Ingram pulls double whammy: Heisman, BCS title
- John Zenor, AP Sports Writer
January 8, 2010
PASADENA, CA. -- Mark Ingram ran right over that Heisman Trophy jinx.
Mark Ingram celebrates with the BCS Championship trophy after
winning the Citi BCS National Championship game.
Turning in a workmanlike performance with a few timely plays, the
Alabama tailback carried 22 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns
Thursday night in a 37-21 victory over Texas in the BCS national
With his mother watching from the stands—and his famous father still
in jail—Ingram became only the second player to win college football’s
most prestigious individual award and a national title in the same
season since the inception of the BCS, joining Southern California
quarterback Matt Leinart (2004).
Heisman winners had been just 1-6 in BCS title games.
Ingram didn’t match his tearfully poignant Heisman acceptance speech,
when he became the first player in the history of the storied Alabama
program to win the award. But he made it clear that the crystal
football given to the national champions was more meaningful than the
bronze trophy he received in New York.
“The Heisman was kind of shocking and something I never really
expected coming into this year,” said Ingram, voted the game’s most
outstanding offensive player. “It was a great honor to win the trophy
but it was more than just a trophy, too. It was overcoming adversity.
A lot of the emotion came from that.
“This national championship was more everybody. I was so happy to
leave my heart out there for the team, and blood, sweat and tears.”
That adversity includes his father Mark Sr.’s imprisonment on a money
laundering and bank fraud conviction. The former New York Giants and
Miami Dolphins wide receiver was sentenced to 92 months but could have
time tacked on for failing to report to a federal prison in Kentucky
in December 2008, apparently because he wanted to see his son play in
the Sugar Bowl.
Sidelined briefly by leg cramps, Ingram returned to the game just in
time Thursday night to help polish off a 14-0 season for Alabama.
“Mark has great competitive character,” coach Nick Saban said. “He was
cramping up a little bit in the game. He’s a great competitor and he
certainly wanted to go back in the game and we certainly needed him
to. It worked out for us.”
While the defense made an assortment of big plays against Texas,
Ingram and backfield mate Trent Richardson carried the offense.
Richardson, a freshman, ran for 109 yards and two TDs, and the two
tailbacks did it against a defense that had allowed just 62 yards
rushing per game coming in. It was only the 11th time in school
history that two Crimson Tide running backs have run for 100 yards
and the first time it happened in a bowl game.
But it was Ingram, as usual, standing in the spotlight with the game
on the line. His eighth 100-yard rushing effort tied Shaun Alexander’s
decade-old single-season record, and his two touchdowns gave him 17 on
Ingram was more than happy to share carries with Richardson, though.
“It helps us tremendously to elevate our game to tremendous levels,”
he said. “It’s going to be nothing but headaches for the defenses in
the next year or two.”