A School Record, In A Shortened Season?
After the Crimson Tide’s gripping 63-48 road win over the Ole Miss Rebels, there is still an excess of potential issues to address. However, it’s difficult to overlook the efforts of the senior ball carrier, Najee Harris.
The California native rushed for 206 yards on 23 attempts — Averaging almost nine yards-per-carry on the evening, Harris managed to add five touchdowns which tied Santonio Beard (2002) and Shaun Alexander (1998) for the school record of rushing scores in a game.
Prior to this, his fourth season for the Crimson Tide, Harris had accounted for 20 rushing scores through 42 total games. This season, in three games alone, Harris has added 10 touchdowns to his career totals.
Mathematically, if Najee Harris were to stay at this scoring pace throughout the year, he would surpass Alabama’s season rushing touchdown record of 28, in the middle of the ninth game on their schedule against the Auburn Tigers. This record, set in 2015 by Derrick Henry, was through a total of 15 games, including a National Championship victory. In fact, Henry didn’t see his 10th touchdown of that season until Alabama’s sixth game, in a matchup with Arkansas.
Look, life happens, these young athletes are human, and with the number of issues around the COVID-19 pandemic in sports, anything could happen; however, to quote Coach Saban, “Worry about the things you can control in your life, both professionally and personally.”
- Number of Games
In a truncated season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this means that Najee Harris only has 10 regular season outings compared to the 12 games in a normal college season. Though, as announced in August, the College Football Playoff Committee plans to continue the annually scheduled event to crown a National Champion. Contingent with Alabama’s regular-season performance, Harris could have two more potential games to add to his scoring total.
- An All-SEC Schedule
The reason that the SEC is widely considered as the country’s most competitive football conference, is simply because of the amount of talent this level attracts. Week in and week out, Alabama’s players face multiple four and five-star recruits on the other side of the ball.
For a normal schedule in the SEC, each member team would play eight conference games as well as holding the responsibility for securing four non-conference games each season. These non-conference games, if placed strategically throughout a taxing SEC schedule, can *usually (Nothing is certain in college football) provide positive experience against less equipped programs.
An SEC 10 game conference-only schedule for the 2020 season makes each win, more valuable and each mistake, more magnified. But with the first quarter of this season already in the books, Najee Harris and the Alabama offense haven’t backed down yet.
To break a school record in football at the University of Alabama is an achievement that very few athletes ever get near in their lifetime. If Najee Harris decided to forego the NFL Draft for his senior year, fought with his team through a global pandemic, and still managed to set a school touchdown record during a shortened and tougher season, he may just be the best running back in Capstone history.
The next opportunity to see the Najee Harris and the Alabama Crimson Tide is Saturday, October 17 at 7:00 pm on CBS as they take on the Georgia Bulldogs in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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