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No. 3 Alabama will have to wait and see whether it will have top tailback Brian Robinson Jr. back healthy for the SEC Championship Game against No. 1 Georgia Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (3 p.m. central, CBS).
Robinson, a senior from Tuscaloosa, suffered a “lower body pulled muscle” in the Tide’s 24-22 win at Auburn in four overtimes Saturday, coach Nick Saban said Sunday on a teleconference.
Robinson’s last play was a 37-yard run to Auburn’s 21-yard line that set up a 30-yard field goal by Will Reichard to get the Tide within 7, 10-3, with 8:44 left in the fourth quarter. Alabama tied it 10-10 with 24 seconds to go in regulation on a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bryce Young to wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks.
Robinson finished with 71 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 29 yards.
“We’ll kind of see how he progresses during the course of the week and see where he’s at,” Saban said. “I can’t tell you anymore than that right now.”
Robinson is third in the SEC in rushing with 1,016 yards on 207 carries with 14 touchdowns. Sophomore Trey Sanders, the No. 1 tailback in the nation out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, in 2019 by Rivals.com, replaced Robinson and gained 23 yards on 10 carries and caught two passes for 12 yards.
Sanders also blocked well in pass protection for Young, who was sacked seven times overall but just once in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Tide completed a double-digit comeback.
“When they blitzed, he made great pickups and ran the ball fairly effectively,” Saban said of Sanders. “He did a good job in block protection, especially on some critical passing situations. So, we were pleased. He did a good job. He did a nice job with catching the ball.”
Young was not sacked on 22 passing attempts through the overtimes after Sanders entered the game.
Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) will be going against a Georgia team (12-0, 8-0 SEC) with the No. 1 defense in the nation in fewest points allowed a game at 6.9 and fewest yards allowed a game at 230.6. The Bulldogs are fifth in the nation in sacks with 41.
“Georgia has been the No. 1 team in the country for good reason,” Saban said. “They’re probably the most consistent, most dominant team week in and week out. So, obviously, it’s going to be our biggest challenge, toughest test of the year.”
The Tide is one of the worst teams in the nation at protecting the quarterback as it is 112th of 130 FBS schools in most sacks allowed with 36. Alabama had to juggle its offensive line at halftime after allowing four sacks.
“We didn’t do a very good job of pass blocking,” Saban said. “Did a much better job in the second half. Wasn’t always perfect, but much, much better.”
In other injury news, starting junior cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis did not play at Auburn.
“He had a little hip injury and wasn’t full speed,” Saban said. “So, we’ll see how he responds this week and see if he can be able to play in this game.”
He will be day-to-day like Robinson, Saban said.
In 10 starts this season, Armour-Davis leads the team with three interceptions and has 30 tackles with four pass breakups.