Trent Richardson graduated, but Eddie Lacy is another big, bruising, and generally difficult to stop running back out of the Alabama backfield. Stopping Lacy will be the toughest task for a Notre Dame defense that enters Monday night's national title game as the top scoring defense in the country.
Lacy has speed and moves, most notably a spin that became his signature in his first few seasons for the Crimson Tide. He wasn't bad in his first few years, but was behind Richardson. When he did get the ball, he made the most of it, averaging 7.3 yards per carry as a freshman and 7.1 as a sophomore - the best in the SEC.
Now, he's the team's signature back. The yards-per-carry went down to a still-vicious 6.4, but everything else went up, as the running back hit 100 yards four times and recorded multiple touchdowns three times.
Once he starts going forward, he's hard to stop. Alabama plunged Lacy over and over again into the vaunted Georgia defense during the SEC Championship Game, giving him a season high 20 carries. The result? 181 yards, two touchdowns, and the SEC Championship Game MVP. That said, he's not even the only problem for Notre Dame - backup T.J. Yeldon is just as scary, registering 1,000 yards on the year as well.
If Lacy chooses to enter the draft, Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking the Draft says he'll be one of the first five running backs off the board. It's clear that Lacy will be a key factor in the game, as Bill Connelly tabbed Lacy's matchup with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o as the biggest one in the BCS National Championship Game. That said, Michael Bird looked at how Notre Dame could stop Alabama's power running game.
Here's a look at Lacy's vitals and stats in 2012:
|2012 - Eddie Lacy||13||184||1182||90.9||6.4||16||20||172||13.2||8.6||1|
Here's video of Lacy at his best in the Championship game victory against Georgia: