Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough stands on the stage after the Peach Bowl NCAA college football playoff game against Washington, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Atlanta. Alabama won 24-7. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore
December 31, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) Bo Scarbrough broke tackles, juked defenders and headed to the end zone.

Then No. 1 Alabama's backup - yes, backup - tailback did it again. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound Scarbrough flashed power and moves on both his 18-yard touchdown run early and his 68-yarder in the fourth quarter that all but iced the Crimson Tide's 24-7 victory over No. 4 Washington Saturday in the Peach Bowl and helped launch the team to another national championship game.

None of it surprised his teammates, who have seen it all in practice. Or `Bama fans who had long pegged the local Tuscaloosa product for stardom.

''I thought he was a monster,'' Tide linebacker Ryan Anderson said. ''I saw him make those runs against us in scrimmage since he got here so it wasn't a surprise to me.''

Scarbrough finished with 180 yards on 19 carries to continue a strong finish to a season that didn't get started so well. Damien Harris has been the Tide starter and even freshman Josh Jacobs got more carries early in the season.

Scarbrough worked his way back up the rotation, though. He had a breakout, 91-yard performance in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Four weeks later, Scarbrough came back to the Georgia Dome and announced himself even more emphatically to the rest of the nation as another rising star for the Tide.

Scarbrough had an injury-plagued high school career in Tuscaloosa and arrived as a heralded five-star prospect in January 2015. That spring, he tore a knee ligament in a scrimmage and that cost him the first four games of his freshman season.

''Bo has always been a really hard worker, and he's had some obstacles to overcome, mostly little injury type things that have plagued him a little bit,'' Tide coach Nick Saban said. ''But never once did he put his head down. Never once did he get frustrated or discouraged. Just kept working. Every time you call on him, he's ready to roll.

''And you guys know me. Whoever's hot, that's who's going to get the ball and he's been hot lately and he's going to get the ball.''

A couple of defenders had a shot at Scarbrough in the backfield on his long run, but he powered through both attempts, made a move to get away for another and then cut inside.

''My mind was blank,'' Scarbrough said. ''It's like, `Oh, I just scored.' Then when I looked back, I saw my whole team running down the field and I caught the chills because I saw they had my back and they believed that I could get the job done.''

He's pretty much proven that, now.

Scarbrough transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for his senior year. Coach Chris Weinke told him he had to work on his blocking, and now Scarbrough feels like he's got that down pretty well, too.

He has bigger ambitions now, both for the team and personally.

''I'm just trying to win a national championship,'' he said. ''That's a team goal. And I want to be the best, most complete back in the country.''

---

More AP college football coverage: www.collegefootball.ap.org

You May Like