Preseason expectations for Bo Scarbrough were that the former five-star recruit would take over for Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry in the coveted role of Alabama's No. 1 running back. It never materialized in the regular season, but on Saturday, Washington found out what all the August excitement was about.
Scarbrough, who is eligible to apply for the 2017 NFL Draft as a third-year sophomore, rumbled for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to lift the Crimson Tide to a 24-7 win over UW in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
"Bo's been playing really well for us the last three or four games, so we were going to play him more," Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN. "The guy is hard to tackle. He's big and powerful, and he's playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Scarbrough broke the game open with a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that essentially put the game away for the defending national champions, and picked up several key first downs on a night when the UA passing game struggled.
It was a long time coming.
Scarbrough averaged just 8.2 carries per game entering Saturday, not including two games he missed due to injury. He recorded only one other 100-yard game this season, at Tennessee, thanks to an 85-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run.
The vaunted Alabama defense, with top draft prospects at all three levels, did its part as well. Washington entered the game averaging 477 yards per game, but managed only 194 against a Crimson Tide front that proved stingy against the run and harassed star QB Jake Browning consistently (five sacks). Browning finished 20 of 38 for 150 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Linebacker Ryan Anderson, a senior who has been projected as first- or second-round 2017 draft pick, returned an interception for a touchdown late in the first half to give Alabama a 17-7 lead entering the locker room. Senior DE Jonathan Allen, another top draft prospect, recovered a first-half fumble and had a sack, as well.