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Alabama Football Film Room: Najee Harris puts on a show against LSU

Harris racked up 190 yards on 22 touches against LSU.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Could I do a film room about some of the things that lead to Alabama’s loss to LSU? Sure. But You don’t want to see that. And I don’t want to rewatch that over and over. So let’s look at one of the bright spots: Najee Harris’s strong performance.

1st and 10: Harris (#22) is to Tua Tagovailoa’s left. Alabama has a heavy formation with Kendall Randolph (#85), an interior offensive lineman converted to tight end, in-line on the right. Both guards pull to the right, and Harris gets the handoff. It’s blocked well, and Harris is patient. He bides his time before seeing the lane, and he cuts upfield. LSU safety Jacoby Stevens (#3) plays it conservatively to make sure he doesn’t blow it, and Harris gains extra yards before finally being brought down after a 31 yard gain.

3rd and 13: Harris is on Tagovailoa’s left hip for this third and long. The offensive line shifts left, which leaves LSU freshman safety Marcel Brooks (#9) unblocked by the line; so Harris has to cross over to the right and pick him up. Harris does and stops the initial rush, forcing him upfield. This gives Tagovailoa the time to step up and hit Jerry Jeudy (#4) for the big first down.

2nd and 10: Similar to the first play, Harris gets the handoff and goes to the outside as the two guards pull, left this time. LSU linebacker Patrick Queen (#8) is in perfect position to stop this for a short gain. Fortunately for Alabama, he hits Harris high, just shoving him. Harris shrugs it off, regains his footing, and keeps running. An LSU defensive lineman grabs ahold of his right leg and doesn’t let go, stopping Harris. Still, Harris stays upright, balances himself, and lunges forward to pick up an extra couple yards, dragging 308lb Rashard Lawrence.

3rd and 3: Alabama again pulls both guards. Unfortunately, an LSU defender does a good job of getting into the backfield quickly before Evan Neal (#73) can get there, and Harris has to bounce it outside. Cornerback Derek Stingley has come around, though; and Harris sees he has not shot at picking up the crucial first down on the left. So he goes back to the right. Neal has flattened one defender; and defensive end Glen Logan (#97) has tried to get to his left to cut Harris off. Logan goes too far, however; and Harris plants and shoots forward. Logan does trip Harris up, but Bama has the first down.

1st and 10: It’s the next play. Alabama sends a receiver in motion (I think it’s #6 DeVonta Smith, but it could be #8 John Metchie) left to right. Tagovailoa runs to his right, drawing the deep safety that way. He stops and looks back to his left, and he launches a beautiful back shoulder throw to Najee Harris. Harris and Patrick Queen, who has good coverage, engage in some hand-fighting. Harris turns and jumps in one smooth motion, and he catches it out in front of his body with both hands. He gets the one foot necessary down, secures the ball, and then gets a second foot down for good measure.