Josh Jacobs didn’t throw a pass in the Iron Bowl on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
That’s about all Alabama’s running back didn’t do in the Crimson Tide’s 52-21 victory over Auburn at Bryan-Denny Stadium.
The 5-foot-10, 216-pound junior from Tulsa rushed five times for 28 yards, averaging a team-best 5.6 yards per carry. He caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. He ran over and around defenders. He provided blocking protection for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“I lined up in everything today: I went slot, quarterback, running back and I went out wide,” he said. “So just about everything.”
His touchdown came with 9:49 to go in the third quarter to put Alabama up 31-14 and in full command. Tagovailoa faked a handoff to Jacobs and the running back turned upfield, splitting between two defenders who turned to pursue. The quarterback dropped the ball over his left shoulder, and Jacobs hauled it in as a third defender – a safety – came over trying to help the two trailing defenders. Instead, he collided with one as Jacobs pulled away. A defensive back tried to block his path, and Jacobs swerved around him into the end zone.
“I had a streak (pattern) and when I saw the ball I was double-covered, I think,” Jacobs said. “When I saw him throw it, I didn’t think he was throwing it to me at first, so when I turned my head around I saw the ball at the last minute and tried to make an in-game adjustment.
“Basically I just went wide, outside the tackle, and just ran. When I got the ball and I seen there was one man left I just did what I could to get into the end zone.”
At another point in the game, he took on an Auburn defender head-on, collision-style.
“At first I thought he was going to go low. When he was (instead) standing up, I was like, ‘Here we go,’” Jacobs said.
Ross Pierschbacher likes Jacobs’ attitude.
“He runs angry,” Alabama’s center said. “He blocks that way too.”
That’s probably why Jacobs has developed into a role as the Crimson Tide’s go-to back around the goal line.
“It’s because he’s so aggressive, he’s not afraid to get in there and get dirty,” Pierschbacher said.
Jacobs said he likes to run at defenders early in games to establish a level of physicality. But he decides whether to run over or around would-be tacklers depending on the situation.
“I kind of depend on body position,” he said. ‘I’m seeing if he’s leaning or falling or is he on his toes. I kind of look at a lot.”
There’s more to Jacobs than has been on display so far this season, apparently. Just because he didn’t pass against the Tigers doesn’t mean he can’t, or won’t in the future.
“You guys have seen Josh can run the ball,” Tagovailoa said. “He can catch the ball. You guys haven’t seem him throw the ball yet, but he can throw the ball, too.”