times in his eight seasons in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama had a 21-3 lead at halftime. The Tide is now 84-5 when leading at intermission under Saban.

From an individual standpoint, it was Sims, Sims, Sims!

Quarterback Blake Sims was selected the game’s MVP as he set the SECCG record for completion percentage. He completed his first 10 passes of the game (an SEC Championship Game record; Shane Matthews of Florida (1st Quarter, 1992) and Danny Wuerffel of Florida (1st Quarter, 1995) were tied for the previous all-time mark with nine) and finished with 23-of-27 passing, an all-time record-setting 85.2 per cent completion percentage. The previous record was 77.1 (27-of-35) percent by Auburn’s Jason Campbell in the 2004 SEC Championship Game.

Entering the game, Sims had 2,988 yards passing this season. With his 13-uyard pass to Jalston Fowler on the game’s first offensive play, Sims moved past the 3,000 yard mark. Thanks to his 58-yard touchdown pass to DeAndrew White in the second quarter, Sims passed A.J. McCarron to set the Alabama all-time record for yards in a season. McCarron’s record was 3,063 yards set last season. Sims finished with 262 yards through the air and sits at 3,250 for the season.

With his 262 yards passing and 19 yards rushing, Sims accumulated 281 total yards of offense for the game. His 281 yards are the all-time record by an Alabama player in a SEC Championship Game.

Sims wasn’t alone in the record-setting department.

With his 10 receptions in the first half, junior wide receiver Amari Cooper passed Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews for most receptions in a season in the SEC. Matthews accumulated 112 receptions for 1,477 yards in 2013. Cooper tacked on a couple of more for an SECCG record 12 and now has 115 receptions for 1,656 yards on the season. (The previous championship game record for receptions was held by Reidel Anthony of Florida, who recorded 11 in the 1996 SEC Championship Game.)

Cooper also moved into the record books for all-purpose yards. Entering the game he had 1,587 all-purpose yards this season and 3,351 total for his career. With his 92 yards of total offense Saturday, he now sits at 1,679 this season and 3,443 total for his career. The 1,679 this season ranks him eighth all-time in Alabama annals. His 3,443 yards are 10th all-time for a career by an Alabama player.

Sophomore tailback Derrick Henry finished with 141 yards on the ground on 20 attempts with two rushing touchdowns. The 141 yards rushing are a career-high for Henry, eclipsing his previous total of 113 in this season’s opener against West Virginia. The two rushing touchdowns and 20 attempts tie his previous career-highs. Henry rushed 20 times earlier this season in the Florida game on Sept. 20. He has previously recorded two rushing touchdowns in a game twice, with his last multi-score effort coming versus Western Carolina on Nov. 22.

Junior tailback T.J. Yeldon entered the contest against Missouri with 34 career rushing touchdowns, tied for fourth all-time with Johnny Musso (1969-71). Following his one-yard dive for a touchdown in the first half, Yeldon moved into a tie for third place all-time with Trent Richardson (2009-11). Following his two-yard rush for the Tide’s third score of the game, Yeldon moved into sole possession of third place for rushing touchdowns in a career with 36. Next on the list is Shaun Alexander (1996-99) with 41, then the all-time Bama leader, Mark Ingram, with 42.

Senior DeAndrew White entered the game with just one 100-yard game for his career, a 139-yard performance against Oklahoma in 2013. He had four receptions for 101 yards Saturday.

From a defensive standpoint, the was in the Missouri backfield all night. Although there were no sacks, Bama recorded a season-high 11 pressures. Prior to Saturday Bama had 42 quarterback hurries on the season with a high of 10 against Southern Mississippi. Senior linebacker Xzavier Dickson led Bama with four, followed by defensive end Ryan Anderson with three.

Sophomore defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson entered tonight’s game with a career high of seven for tackles in a game, which he had accomplished three times previously. He finished this evening’s game with a team-high nine tackles, including three for a loss, to set a new career-highs in both categories. The three tackles for loss were also an Alabama all-time record by an individual in the SEC Championship game.

Junior safety Landon Collins recorded seven tackles on the evening while forcing and recovering one fumble. Collins has now recorded seven or more tackles in 10 of the last 14 games.

Senior kick returned Christion Jones returned three kickoffs for 85 total yards for an average of 28.3 yards on the day. The 28.33 return yards average is an SECCG record, eclipsing the previous total of 27.5 by Peerless Price of Tennessee who returned two kicks for 55 yards in 1998.

Former Alabama All-America running back Bobby Humphrey ws one of 14 former SEC players recognized prior to the game as an SEC Legend.

Alabama captains were safety Landon Collins, fullback Jalston Fowler, and offensive tackle Austin Shepherd.

Attendance was 73,526.

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