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Last night’s victory over Texas gave Alabama it’s 13th national championship and eighth consensus national championship, which ties them with Notre Dame for the most all time. But if you ask Alabama fans, this one was more impressive than all the rest.
Consider the following… we went undefeated in the SEC at the zenith of the SEC’s run as a dominant conference, and did so in a year where being undefeated was an absolute requirement to having a chance at earning a berth in the BCS Championship Game. Furthermore, to go undefeated, we had to defeat on a neutral site arguably the single greatest player in the history of college football, and we had to defeat his team… the defending national champions that practically returned every single key member of their national championship team.
Then once we did earn a berth in the BCS Championship Game, we drew not the pushovers of the world — no Ohio State for us — but we drew Texas, an elite team and an elite program in every sense of the word, and also a team that we had never defeated before, not to mention a team that was undefeated in their own right.
In case you were busy watching HGTV’s first-time home-buyers marathon last night (why would I know that was on? It’s not like I watched ANY of it), here are the full highlights of Thursday night’s BCS National Championship game, which was won with relative ease by Alabama, 37-24:
The game did get interesting there for a minute when Alabama stopped playing offense for a quarter and a half and Texas pulled within three. It was almost enough to distract me from House Hunters, but I simply HAD TO SEE which place they picked!
Pasadena, CA (Sports Network) – Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Alabama knocked out Texas star quarterback Colt McCoy early, as the top-ranked Crimson Tide beat the Longhorns, 37-21, to win their 13th national championship.
Alabama gave the SEC its fourth consecutive national champion, as Florida sandwiched a pair of titles around one by LSU the past three years. Alabama (14-0) won its first national title since 1992 and did it by surviving a late rally from freshman signal-caller Garrett Gilbert.
McCoy suffered a right shoulder injury early in the first quarter of the BCS title game and didn’t return.
Marcell Dareus’ hard hit forced McCoy out of the game and the Alabama defensive lineman later returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown with three seconds left in the first half.
Trent Richardson ripped off a 49-yard scoring burst in the second quarter and added a two-yard TD run with 47 seconds left in the game for the Crimson Tide, who also had a 26-yard field goal from Leigh Tiffin. After Richardson’s scoring run, the Tide started to celebrate, dousing head coach Nick Saban with a cooler of red punch.
Gilbert, the son of former NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert. stepped in and had a horrendous first half, but threw a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes to Jordan Shipley. The last, a 28-yarder, came with 6:15 remaining. The two-point conversion pass to Dan Buckner pulled the No. 2 Longhorns within 24-21.
Texas (13-1) got the ball back after an Alabama punt, but Gilbert was nailed from behind by Eryk Anders on a blitz and lost the ball. Courtney Upshaw recovered for the Tide at the Texas three. Ingram, who scored the go-ahead TD in the second quarter, then sealed the win by getting three cracks at the goal line, the final one when he barely broke the plane for a one-yard score with 2:01 left.
Two plays later, Javier Arenas got his second interception of the night to end any miraculous hopes of a Texas comeback.
Oh, Texas came so, so close to making this a game. Garrett Gilbert overcame his annoyingly alliterative name to pull within three, bring Texas back into the game, and then…and then fumble the ball and give Bama a layup TD followed up by a subsequent interception and a second easy TD. That’s how you turn a 24-21 game into a 38-21 game in the final three minutes of a game, and it’s something Alabama is very, very good at.
A final interception, and Alabama fans got to yell “We just beat the hell out of you” at Texas fans who watched their team take Alabama to the wire despite losing their starting qb. In case you missed him, he’s the guy who just got off television with the broken expression, numb arm, and the composure to somehow congratulate Alabama despite suffering an unusually cruel stroke of fate in the biggest game of his life.
It’s been a tough night for Texas freshman QB Garrett Gilbert. But it’s getting better with every drive. On his most recent, Garrett orchestrated a 9-play, 65-yard drive that culminated in 28-yard TD pass to, who else, Jordan Shipley. Gilbert took a monster hit and demonstrated some serious poise with the throw.
The Longhorns went for two and Garrett threw a strike to Buckner to make it a 24-21 game.
Your move, Mr. McElroy. Because now all of a sudden, you don’t want to put the ball in Gilbert’s hands.
This strapping fellow was caught streaking across the field at the Rose Bowl early in the third quarter. Contrary to our earlier published reports, Nicolas Cage wearing a mask of live bees was nowhere near the scene. We regret the error.
Blame the slightly-off-the-mark passes from Gilbert or blame the refs for not calling a blatant PI but Texas punted the ball away and now Alabama has the chance to swing that momentum meter back to where it’s been the rest of the night.
