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Alabama’s Oklahoma native ‘set the tone’ against homestate team

From 30 yards behind the action, Jonah Williams saw that Oklahoma defensive back standing between Josh Jacobs and the end zone and knew what was about to happen.

“I was watching and I was thinking, ‘Yeah, he’s going to run this guy over,’” Williams said, laughing.

He did.

It was one of several big plays for Jacobs against his homestate team.

During the recruiting process, Oklahoma didn’t start to show interest in Jacobs until one month before National Signing Day despite him running for 2,704 yards as a senior for a high school that’s two hours away from the Oklahoma campus. On Saturday, they got a firsthand look at what they missed out on.

Jacobs was one of Alabama’s biggest stars during its Orange Bowl win over the Sooners. The Tulsa native ran for 98 yards, caught four passes for another 60 yards and — as Williams noted — “set the tone” by trucking that Oklahoma DB on his way to the end zone at the end of his second quarter touchdown catch-and-run that pushed the Crimson Tide’s lead to 28-0.

“I think he really led our offense well,” Williams said. “He played with a physical attitude that we were trying to come into the game and instill. We knew that if we came in and played physical and won the line of scrimmage and won the physical matchup that we would have a good chance of winning. And I think Josh, with that touchdown when he ran the guy over, that set the tone nicely for the way that we wanted to play this game and take it to him.”

Jacobs had hoped for an opportunity to play Oklahoma and wanted to make a point on Saturday, telling a Tulsa World reporter during the week, “I just want to prove to Oklahoma when I leave there, when the game is over, that they missed out on me.”

What he did was once again show that he’s one of the nation’s best running backs and one of the top playmakers for an offense that put up 528 yards and 45 points on the Sooners.

“I feel like Josh is probably the most versatile running back that we’ve got,” Tide linebacker Mack Wilson said. “He runs powerful. He’s fast. He just runs angry.”

Oklahoma — specifically that one defensive back, Robert Barnes — learned that last part the hard way.

“On the touchdown catch, I was actually surprised I was that open,” Jacobs said. “Initially when I caught the ball, when I (saw) it was just one defender to beat, I tried to beat him any kind of way I could, and it just happened to be running him over.”

Matt Zenitz is an Alabama and Auburn reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mzenitz.

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