NCAA Game Summary - Florida vs. Alabama|
(Saturday, December 5th)
Final Score: (2) Alabama 32, (1) Florida 13
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Mark Ingram made sure history didn't repeat
itself in the SEC Championship game, as the sophomore running back ran for
three touchdowns to send No. 2 Alabama to a convincing 32-13 victory over top-
ranked Florida that assures itself a shot at a national title.
The Crimson Tide (13-0) controlled the tempo with a ground game that amassed
251 yards, backed by Ingram piling up 113 yards on 28 carries. The Heisman
Trophy hopeful also had 76 receiving yards despite suffering a hip pointer in
last week's narrow win over Auburn.
"Our entire team played great," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "Really,
most of the credit goes to our guys up front on the offensive line. This is a
great win for our program."
Alabama, which captured its 22nd SEC title, held the ball for nearly 40
minutes and will likely overtake the Gators (12-1) at the top of the BCS
standings when they come out on Sunday, meaning the Tide will play for the BCS
National Championship in Pasadena. That will likely mean a matchup against
Texas on January 7, as the Longhorns squeaked by Nebraska, 13-12, in Saturday
night's Big 12 title contest.
Florida spoiled Alabama's undefeated campaign last season in the conference
finale, but the defending national champions' non-existent running game and
the suspension of defensive end Carlos Dunlap proved too much to overcome in
the anticipated rematch.
Greg McElroy upstaged All-American Tim Tebow, hitting 12-of-18 passes for 239
yards with a touchdown pass to Colin Peek to earn the game's MVP award.
"It's been such an incredible season," McElroy said. "I can't say enough about
my offensive line, (and) we have the greatest coaching staff in the country.
I'm happy to be able to wear the crimson."
Tebow ran for a team-high 63 yards on 10 carries and threw for 247 yards and a
touchdown on 20-of-35 efficiency.
However, the 2007 Heisman winner threw an interception in the end zone early
in the fourth that essentially ended any chance of a comeback, as the Gators'
school-record 22-game winning streak came to a screeching halt at the Georgia
"We didn't execute very good," Florida head coach Urban Meyer said. "We've got
to find a way to regroup and win a bowl game...We're kind of in a territory we
haven't been in in awhile, and we've got to regroup from a loss."
The Tide led 19-13 at the break and dominated the final 30 minutes to pick up
their first league title since 1999.
Florida got the ball first after halftime, but Riley Cooper was stopped a yard
short of the marker on third down to force a punt.
After Ingram moved the chains with a third-down run, Marquis Maze caught a 28-
yard pass to move into enemy territory. A roughing-the-passer penalty placed
the ball on the 17, and on the next play, McElroy placed a perfect lob pass
over the shoulder of Peek, who held on for the touchdown at the 9:53 mark.
The Gators quickly punted again, and 'Bama padded its 26-13 lead with a back-
breaking drive that lasted nearly nine minutes and featured five third-down
conversions. Ingram rushed for four of them, the last on 3rd-and-1 from the
Florida two-yard line.
On the next play, the powerful tailback capped the 17-play, 88-yard season-
defining march on a one-yard plunge with 1:11 gone in the final stanza.
Tebow needed just six plays to reach the red zone, but a poor throw fell into
the hands of Tide cornerback Javier Arenas for a touchback.
Alabama was content to run the clock, and Florida's turnover on downs on its
next touch resulted in euphoria on the Tide sideline and a tearful Tebow on
"It was frustrating obviously," Tebow said. "This is not how we wanted to
finish our season in the SEC. There were a lot of goals and a lot of goals we
won't be able to accomplish. It was frustrating. To say it wasn't would be a
Alabama's Leigh Tiffin got the scoring started 4:23 into the game with a 48-
yard kick, and Florida went three-and-out on its first possession.
A defensive holding penalty in the red zone aided 'Bama's eight-play, 76-yard
drive, and Ingram finished it by crossing the goal line from seven yards out.
Tiffin's extra point attempt hit off the right upright, keeping it 9-0, the
largest deficit Florida had faced all season.
Caleb Sturgis and Tiffin exchanged kicks of 48 and 34 yards, respectively, the
latter occurring with 6:03 remaining before halftime.
Florida made it a three-point game when Tebow found an open David Nelson for
a 23-yard touchdown, but several big plays remained in the fold in the final
five minutes of the half.
Ingram took a well-designed screen up the right sideline for 69 yards before
being pushed out of bounds at the three, where on the next play he took it in
for a TD with 3:32 on the clock.
Cooper's 59-yard catch-and-run on the next play from scrimmage put Florida
near the red zone, but a pair of incomletions on second and third down brought
out Sturgis for a 32-yard field goal just before intermission.
This was the first SEC title game featuring two undefeated teams...It was the
seventh time the two teams faced one another in the SEC title game with the
Gators holding a 4-3 edge...Ingram broke Bobby Humphrey's single-season school
rushing record of 1,471 yards set in 1986...Florida only allowed one opponent
in the regular season to score 20 points...Dunlap was suspended after he was
arrested and charged with a DUI earlier this week...Florida had just 88 yards
rushing, which was hindered with the early exit of Brandon James
(leg)...Alabama gained 26 first downs, compared to 13 for the Gators...Aaron
Hernandez led the Gators in receiving with eight catches for 85 yards. Cooper
had three grabs for 77 yards...Alabama's Maze finished with five catches for
12/05 23:53:27 ET