Alabama Crimson Tide: Cierre Wood

How they measure up: Running backs

December, 31, 2012
Editor's note: Every day from now until kickoff in Miami, TideNation will break down the matchups position-by-position. Today we'll look at the battle of the running backs.

Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon
Icon SMI, US PresswireEddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon became the first tailbacks in Alabama history to both go over 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
Alabama: Those who looked for a drop-off in production from the running back position at Alabama were sorely mistaken. A Heisman Trophy contender left, and a fabulous freshman talent replaced him. Everyone knew Eddie Lacy would be the man at tailback, but few expected T.J. Yeldon, just a few months removed from high school graduation, would come to Tuscaloosa and earn what amounted to 1A status at the position. The former four-star recruit flipped from Auburn to Alabama after then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn bolted for Arkansas State.

The Lacy-Yeldon tandem has proved as effective as the many before it: Trent Richardson and Lacy in 2011, Richardson and Mark Ingram in 2010, Glenn Coffee and Ingram in 2008.

"We have always had two backs -- it’s sort of a philosophical thing that we like," Saban explained. "Durability is such a critical factor in running backs that if you play one guy all the time it enhances his chances of not being able to continue to play at the same level. It’s always been our goal to play two guys -- not always equally, but fairly equally to where both guys have a better chance to sustain the season at a high level and are productive throughout."

Lacy and Yeldon have combined for 2,182 total rushing yards and 29 total touchdowns. They became the first running backs at Alabama to both break the 1,000-yard rushing mark.

Notre Dame: Like Alabama, the Fighting Irish employ a two-back system, not to mention the production they get on the ground from quarterback Everett Golson. Unlike Alabama, the pair of senior tailbacks don't get the same publicity. Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood have combined for 1,620 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 39 receptions this season, helping Notre Dame to the 28th-ranked rushing attack in the country, just nine spots behind the Crimson Tide.

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