T.J. Yeldon continues to amaze anonymously

    When it matters, Alabama turns to T.J. Yeldon    
When it matters, Alabama turns to T.J. Yeldon. (USATSI)

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron has won two national titles, and could be on his way to a third, yet when his name is mentioned as a Heisman candidate, he's usually brushed off by detractors as a "game manager."

But why is it that nobody ever mentions Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon?

On Saturday night in Alabama's 38-17 win over LSU on Saturday night, it was Yeldon serving as the most valuable player on the best team in the country. Yeldon was not only the center of Alabama's offense, but he was also its best defender.

Yeldon rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Tide churn out drives of 78, 80, 79, 71 and 78 yards during the game. Touchdown drives that took a total of 25 minutes and 13 seconds off the clock.

Drives that kept the LSU offense off the field.

Throughout the night, it was obvious that Yeldon was the best player on the field when he had the ball in his hands. With his ability to change direction on a dime and accelerate, his vision as a ballcarrier to find a hole and avoid a tackler. It was a virtuoso performance, but you'll never hear Yeldon mentioned by anybody as a Heisman candidate.

After tonight's performance Yeldon now has 1,008 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Now, those numbers aren't amazing, but when Alabama is facing a major challenge, it knows where to go.

Without question Alabama's three biggest games of the season have been LSU, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. In those three games Yeldon has 357 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Those are also the three games in which Yeldon has gotten the most carries during a game, with 17 against the Hokies, and 25 apiece against Texas A&M and Alabama.

So while most people don't realize how important T.J. Yeldon is to the Tide, Alabama does.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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