| NEWS How Alabama football's Brian Robinson, Jase McClellan showed their dependability in win over Florida


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Touchdown Club
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Alabama football needed a score, and it needed one bad.

Florida had built on its first-half momentum Saturday with a score, driving the field in 10 plays for a touchdown to start the second half. More importantly for the Gators, that score kept their fans right in the game, rattling the stadium and making ears buzz.

Alabama running backs Brian Robinson and Jase McClellan did their best to curb that.

They capped off a 13-play drive with a vital response. McClellan brought a pass within inches of the first-down marker on third-and-8 from the Florida 10. Then on the next play, fourth-and-1 from the 3-yard line, Robinson bounced outside and walked into the end zone untouched.

“I thought those two guys both really did an outstanding job,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Robinson and McClellan served as the lifeblood for the Crimson Tide offense, leading No. 1 Alabama as it held off No. 9 Florida, 32-29. The two backs are foundations upon which the Crimson Tide can build as it smooths out the passing game moving forward.

Robinson proved he can get the job done in big moments. His tough running style fits that role well.

Earlier in that same drive when he scored on fourth down, Robinson might have impressed more. Alabama hadn’t mustered a first down since the first quarter, and forget scoring – it needed one as not to keep the three-and-out streak from rolling into the second half.

Enter Robinson.

On third-and-3, he churned his legs and gained 11.

“B-Rob played a really good game,” Saban said. “I thought he did a really good job in the game.”

The efforts of Robinson and McClellan in the first quarter are what helped Alabama take a sizeable lead in the first place. Their touchdown receptions are easy to spot, but their help extended past their scores.

Early in the opening quarter, McClellan served as a valuable option for quarterback Bryce Young in the passing game as the sophomore quarterback faced a hostile environment and plenty of pressure.

Over a two-play span, McClellan caught a 9-yard pass and an 18-yard pass to move the chains.

Then on the next drive, Robinson scored his touchdown by sidestepping a defender he could have ran over easily. But he also played a crucial role in a pass earlier on the drive to set up his touchdown reception.

On third-and-5, Robinson stepped in front of a pass rusher coming free. The blitz pickup allowed Young time to throw a 15-yard strike to Jameson Williams over the middle to convert.

Robinson finished with 75 yards rushing on 14 carries for an average of 5.4 yards per carry. He also had a 23-yard run.

McClellan’s true value came in the passing game. He wasn't efficient as a rusher, only managing 17 yards on nine carries, but he caught four passes for 41 yards. McClellan’s fresh off a three-touchdown performance against Mercer, too.

Stats only tell part of the story, though. One quality they don’t show: toughness.

Each running back showed that by making plays when every yard mattered, but Robinson especially put his toughness on display.

First, Robinson had something awkward happen to his leg on a play in the first quarter that forced him to jog off the field. He returned, though. Then, later in the game, Saban said Robinson “bruised his ribs or something.”

Robinson should be OK, Saban added.

It’s unclear when the injury happened exactly, but Robinson was playing up until the very last drive. And he managed to convert an important third-and-2, grinding out the first down.

Here’s what is clear: Robinson is tough, and he and McClellan, proved Saturday that Alabama can go to them in difficult situations.

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