January 2013

Eddie Lacy, Alabama Crimson Tide

The BCS National Championship game might have been over after only 3 minutes had elapsed as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watched the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Eddie Lacy rumble into the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Tide a 7-0 lead that they would never relinquish. Running behind Alabama’s enormous and talented offensive line, Lacy carried the ball 20 times for 140 yards and took home Offensive Player of the Game honors. The Tide crushed the Irish 42-14 after taking a 28-0 lead at halftime. It looked like the Notre Dame defense didn’t want any part of Lacy as tacklers bounced off him or seemed to avoid him altogether. Lacy, who is 6’1″ and 220 pounds, wore out the Irish with his punishing runs.

There was no shortage of glory on the Tide team, with their quarterback, A.J. McCarron, calmly throwing for 4 touchdowns and Lacy’s backup, freshman T.J. Yeldon, also running for 100 yards on the day. It was an exclamation point on the bowl season for the SEC — after LSU’s loss to Clemson and Florida’s stunning defeat at the hands of Louisville, some were questioning the dominance of the nation’s toughest conference. After this game, however, most pundits will be putting Alabama #1 on their pre-season rankings for next season as well as voting them the title this year.

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Eddie Lacy, Alabama Crimson Tide

Eddie Lacy, Alabama Crimson Tide

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

When Adrian Peterson tore up his left knee late in the season last year, no one foresaw the incredible performance he would deliver in 2012. A combination of modern medical treatment and not-from-this-planet genetics allowed Peterson to be at full strength for the season opener and he only got better from there. Going into the season finale against the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Viking runner needed 207 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record, which has stood since 1984. In a the pass-happy modern NFL, it is surprising that anyone gets even within shouting distance of this milestone. During the season, Peterson regularly had more rushing yards than his team had passing yards. He had nearly 900 more yards rushing by himself than the Arizona Cardinals did as a team.

“All-Day” Adrian Peterson gashed the Packers repeatedly during the game and, with Minnesota’s playoff hopes on the line, he took the ball and ran into the left side of the line, juked, and lunged forward for the yardage necessary to allow the Vikings to attempt a game-winning field goal with seconds remaining. It was good and the Purple Gang was off to a rematch with Green Bay in the playoffs, albeit this time on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

For the day, Peterson finished with 199 yards, just 8 short of the record. For the season, he totaled 2097 yards (the second highest total in history) at 6 yards per carry and scored 12 rushing TD’s. These numbers would be amazing for anyone, but for a player coming off serious knee surgery, they are truly astounding. Along with the Denver Bronco’s Peyton Manning (making an injury comeback of his own), Peterson certainly must be considered for the league MVP honor.