24-13. It’s starting to look like a game. Look like…
Garrett Gilbert is 6-25 for 2 INTs, but don’t leave out the one TD leaving Texas only slightly dead going into the fourth quarter. Gilbert just laced a post pattern through a Cover Zero, hit Jordan Shipley on a beautiful pass, and pulled to within 24-13.
And when you’re hot, drop the hammer and hope for the best: Texas just recovered an onside kick, and now has good field position. This ain’t at flatline stage yet.
Just before the second half kicked off, Lisa Salters reported what we all already assumed: Colt McCoy will not return to tonight's game. It's all yours, Garrett.
Oh, this isn’t even really close to fair at this point. McCoy is being “re-evaluated” at the half with an injury that kept him out the entire first half. Alabama is running the ball with malicious intent. Pete Carroll is showing us his freaky hands. And worst yet for those hoping for a serious game, Garrett Gilbert just threw a “safe” shovel pass into the hands of Marcell Dareus, who earlier knocked McCoy out with that shoulder injury…
Dareus scored a TD on the return, stiff-armed a few defenders out of the way, and picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty just because he could. Gilbert is 1-10 with 2 INTs so far. Unless Alabama starts coughing up turnovers like a sick cat barfs up hairballs, this game is for all intents and purposes done, done, done.
If this BCS Championship game is indeed an episode of Friday Night Lights, then the script would next call for Colt McCoy, injured superstar quarterback, to make miraculous return in the second half. And while there's still no signs that will happen, Lisa Salters' report at least gives hope. Apparently McCoy is "getting treatment" and will be "reevaluated" by Texas at the half.
Also, there is this: Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC's Morning Joe, is reporting that a source told him McCoy has a broken collarbone.
Colt McCoy is still injured, if you were wondering, and according to ESPN Radio, was "emotional." He has since left the x-ray room in the Rose Bowl, and has been seen walking around the bowels of the stadium, pads off. Most recently, his dad was spotted walking into the locker room.
Star QB injured in the championship game? A true freshman taking his place? The father of the hurt player coming out of the stands? This is no longer the BCS Championship game. It is now an episode of Friday Night Lights. Perhaps Matt Saracen is available?
Things settled into something resembling normality as Alabama not only went through a special teams play without committing a turnover, but also got their power run game running through Mark Ingram for their first score as the Heisman Winner plunged in for a TD as Alabama took a 7-6 lead.
Also, Garrett Gilbert now has trainers looking at him on the Texas sidelines. If he’s out, Texas is down to their third-stringer, Sherrod Harris. There’s 12:29 left in the 2nd quarter. If your score prediction was “Alabama PURPLE TASTE Texas COMPLETE INSANITY,” you can go ahead and collect your winnings at the nearest window.
It looked like a brief scare for Texas--Colt McCoy would shake it off for a play, and then get back in there. Now, McCoy's got his pads off and is heading to X-ray room in Pasadena, with the Longhorns' pinning their title hopes to the right arm of Garrett Gilbert, a true freshman. So just who is this kid?
Well, as can be said for most of the backups at both of these schools, Gilbert was one of the nation's most prestigious recruits coming out of high school. He went to Lake Travis High School in Texas and he's the son of former-NFL QB, Gail Gilbert. Last season he passed for nearly 5,000 yards and 55 touchdowns on the way to a state title. He was a member of ESPN's Elite 11 Quarterback group, a participant in the star-studded Under Armour All-American game, and, well... You get the point. Generally just an all-around high school badass. He's got the pedigree.
...But he's still a true freshman. He played in seven of Texas' games this year, connecting on 15 of 24 passes for just 124 yards, and no touchdowns. But hey, no interceptions, either! And for better or worse--pending Texas going to the wildcat formation with converted quarterback John Chiles--it appears that Gilbert's going to be leading the 'Horns on offense for the foreseeable future.
To put this in perspective, he was born in 1991. Can he win a Nationa Championship against the best defense in the country?
With just over five minutes played in the BCS title game, we’ve seen some early uncharacteristic boneheaded play by Alabama including a momentum-murdering Blake Gideon interception of Alabama's punter that has to spiritually redeem whatever transgressions he committed last year against Texas Tech. (Like it or not, nobody’s forgotten.)
Unfortunately for Texas, we’ve also seen Colt McCoy trudging off to the locker room with what’s being called a shoulder injury. Freshman Garrett Gilbert replaced him in the pocket for the tail end of a field goal drive … and is about to replace him again, because Texas just recovered their own kickoff. Game on, y’all.
