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Najee Harris grants Megan Rapinoe request with hurdle of Notre Dame player

The Alabama running back says the U.S. women’s soccer star is an inspiration, so she asks him to leap over someone in the Rose Bowl. He obliges.
Alabama running back Najee Harris hurdles Notre Dame cornerback Nick McCloud during a run in the first quarter of the Rose Bowl game in Arlington, Texas on riday, Jan. 1, 2021.
Alabama running back Najee Harris hurdles Notre Dame cornerback Nick McCloud during a run in the first quarter of the Rose Bowl game in Arlington, Texas on riday, Jan. 1, 2021. [ MICHAEL AINSWORTH | AP ]
Published Jan. 2, 2021|Updated Jan. 2, 2021

Memo from college football fans to Megan Rapinoe:

Thank you!

The U.S. women’s soccer national team star earlier this week asked Najee Harris to hurdle a player during Friday’s Rose Bowl against Notre Dame. And the Alabama running back obliged, giving the sport its most iconic play of this bowl season.

The senior took a handoff, ran around right end and found 6-foot Irish cornerback Nick McCloud in his way. Rather than try to juke the defender or run through him, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Harris hurdled McCloud, never losing stride, and raced 53 yards down the sideline. The play set up the Crimson Tide’s second touchdown of the first quarter en route to a 31-14 win in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Arlington, Texas.

Rapinoe posted on Instagram: “You really did it!! It was for me right?!”

Rapinoe’s hurdle request came after Harris singled her out at a Rose Bowl media session earlier in the week, saying she was inspirational because of what she stood for.

“Really all the stuff she stands up for,” Harris, 22, said of his admiration for the 35-year-old Rapinoe. “She’s a feminist and … how women in the world get treated unfairly and how they get paid different and different stuff than men. So she really stands up for all that. I like how she does that.

“Her just listening, standing up, not listening to all the naysayers out there and really just standing up for what she believes in. It’s motivating, it’s inspirational.

“Me as a male, I guess you could say, like, maybe not too many males will say they look up to a woman nowadays. But I really look up to her, just for what she does outside of sports.”

Rapinoe won the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot awards at the 2019 World Cup as the best player and top goal scorer in leading the United States to victory. She has been just as prominent off the field, speaking out against social and racial injustice and fighting for equal pay for U.S. women’s soccer.

Harris also said Rapinoe’s choice of music — such as listening to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle — and her being from California, as is Harris, stood out.

The two-time World Cup champion saw Harris’ kind words and tweeted her request: “Najeeeee … Roll Tide!!!!! (did I do it right?) Be Great … and hurdle someone for me! @ohthatsNajee22”

It’s not the first time Harris has honored Rapinoe during a game. After scoring a touchdown last season, Harris mimicked her famous goal-scoring celebration.

Information from Yahoo Sports and the Bleacher Report contributed to this report.

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