Saban Sixth Active Coach to Win 2 Titles
- The Associated Press
January 8, 2010

  Nick Saban
Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with the BCS Championship trophy after winning the Citi BCS National Championship game.
PASADENA, CA. -- Nick Saban became one of six active coaches to win two national titles when Alabama beat Texas 37-21 in the BCS championship game Thursday night.

He’s also the first to do it at different schools, winning the 2003 title with LSU.

“He’s just a coach that is driven, and he has a vision, and he tries to do his best to instill his characteristics in us,” Alabama tailback Mark Ingram said.

The other active coaches with two titles are Penn State’s Joe Paterno; Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson, who won them at Miami; Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops; Southern California’s Pete Carroll; and Florida’s Urban Meyer.

SEC RULES: With Alabama’s victory Thursday night, three Southeastern Conference teams have combined to win the past four BCS national championships.

The streak began after the 2006 season, when Florida beat Ohio State. LSU beat the Buckeyes the following year, and the Gators knocked off Oklahoma last year. The SEC has won half of the first 12 BCS titles, with the last winner from outside the league being Texas in 2005.

Crimson Tide players weren’t ready to claim that they’ve supplanted the Gators as the dominant team in the nation’s top conference, even after they whipped Tim Tebow and Florida 32-13 in the SEC title game.

“I don’t if we surpassed them, but we beat them,” Ingram said, “and we won the national championship, so now we’re on top.”

ANDERS’ FINALE: Senior linebacker Eryk Anders came to Alabama without much attention, but leaves in a far different situation.

His blindside hit on backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert knocked the ball loose near the Longhorns’ goal line, and Courtney Upshaw recovered to set up Ingram’s 1-yard run that made it a two-score game with 2:01 left.

Saban called the forced fumble “the difference in the game.”

Anders, a San Antonio native, was mostly overlooked in the recruiting process before then-Tide coach Mike Shula came in with a late scholarship offer. He had only 32 tackles in his first three seasons combined but started 10 games as a senior and more than doubled that total.

The final play was the capper on an unlikely success story. He considered transferring after the 2007 season but stuck it out at his father’s urging. Later that night, retired Air Force Capt. Gayle Anders died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack. He was 65.

GROUND HUGGERS: Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy completed 6 of 11 passes for 58 yards. The six completions are the fewest by a winning quarterback in a BCS title game.

The previous low had been seven, by Ohio State’s Craig Krenzel in the Buckeyes’ 31-24 double-overtime victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2002 season.

“You know, we could have thrown the ball more,” Saban said. “It was really in our plan to throw the ball more, but the entire third quarter, we had a lead, and we never had field position, ever, outside the 20-yard line.

“Greg did a good job of managing the game today, got us in the right place.”

GAMBLIN’ MAN: Alabama’s defense bailed Saban out after he took an uncharacteristic gamble on the game’s first possession.

The Longhorns had forced a fourth-and-23 from the Alabama when Saban called a fake. Punter P.J. Fitzgerald’s badly underthrown pass was picked off by Blake Gideon at the 37.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy left the game with a shoulder injury a few players later, and the Crimson Tide stopped the Longhorns three times inside the 3. Texas ended up kicking a short field goal.

QUOTE, UNQUOTE: “I think they always enjoy dumping on the coach.” — Saban on the Gatorade bath he received at game’s end.

FOURTH AND INCHES: The game drew 94,906 to the Rose Bowl, pushing college football’s overall postseason attendance to 1,769,886, a drop of 708 from a year ago. … Texas fell to 7-1-1 against Alabama. … McCoy finished his career 45-7. He played only five snaps in his final college game. … The Longhorns averaged 40.7 points per game, third in the nation. But in their last two games, against Nebraska and Alabama, the Longhorns scored a total of 34 points.