SEC Championship: Crimson Tide vs. Tigers
Next up in our selection of graded conference championships, the SEC title game is our second #PFFGoesToCollege game of the week. Sharing notes and full player grades, Gordon McGuinness reviews ...
SEC Championship: Crimson Tide vs. Tigers
Every week PFF has been dipping our toes into the world of college football (#PFFGoesToCollege) and this week is a little different, as we cast our eyes over some of the conference championship games. In the SEC the Alabama Crimson Tide were looking to clinch the conference crown and state their case to be the number one seed in the playoffs, while the Missouri Tigers were hoping to be crowned SEC Champions in a season that saw them improve as the year went on.
Alabama started the game strong with a flawless touchdown drive that Missouri had no answer for. The Tigers were able to keep in close, and entered the fourth quarter within a score, but Alabama were able to pull out of sight in the final 15 minutes.
The Championship game came with some top performances, so with that in mind, let’s dig into the most notable of those.
Alabama Crimson Tide – Performances of Note
Amari Cooper and DeAndre White, WR: +4.4 combined
Breakdown: An offensive performance where quarterback Blake Sims was able to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers early and often, Cooper and White formed a nice duo here. Cooper saw a lot of action early in the game on screens, while it was White who came up with the big touchdown in the second quarter.
Signature Play: Cooper and White had Yards Per Route Run of 2.68 and 3.61 respectively.
Xzavier Dickson, DE: +4.3
Breakdown: The first of two standout performances on the defensive line for Alabama, Dickson had an impressive game with five quarterback hurries. He was simply too much to deal with for Taylor Chappell at right tackle throughout the game.
Signature Play: Q2, 9:53 remaining. Beat Chappell inside with ease to record one of the four pressures he would register against him, with the other coming unblocked.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT: +4.7
Breakdown: While Dickson was the star pass rusher in this one, it was Robinson who produced an impressive performance against the run at defensive tackle. Five tackles against the run, all resulting in defensive stops, he was a nightmare for the Missouri offensive line.
Signature Play: Q4, 14:44 remaining. Overpowering left guard Brad McNulty to the inside, he recorded a tackle for loss here.
Missouri Tigers – Performances of Note
Jimmie Hunt, WR: +3.4
Breakdown: Seemingly ready and waiting to make a big play whenever pressure got to Maty Mauk and forced him to break the pocket, time and time again he came down with the ball. When all was said and done he’d racked up 169 yards on just six receptions.
Signature Play: Q3, 12:46 remaining. You really could take your pick of several downfield receptions. On this one he beat Geno Smith for the big third down conversion.
Lucas Vincent, DT: +2.1
Breakdown: While it was a tough loss for the Tigers, there were a couple of solid performers on defense. The best of those was Vincent, who was Missouri’s best pass rusher with four pressures, including two sacks and a hit.
Signature Play: Q3, 2:05 remaining. It was against Brown that Vincent had the most success, also recording a tackle for loss and a sack against him, but on this play it was a hit, blowing past him on the outside before getting to quarterback Blake Sims.
Taylor Chappell, RT: -6.4
Breakdown: The recipient of most of Dickson’s efforts as a pass rusher, he was responsible for half of the 12 pressures surrendered by the Missouri offense on Saturday. Though it didn’t reach the struggles of his work in pass protection, he also failed to offer much as a run blocker either.
Signature Stat: With six hurries allowed from 35 pass blocking snaps, he had a Pass Blocking Efficiency Rating of 87.1.
PFF Game Ball
Playing so well throughout the game, it wouldn’t seem fair to go with one of the standout defensive linemen over the other, so the Game Ball for the SEC Championship game is split between Xzavier Dickson and A’Shawn Robinson.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon
Gordon McGuinness | Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst
Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.