ATLANTA — When Florida scored late in the fourth quarter to tighten up Saturday’s SEC Championship game, Alabama running back Derrick Henry was excited.
Coach Nick Saban had told Henry that he was not going to get anymore snaps after Alabama went up, 29-7.
But the Gators touchdown forced No. 2 back into the game.
“When they scored, he got to play some more, and he was happy,” Saban said. “Then he made me happy by the way he played. So everybody was happy. Not that they scored.”
Much like last week’s 46-carry, 219-yard performance in the Iron Bowl, Henry turned it on late to help Alabama win its second straight SEC championship.
The junior rushed 25 times for 124 yards and a touchdown in the second half, giving him 189 yards and two scores on 44 total carries.
Along the way, he set the new SEC single-season rushing record and tied the single-season rushing touchdown mark. With two potential games remaining, his 2015 could rival the likes of Bo Jackson’s 1985 or Herschel Walker’s run from 1980-1982.
“They are like my heroes, my football heroes,” Henry said. “Growing up and hearing their name and just watching what they did is incredible. For my name to be mentioned with theirs, it’s an honor and a blessing.”
Alabama has rebounded from a 2-1 start with a blistering 10-game winning streak. In that time, Henry has moved out from LSU running back Leonard Fournette’s shadow and into the spotlight as a surefire Heisman Trophy favorite.
“When we lost, nobody really hung their head,” Henry said. “Everybody came back and refocused and wanted to get here and that’s what we tried to do. I’m just proud of this team. We’re like a family. It just means everything to win this.”