Spartan Digest continues our look at the Cotton Bowl with a look at Heisman Trophy winning running back Derrick Henry.

We opened up looking at Alabama quarterback Jake Coker. Now, we move to Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry and what Michigan State must do to keep him from powering the Crimson Tide to a National Championship appearance.

A.P. Steadham | BamaMag.com

DERRICK HENRY GP ATT GAIN LOSS NET AVG TD LONG AVG/G
13 339 2037 51 1986 5.9 23 74 152.8

It’s been an impressive first year as a starter for junior running back Derrick Henry.  Not only did the Florida native win the Doak Walker and Maxwell Award winner, he also came home as only the second player in Alabama history to win the Heisman Trophy.

Named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Henry rushed for a school and Southeastern Conference record 1,986 yards to the lead the nation.  His 152.8 yards per game was second best in college football and his 23 touchdowns was the best in the nation as well as a school and SEC record tieing Tim Tebow.

Will the Heisman Jinx rear it’s ugly head again?  Since 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram, five Heisman winners ended their careers with wins in bowl games.  However, last year Marcus Mariota fell in his final game. Since 1957, 28 of 52 Heisman winners played in bowl games losing the game following their Heisman win.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE MUST DO AGAINST COKER

Michigan State will come out in their base 4-3 scheme against Alabama but add a few wrinkles by taking a page out of the Arkansas defensive playbook by loading up the box to keep Henry from having a big game.  However, the weakness of the Spartans is the secondary and while Arkansas did control Henry they did not stop receiver Calvin Ridley with nine receptions for 140 yards and one touchdown.  If the Spartans stop Henry and can put pressure on quarterback Jake Coker, look for an old-fashioned smash mouth football game that could favor the Spartans.

DERRICK HENRY EACH GAME

GAME NO GAIN LOSS NET TD LG AVG
WISCONSIN 13 148 1 147 3 56 11.3
MIDDLE TENNESSEE 18 101 5 96 3 28 5.3
OLE MISS 23 129 2 127 1 31 5.5
ULM 13 52 0 52 1 10 4.0
GEORGIA 26 149 1 148 1 30 5.7
ARKANSAS 27 101 6 95 1 15 3.5
TEXAS A&M 32 247 11 236 2 55 7.4
TENNESSEE 28 147 4 143 2 20 5.1
LSU 38 213 3 210 3 40 5.5
MISSISSIPPI STATE 22 208 4 204 2 74 9.3
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 9 68 0 68 2 17 7.6
AUBURN 46 279 8 271 1 30 5.9
FLORIDA 44 195 6 189 1 21 4.3

The biggest thing to take away from Henry's play this season is the fact he does not go backwards and lose yards.  Against Texas A&M Henry loss his highest total of 11-yards.  However, he kept the rest of his game to single digits.  The other thing we can take away is the fact that while Henry scored a leading 23 touchdowns, six games saw him score only one time.  Is the key to a Michigan State win stopping Henry?  


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