Derrick Henry still coming up big for No. Alabama

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Derrick Henry has become this year's version of Amari Cooper for Alabama's offense.

When in doubt, the third-ranked Crimson Tide gets the ball to its star tailback and more often than not, he's been delivering. Never more so than his 38-carry, 210-yard performance in Saturday night's 30-16 win over No. 9 LSU.

Henry has taken over the Tide's offense much like Cooper did as a wide receiver last season on his way to becoming a Heisman Trophy finalist - something that's also looking increasingly possible for the 6-foot-3, 240-pound tailback.

The Tide will certainly keep feeding him the ball.

''He's done well so far, and he's a beast,'' Alabama quarterback Jake Coker said after the game. ''He hasn't slowed down yet. He keeps on going so why not, when you have that option?''

Henry has averaged 30 carries over the past five games for the Tide (8-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) with nine touchdowns.

He's been at his best in the big games so far, averaging 173.6 yards against the team's five ranked opponents. Next up is No. 20 Mississippi State on the road.

The methods of Lane Kiffin's offense have changed, but the results aren't too different. He's targeting his best playmaker as often as possible.

And it's working - again.

Cooper accounted for 56 percent of the catches by Alabama receivers last season. The Tide has scrapped its typical platoon system at running back, with Henry nabbing 67 percent of the tailbacks' carries. Backup Kenyan Drake did have a strong game against LSU with 68 yards.

The Tigers came into the game giving up an average of just 93 yards on the ground.

Henry's 14 consecutive games with a rushing touchdown is the longest active streak in the country and matches the SEC record set by Florida quarterback Tim Tebow from 2006-07. Mostly overshadowed by LSU's Leonard Fournette, Henry now ranks sixth nationally in both rushing yards and scoring with 17 touchdowns, including three against the Tigers.

Like Cooper, Henry isn't particularly chatty, deflecting questions about the Heisman and wanting no part in the conversation about him versus Fournette leading up to the game.

He wasn't reticent about his fourth-quarter fumble that set up LSU's final touchdown.

''I'm very mad about that,'' Henry said. ''I'm not happy about that. I'm still upset about that. That's killing me, but I just wanted to finish the (final) drive.''

He certainly did that, carrying 10 times on the Tide's last drive that consumed more than 9 minutes to run out the clock, plus one carry negated by a holding penalty.

Unlike Henry, Fournette never got going in the game. The nation's leading rusher managed just 31 yards on 19 carries against the No. 2 run defense.

The two powerful backs exchanged a brief hug afterward.

''I just told him to keep on playing hard and keep making plays for his team,'' said Henry, who tracked down his LSU counterpart. ''He just nodded. He didn't have much to say, but I know he'll do a great job the rest of the season.''

`Bama is banking on Henry doing the same.


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