@BR Boxtext bold lede colon:THE STAR
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy was the best quarterback Saturday, a conclusion that would have been laughable before the game. He led the Tide offense to 490 total yards – 239 of which came on his 12 completions on 18 throws. In one second-quarter drive, he threw a key block for running back Trent Richardson and later tip-toed the sideline for a big first down. He found secondary receivers like Marquis Maze when first downs were a must and he never threw an interception while Tim Tebow threw a pick in the fourth quarter.
Mark Ingram’s 69-yard catch and run on the first play after Florida cut the lead to 12-10 late in the second quarter. It showed Alabama had the bullets to fire back after a lightning-quick four-play Gator drive that appeared to signify the beginning of Florida’s offensive rebound. But the long catch and three-yard touchdown run that followed put Alabama ahead 19-10 and never let Florida come closer than six.
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The Alabama defensive strategy that forced Tebow to throw from the pocket instead of run like a fullback was big. He had two big first down runs in the second-quarter touchdown drive but did little running after that. True, he was playing from behind and needing to throw the ball more often, but Alabama had the answer every time Florida threatened in the second half.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“It’s a big reason why a lot of people come here, is to play for the tradition. Our fullback said it best tonight. Baron Huber, he said: ‘If you can write a page in history, what would you want it to say?’ ” — Greg McElroy
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Rushing touchdowns Florida had given up in its previous six games. It gave up three Saturday, all to Alabama tailback Mark Ingram.
2: Coaches to have won SEC titles at more than one school: Nick Saban and Bear Bryant. Outside of Alabama, the titles were won at LSU and Kentucky, respectively.
3: Trips into the red zone Alabama’s defense allowed Florida on Saturday. The Gators scored on just one of those chances.
11: Third downs converted by Alabama in 15 chances on Saturday.
21:12: Second-half time of possession for Alabama.
1,500: Mark Ingram is the only Alabama running back in school history to rush for more than 1,500 yards in a single season. He broke the old record of 1,471 held by Bobby Humphrey in 1986.
Bran Strickland and Michael Casagrande