STARKVILLE, MISSISSIPPI - SEPTEMBER 30: Jase McClellan #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium on September 30, 2023 in Starkville, Mississippi.
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Alabama Loses Key Offensive Weapon for SEC Championship Game

The Alabama Crimson Tide are gearing up for their biggest game of the year, but they'll be doing so without running back Jase McClellan, who will miss the game due to injury.

Austin Hannon with Bama Central reported on Thursday that the Crimson Tide won't have McClellan on Saturday, ruling him out due to a foot injury. It will be McClellan's first game that he's missed all season, and it could not have come at a worse time for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide offense.

The senior running back has had a very strong year for Alabama. McClellan has averaged 4.8 yards per carry this season, racking up 803 yards and six touchdowns as the Crimson Tide's leading rusher. Although he has had a modest career compared to recent greats at the position, McClellan's absence will still be felt in a big way for Alabama.

Instead, the Crimson Tide will have to lean more heavily on fellow senior back Roydell Williams. The 214-pound back has only had 94 carries this season, but he's made the most of them with 497 yards and four touchdowns, averaging a strong 5.3 yards per carry. Underclassmen backs Jam Miller and Justice Haynes could also be more involved, as Saban has notoriously ramped up the workload of young, talented backs in the past during the program's previous postseason runs.

McClellan's absence will also ramp up the pressure on quarterback Jalen Milroe, who has turned things around drastically after being benched earlier this season. His erratic passing has calmed down over the tail end of the regular season, while he's continued to be a dynamic threat with his legs, finding the end zone 12 times on the ground.

However, if the Crimson Tide want to have any shot at upsetting a dominant Georgia Bulldogs team on Saturday, then Milroe will need to have one of his best games of the season while dealing with the absence of an established weapon in McClellan.

MORE: Alabama Running Back Jase McClellan Goes 81 Yards to the House Against Texas