Sims Shatters Records, Expectations In SEC Championship Game
ATLANTA – Before Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, Blake Sims’ career has had mixed reviews at the Georgia Dome. By the end of it, it's now mostly positive.
In addition to leading the Crimson Tide to a 42-13 win over Missouri, Sims broke or tied three records during the game, including the school's single-season passing yards record.
Sims, a fifth-year senior, broke the mark of 3,063 yards held by AJ McCarron on his 58-yard touchdown pass to DeAndrew White early in the second quarter.
Sims, who entered the game 76 yards shy of the record at 2,988 yards is now only the second quarterback in program history to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark in a season, alongside McCarron. He has 3,250 yards for the season with up to two games left to play.
In addition, he posted an all-time high for completion percentage in an SEC Championship Game (85.2 percent), which included a game record-tying streak of nine straight completions to begin the game.
Overall, Sims completed 23-of-27 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns, earning him game MVP honors. His performance comes just five years removed from a last-play loss in his high school state championship game and just over three months passed since his first start in an Alabama uniform as a fifth-year senior.
“It’s a great feeling,” Sims said. “Back in high school, I played here my last game in the championship, and we lost. Pretty much I was just playing for everybody down the road in Gainesville High. And just pretty much just going out playing, doing everything that Coach (Nick) Saban has taught me and Coach (Lane) Kiffin has taught me and just trust my players that they’re going to play hearts out and leave no regrets on the field.”
In his first four years at Alabama, Sims played a multitude of positions and roles, including running back and safety in addition to two years as McCarron’s backup. It’s not something Saban has soon forgotten.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a player go through any more than Blake went through for four years as a player, and never once did he ever not do whatever he needed to do to help the team,” Saban said. “He played on a scout team so many times when we’d play against a zone read quarterback, when he was the backup quarterback, never complained about it, and I’ve never seen a guy work so hard from last spring when he had an opportunity to be the quarterback, through the summer, and to work in fall camp and get the confidence of his players and execute well and just learn how to take what the defense gives.
“He has done a phenomenal job for us all year long.”
In the season opener against West Virginia on Aug. 30, Sims set Alabama records for a quarterback in his first-career start with 24 completions and 33 attempts.
Against Florida three weeks later, Sims gained 484 yards of total offense, the most in a single game by one player in program history. His 445 passing yards in that game were also the second-most ever in the Alabama record books.
“He's grown tremendously,” wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “He's a better leader. He's more confident. Those are all good qualities.”
Through Saturday, Sims is 26 completions shy of breaking John Parker Wilson’s single-season record of 255 set in 2007 and five touchdown passes away from surpassing the 30 logged by McCarron in 2012.