PASADENA, Calif. (Sports Network) - Not only did Alabama running back Mark Ingram accomplish a rare feat Thursday night in helping the Crimson Tide to their first national title since 1992, the sophomore did it playing with a foot injury.
Ingram became just the second Heisman Trophy winner to be on the winning side
in a subsequent BCS championship game following the Tide's 37-21 win over
Texas Thursday night.
The names of Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Reggie Bush, Troy Smith
and Sam Bradford failed to seize the moment of Heisman and BCS title game
winners, but Ingram joined an elite class. He and USC's Matt Leinart (2004)
are the only Heisman winners to win college football's most prestigious
individual and team honor in the same season.
"The Heisman was kind of shocking and something I never really expected coming
into this year," Ingram said. "And when I won the trophy, it was a great honor
to win the trophy, but it was more than just a trophy to me. It was overcoming
adversity. All throughout my life me and my family sticking together
overcoming obstacles and people that tried to hold us back. A lot of emotion
came from that. This national championship was more of everybody."
Ingram rushed 22 times for 116 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-
sealing one-yard TD with nearly two minutes remaining, this after Texas
rallied behind freshman signal-caller Garrett Gilbert to get within three
points. Gilbert was pressed into action when star QB Colt McCoy hurt his
Saban revealed after the game that Ingram was playing with a foot injury he
suffered in practice. Ingram was limited for a time in the game, but returned.
"He's a great competitor, and he certainly wanted to go back in the game, and
we certainly needed him to, because he's an outstanding runner, he's a good
short yardage runner and has the most experience doing it for us," Saban said.
"It worked out for us to be able to score and get a ten-point lead."
Not only did Ingram snap a run of five straight quarterbacks being named the
most outstanding player on offense, he also played while his father, Mark
Ingram Sr. remains in jail. Ingram's father, a former NFL wide receiver who
played the majority of his career with the New York Giants, is at the Queens
Correctional Center in New York, awaiting sentencing on a bank fraud and money
The Alabama running back's father failed to report to a federal prison in
December 2008 and was then arrested about a year ago after a warrant was
served. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
It was the eighth time this season Ingram has gone over 100 yards, tying
Alabama's record for a single campaign. Shaun Alexander had eight
in 1999. Ingram has eclipsed 100 rushing yards nine times in his Alabama
career, ranking in a tie for fifth in school history.
"It's real special for our entire team and our entire organization," Ingram
said of Alabama's latest national title. "Since we lost to Utah last year,
coach said what do you want to be remembered as? Well, we had our mindset
ongoing undefeated and winning the national championship and winning the SEC
championship. Just the fact that we went out there and we worked every day and
we had a common goal that we wanted to accomplish, it's real sweet that we're
here and we took advantage of the opportunity. We're obviously proud and
excited and can't wait to get to get back to Tuscaloosa and celebrate with the
rest of Alabama and the rest of our team."