SEC Championship Game Preview: Alabama vs. Florida

Story posted December 19, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Rocco

We have officially made it championship weekend and the SEC championship sees a battle between two powerhouses in the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll with a record of 10-0.

Alabama has arguably the best offense in the country as it averages 50 points per game and has playmakers all over the field.

After Tua Tagovailoa went pro, many people had their doubts about Mac Jones. However, Jones has proved everyone wrong this season. Jones has passed for 3,321 yards, 27 touchdowns and thrown just three interceptions.

To pair with Jones in the backfield, Alabama has a great running back in Najee Harris. Harris has run the ball 183 times for 1,084 yards and 22 touchdowns. Harris also has 22 catches for 247 yards this season.

Alabama is known for producing great receivers and this year is no exception. Jones’s favorite target this season has been DeVonta Smith. Smith has 83 catches, 1,327 yards and has found the endzone 15 times. John Metchie III has been a great second option as he has hauled in 40 catches for 720 yards and six touchdowns.

Alabama also plays very stout defense, as the Crimson Tide have allowed their opponents just around 17 points per game.

Defensive linemen Christian Barmore has played great this season, recording six and a half tackles-for-loss and six sacks.

Alabama has an elite linebacking corps led by Christian Harris and Dylan Moses. Harris has 65 tackles, two and a half sacks and two pass deflections this season, while Moses has 62 tackles, one and a half sacks, two pass deflections and an interception.

Coming off the edge the Crimson Tide features two dominant pass rushers in Will Anderson Jr. and Christian Allen. Anderson Jr. has recorded 37 tackles, eight and a half tackles-for-loss, and five sacks. Allen on the season has 28 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss and five sacks.

The secondary is led by cornerbacks Malachi Moore and Patrick Surtain II. Moore in just his freshman season has six pass deflections and three interceptions. Surtain has eight pass deflections and one interception.

The No. 11 Florida Gators have a record of 8-2. The Gators suffered a brutal 41-38 loss against No. 5 Texas A&M earlier in the season and are entering this game coming off of a 37-34 loss to LSU.

Florida’s quarterback Kyle Trask has been phenomenal this season. He has passed for 3,717 yards, 40 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Trask will need to play like he has played the entire season if the Gators want to win.

The Gators have a solid running game led by running back Dameon Pierce. Pierce has 441 yards, three touchdowns on 93 carries this season. He has also been a factor in the receiving game, as on 15 catches he has 136 yards and a touchdown.

Florida has arguably the best tight end in the country in Kyle Pitts. Pitts in just seven games has racked up 36 catches, 641 yards and 11 touchdowns. Pitts has been injured recently but is trending toward playing in this game. If Pitts is on the field, the Crimson Tide defense will have a tough test.

Trask’s favorite target has been receiver Kadarius Toney. Toney has 62 catches for 831 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Trevon Grimes has been a great third option for Trask, as he has totals of 34 catches, 511 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Gators defense has struggled at times as their opponents are averaging 26 points per game.

Defensive lineman Zachary Carter has generated a ton of pressure recording seven tackles-for-loss and four sacks.

The Gators have two great linebackers in Brenton Cox Jr. and Ventrell Miller. Cox Jr. has 40 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, and three and a half sacks. Miller has been all over the field this season, registering 80 tackles, seven and a half tackles-for-loss, three and a half sacks and three pass deflections.

The Gators’ secondary is led by defensive back Kaiir Elam who has an outstanding 11 pass deflections and two interceptions on the season. Marco Wilson has also played solid recording four pass deflections.

The game will take place on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia.

Prediction: Alabama 45, Florida 28

 

Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at afr5646@psu.edu.