Anderson’s Alabama teammates marvel at his ‘Heisman’ heroics.

Anderson’s Alabama teammates marvel at his ‘Heisman’ heroics.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Heisman moments don’t happen against Louisiana-Monroe. However, when it comes to celebrating Will Anderson Jr.’s first touchdown. in an Alabama uniform, Crimson Tide teammates aren’t afraid to generate a little hype.

Just ask cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry, who began his assessment of the reigning Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner with one word.

“Heisman,” McKinstry said, shaking his head. “What can’t he do, man? I mean, I’ve seen it all.”

McKinstry believed that was the case in Alabama’s game against ULM on Saturday. Last season, the sophomore saw Anderson lead the nation with 33.5 tackles for a loss and 17.5 sacks in 15 games, putting together the most dominant campaign by a Crimson Tide linebacker since Derrick Thomas’ 1988 record.

Of course, Anderson had a new trick up his sleeve Saturday as he recorded his first career interception, picking off a pass at the ULM 25-yard line before racing into the end zone for a score.

“Actually, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen him catch an interception,” said McKinstry, who now has as many career interceptions as Anderson. “We are so proud of him. He brings so much energy to the team.”

Anderson’s score came as ULM quarterback Chandler Rogers was pressured to hit defensive back Malachi Moore on the right side. Looking to get the ball out quickly, the quarterback fired a pass that eluded the hands of running back Andrew Henry. From there, Anderson jumped to grab the ball before scoring down the right side. Rodgers gave chase, but a simple stiff hand from Anderson around the 15-yard line allowed the 6-foot-4, 243-pound tight end to easily sidestep the quarterback.

After the game, Anderson was not made available to Alabama to discuss his heroics. However, Mike Henry linebacker To’oTo’o did his best to summarize both the play and Anderson’s reaction from his own vantage point on the field.

“He’s probably surprised he caught it,” To’oTo’o said with a laugh. “I’m not going to lie. He definitely had a bit of a stiff arm and then watched it when they put the highlights on the board. He was like, “Man, I can’t believe I did that.”

The play before his touchdown return, Anderson recorded a sack, bringing down Rogers for a 3-yard loss on first-and-10. The edge rusher finished Saturday’s game with five total stops, including 1.5 for a loss , to go with his Pick 6.

Through three games, Anderson has 15 tackles, 4.5 for loss, with a pair of sacks. While that’s not bad, he’ll need to step it up if he’s going to match last year’s production that saw him finish fifth in the Heisman voting.

According to VegasInsider, Anderson currently has the fifth-best Heisman odds in the country at +2200. Saturday’s score will help improve that as it puts the linebacker back in the conversation for the award after a penalty game against Texas.

At least it gave him and his teammates something to smile about.

“Surely proud of him,” said To’oTo’o, “and he was happy about it.”

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