The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 24, 2012

MSU's Perkins is SEC's unlikely leading rusher

(Continued)

Now Perkins gets to test his running skills against arguably the best defense in college football. Alabama is giving up just 195.6 total yards per game, including just 58.7 yards on the ground. Both numbers lead the SEC by a wide margin.

The Crimson Tide hasn't given up 100 yards rushing to a team this season — much less one person.

But Perkins is still optimistic. He said quarterback Tyler Russell's emergence has helped open running room all season. Russell is fifth in the SEC in passing with 224.7 yards per game and thrown 15 touchdowns.

"I feel like we have a great chance to run the ball, because I know we can throw the ball well too, so that's going to open things up for us," Perkins said.

Perkins won't necessarily have to face the Alabama defense alone. Backup running backs Derrick Milton, Josh Robinson and Nick Griffin also all had good moments in various roles, while backup quarterback Dak Prescott has rushed for three touchdowns this season in goal-line situations.

"They've got a really good scheme that they run the ball with, and lots of multiples in terms of how they present it, how they try to confuse defensive players," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

But trickery alone probably won't beat Alabama. The Bulldogs are going to need a few big plays — and Perkins is one of the most likely candidates to make one happen.

He showed his big-play ability last week with a 64-yard touchdown run against Middle Tennessee that helped turn a close game into a 45-3 victory.

"A guy my size, it's hard to get a good lick on me because I'm low to the ground and pretty shifty," Perkins said. "If they hit me hard, they hit me hard, but I don't look at it like that. I just make sure I follow my block, stay behind the offensive line and good things will happen."

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