Tide Rolls Past Longhorns
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy has been durable, responsible for more wins than any signal-caller in college football history, finished second and third in the last two Heisman Trophy votes, and is expected to be a high NFL draft choice.
Impressive resume, but this was rendered moot after the senior was drilled in the right shoulder by Alabama end Marcell Dareus on an option play during the Longhorns’ fifth play from scrimmage, knocking him out of commission for the rest of the Bowl Championship Series title game last Thursday night at the Rose Bowl.
As usual, the top-ranked Crimson Tide employed a two-headed running attack paced by this season’s Heisman winner Mark Ingram, and a smashing defense that limited Texas to 276 total net yards, en route to a 37-21 victory as 94,906 fans watched.
For the first time since 1992, and the eighth since 1936 when the Associated Press poll began, Alabama (263 yards) is the top dog.
Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban claimed his second BCS crown, the first since he guided another Southeastern Conference power Louisiana State in 2003.
“I didn’t have a time table for this,’’ said Saban. “My players bought into what we were trying to do.”
Don’t be fooled by the final score, because No. 2 Texas closed within 24-21 with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter as true freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who started one of 10 for minus four yards and two interceptions in the opening half, unloaded two touchdowns to wide receiver Jordan Shipley.
Trailing, 24-6, at the intermission, Gilbert (15 of 40 for 186 yards and four interceptions) led Texas on a 59-yard, five-play excursion that was climaxed with a 44-yard pass to Shipley (10 receptions for 122 yards) and 1:31 remaining in the third quarter, narrowing the lead to 24-13, and made it a three-point affair with a 28-yard toss to Shipley that ended a nine-play, 65-yard march.
Texas (13-1) took a 6-0 lead when kicker Hunter Lawrence, who saved Texas’ bacon with a last second field goal against Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game, drilled an 18-yarder with 9:11 left after Alabama punter P.J. Fitzgerald faked a punt, and was intercepted by safety Blake Gideon.
Lawrence converted a 42-yarder about a minute later when Texas recovered an onside pooch kick at the Tide 30.
From there, it was all Alabama (14-0), as Ingram capped a seven-play, 57-yard drive with a two-yard dash early in the second quarter to make it 7-6.
“We did this for the Alabama fans,’’ said Ingram, a sophomore who gained 116 yards on 22 carries, and who added a one-yard burst with 2:01 left in the fourth quarter to make it 31-21, after linebacker Eryk Anders sacked Gilbert, and linebacker Courtney Upshaw recovered at the Texas 4.
“I did this for my father,’’ added Ingram. Poignant, because his dad, who played in the NFL, is currently in prison.
Running back Trent Richardson (109 yards on 19 carries) broke up the middle for a 49-yard run to make it 14-6 with 7:59 left in the second quarter, and added a two-yard gallop for the final points.
With 15 seconds left before the half, Gilbert tossed a shovel pass to running back D.J. Monroe, who lost the handle, and which Dareus intercepted and rambled 28 yards for an 18-point bulge.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a contributor to trufanboxing.com. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.