Jan 01, 2011

Tide rolls over Spartans 49-7 in Capital One Bowl

Capital One Bowl Final Stats (PDF)
Capital One Bowl Final Stats (HTML)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — More than any other time this season, Alabama looked like the team that was picked to win the national championship in the Capital One Bowl.

Mark Ingram ran for two scores to break the school record for career touchdowns, and 15th-ranked Crimson Tide rolled past No. 7 Michigan State 49-7 on Saturday in the most lopsided game in the history of this bowl.

The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner had 59 yards rushing against the team he rooted for as a kid, Greg McElroy threw for 220 yards and one touchdown, and Alabama (10-3) pulled most of its starters in the third quarter. Ingram moved past Shaun Alexander’s mark (41) with 42 career touchdowns.

The Crimson Tide found the end zone on their first four possessions, held the Spartans (11-2) to 171 total yards and sacked Kirk Cousins four times in their most dominant performance all season.

The margin of victory topped East Texas State’s 33-0 victory over Tennessee Tech in the 1953 game, then known as the Tangerine Bowl. The bowl dates back to 1947.

Cousins had 120 yards passing and one interception, and Edwin Baker was held to 14 yards rushing for a Spartans team that felt snubbed by the BCS after sharing the Big Ten title. Instead, they were trounced by a team that knows the big stage well.

A season that began with the No. 1 ranking and dreams of second straight title for Alabama never lived up to the hype. Losses to rivals Auburn, LSU and South Carolina prevented the Tide from even making the Southeastern Conference title game.

The team everybody expected to see showed up in the finale.

Alabama pushed and pounded the Spartans at the line of scrimmage in what was utter domination in every phase. Perhaps nobody was more physical than Ingram, who rooted for Michigan State — where his father, Mark, was a star receiver — while growing up in Flint, Mich.

There were six missed tackles alone when Ingram bowled over Michigan State defenders for a 30-yard reception in the second quarter. A play later, his 6-yard touchdown run put Alabama ahead 21-0.

The Tide flexed its muscle again on the next possession when Julio Junes took a reverse, cut left up the sideline and received a big block from McElroy to go 35 yards for another score. Marquis Maze had a 35-yard TD catch and Eddie Lacy scored two touchdown late to give Alabama a 49-0 lead.

The Spartans only mounted one serious threat while the game was close.

They drove down to the Alabama 7 when they were down only two touchdowns. But Courtney Upshaw jarred the ball loose from Cousins and a wild scramble for the ball ended on the 38-yard line. Michigan State had to punt — on fourth-and-goal — and never came close to the end zone again. Bennie Fowler had a 49-yard TD catch with 5:45 remaining

Not exactly the way the Spartans wanted to close out what had been an otherwise incredible season. Michigan State dropped to 0-4 in bowl games under coach Mike Dantonio but were no match for Alabama’s star-studded cast that had the perfect ending in everything but the venue.


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