Breaks Bobby Humphrey’s mark
By MICHAEL CASAGRANDE
ATLANTA — Mark Ingram had no clue why his legs failed him as the postgame party surrounded him.
It could have been the 189 all-purpose yards he had in the preceding hours of Alabama’s 32-13 SEC championship win over Florida that did in the muscles.
“I was just jumping around and celebrating and I just cramped up — hamstrings, calves, everything,” he said before getting an IV to replenish the fluids lost.
Those same legs that failed him after the game may have very well put him right back in the Heisman Trophy race. Just a week earlier, his season-low 30 rushing yards at Auburn seemingly knocked him from the top of the list.
After the game, the familiar Heisman questions received familiar responses.
“I really wasn’t worried about all that,” Ingram said. “I just wanted to do everything I could to help this team win — running, catching — whatever I had to do. We came into this game with the mind-set that we weren’t going to be denied.”
Humble, sure, but his shot at being Alabama’s first Heisman Trophy winner in school history is real. He ran for 113 yards on 28 carries — three of which were touchdowns in a convincing answer to the Auburn low point. Ingram showed no signs of the hip pointer suffered in the Iron Bowl win.
Coach Nick Saban said he didn’t practice at full speed until Thursday.
“We didn’t know how he would respond after last week’s game where he got a little frustrated in the game and he got injured,” Saban said.
His response was just what Saban was hoping to see.
In the process, he broke one of the biggest single-season records in the Alabama book. Ingram now has the best season of any Tide running back when he passed Bobby Humphrey’s school mark in the first half. Ingram now has 1,542 yards in 249 attempts to better Humphrey’s old record of 1,471 set in 1986.
Ingram’s biggest play, though, came on a pass.
Leaking out of the backfield late in the first half, Ingram hauled in a short Greg McElroy pass and sprinted up the Alabama sideline. He picked up key blocks from Colin Peek and Julio Jones before being knocked out of bounds at the Gator 3-yard line. That 69-yard reception was reviewed, but was ruled he never stepped out of bounds earlier than originally ruled.
On the next play, Ingram bounced around the right side of the line for an easy 3-yard touchdown run to put Alabama ahead 19-10.
Ingram was also a big part of the 17-play drive in the third and fourth quarters that all but sealed Alabama’s big win. He got the ball three times on third down and he converted every one while running for 37 total yards on the drive.
His 1-yard dive into the end zone sealed the deal.
and could very well have iced off a successful Heisman Trophy campaign.