What's the apocalyptic scenario for Texas? This: Colt McCoy took a helmet to the back of his shoulder and not only had to leave the game, but was just seen heading toward the locker room with the team's trainers. Uh, yeah, that's worst case scenario for the Longhorns, with a side of WHY GOD WHY.
Why so bad? His replacement is Garrett Gilbert -- a true freshman. Meet Alabama's defense, young Garrett. And good luck.
I was all set to tell you about the dueling outrageous tie battle between Tom Rinaldi and Desmond Howard. (Pea green versus purple.) I was about to tell you about Mark May's sudden blindness, the only possible explanation for him wearing dark glasses at night on national television. I was about to even remark on Lee Corso's outstanding choking gesture and Pete Carroll's appearance on the broadcast, because one was funny, and the other was the most beautiful, inspiring thing ever. (Like everything Pete Caroll does, of course.)
Then Josh Groban showed up with Flea and sang the national anthem with Flea and a mariachi band, and my brain melted. I have to go now and pick the dragons crawling on my ceiling off, because I am currently under the power of powerful hallucinogens. (And judging from the first fake punt call by Nick Saban from his own twenty something, so is he.)
Alabama's All-World linebacker Rolando McClain, who had been bothered all week with a stomach virus, has apparently stepped up his chicken noodle soup and antacid game, because he is expected to play in tonight's BCS Championship game.
Are Alabama fans keyed up for this? Are they clapping like mad seals for the long snappers? Is brown liquor being consumed in gross quantities in the Pasadena area?
Tide long snappers enter field to thunderous applause. Yes, I’m serious.
Is the answer “yes?” Is the answer to all of these “yes?” Did I just make a loop of rhetorical questions extending to infinity?
If you're watching tonight's BCS Championship game, I hope you don't like points, because defense will rule the night. We're talking some immovable objects type of defense -- Alabama is No. 2 nationally, Texas No. 3. And now, according to Mack Brown, the defenses are angry, too.
"I do feel like defenses got mad last spring," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "There's a lot more blitzing, there's a lot more man coverage, there's a lot more press (at the line of scrimmage). They're not giving the easy throws like they did last year."
There may not be an easy throw tonight, despite a two-time Heisman finalist in Colt McCoy and an Alabama quarterback who, according to Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, "hasn't lost a game since he was born." Actually, Bama's Greg McElroy lost one in middle school. The defenses are that good.
Kurt Bohls adds, "This pairing of Texas and Alabama could further along the trend of defensive-minded teams with strong, clock-eating, running games."
Three out of four Doc Saturday commenters agree that Alabama is the clear favorite going into tonight’s championship game. Look, numbers and stuff!
Here are the national rankings of each defense Texas has faced this year in terms of yards allowed: 44, 80, 49, 110, 57, 8, 64, 32, 48, 94, 76, 105, 7. The “7” and “8” there represent Nebraska and Oklahoma, games the Longhorns won by a combined margin of four points in low-scoring slugfests. Alabama’s national rank in total and scoring defense: No. 2.
True enough, but that’s why they play the game! That statement brought to you by Brent Musburger, who will trot out some variation of that statement tonight in his pregame patter as sure as he will open the broadcast with “YOU’RE LOOKING LIVE—”
The BCS Championship Game features Alabama and Texas in a matchup of two teams with good offenses, fantastic defenses, and fans psychotic enough to threaten weathermen over the possibility of snow and whatever the weatherman had to do with it. This is, evidently, business serious enough for murder.
So if the power does go out tonight in Alabama, yet you somehow manage to keep electricity, immediately lower all blinds and turn off all lights unless you want the entire neighborhood coming over to watch the game. A few quick links while you hurriedly purchase generators, backup floodlights, and extra ammo just in case:
--Smart Football says the key offensive vs. defensive matchup will be Texas' two-man patterns vs Alabama's pattern reading coverages. If you don't know what those are, well, you most definitely need to read more Smart Football.
--SEC Sports notes that an Alabama victory would give the SEC a fourth straight BCS title. Well, they would note that, wouldn't they?
--Big 12 Sports has the extremely intertwined stories of the teams' defensive coordinators. Remember: without the fine city of Bainbridge, GA, none of this happens.
--I'm pretty sure these Alabama fans aren't "real," per se, but they're, you know...real.
--Todd and the good people at Roll Bama Roll are currying favor with the football gods by admitting humiliating things about themselves. That's a fine vest there, Todd.
--Burnt Orange Nation shows how to stagnate the Alabama offense in really, really fine detail.
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