TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The drive was his.
Alabama’s offense was struggling early in the second quarter Saturday night against Kentucky, so the Crimson Tide turned to their running game. Damien Harris took the first carry for 4 yards.
But the other six touches for 57 yards came from the legs of freshman running back Joshua Jacobs.
All six of Jacobs’ carries on the drive went behind the left side of Alabama’s offensive line. Jacobs capped the seven-play, 61-yard drive with a 1-yard score to give Alabama the lead, 10-3.
“He’s a bowling ball. He’s a good running back,” Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley said. “I saw that when he first got here. He’s one of those young ones that will block and do anything just to get on the field. Everything he’s doing, he’s done it in practice. He deserves everything he is getting.”
Jacobs earned his first career start in place of Harris, who played sparingly because of an ankle injury.
Jacobs rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. It’s the first time Jacobs has reached the century mark in his young career.
Jacobs led Alabama’s rushing attack for the second straight week. He racked up 97 yards and 2 scores in the Kent State game last week when Harris went out with his ankle injury.
“Joshua is a hard-working, sort of very instinctive player,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “He really understands how to press the hole, make cuts. He’s got quickness. He’s got a little burst and acceleration. He’s got good hands. We needed one of our freshman backs to step up this year because we only had two guys left.
“We’ve been pleased with the progress that both (Jacobs and B.J. Emmons) have made, but Josh has certainly done a really good job for us.”
Jacobs also added 3 catches for 44 yards to finish with 144 total yards on 19 touches. Once Harris is healthy, he and Jacobs could develop into one of the top rushing duos in the SEC.
“Josh is really playing well. He’s done a nice job for us,” Saban said. “We have a lot of confidence in Josh, and we have a lot of confidence in Damien Harris, who has played extremely well for us all year long. He was coming off of a little bit of a high ankle sprain and wasn’t able to practice much this week. He was OK and cleared to play in the game, but we decided that we would just spot play him and use him on third-down situations. That gave Josh a little more of an opportunity and he took advantage of it and did a great job.”