Saturday, January 1, 2011
Instant analysis: Alabama 49, Michigan State 7
By Chris Low
Alabama defeated Michigan State 49-7 on Saturday in the Capital One Bowl.
Here’s an instant analysis from the game:
How the game was won: It was pure domination by the Crimson Tide, who jumped out to a 28-0 lead at the half and never looked back. Michigan State was no match for an Alabama defense that set up shop in the Spartans’ backfield and kept coming the entire game. Offensively, Alabama drove the football at will and didn’t have to punt the football until the midway point of the third quarter.
Turning point: Alabama drove 79 yards in 13 plays for a touchdown on its first possession of the game, serving notice that the Crimson Tide had indeed come to play. From there, they scored touchdowns on their next three possessions to turn the game into a blowout in a hurry.
Player of the game: Junior linebacker Courtney Upshaw led Alabama’s swarming defense with three tackles for loss, including two sacks.
Unsung hero: In his final game in an Alabama uniform, senior quarterback Greg McElroy was 13-of-17 for 220 yards and a touchdown pass. He also led the way with a key block on Julio Jones’ 35-yard touchdown run on a reverse.
Stat of the game: Alabama held Michigan State to minus-48 yards rushing.
Record performance: Alabama set an SEC record with its 36th win over the last three seasons.
Record performance II: With two rushing touchdowns, junior running back Mark Ingram set the school record with 42, breaking Shaun Alexander's old mark.
What it means: The Crimson Tide (10-3) waited until their final game, but finally got that complete game they’d been looking for all season. Even though they lost three games this season, there’s no doubt this was one of the most talented teams in the country. They just weren’t as consistent as they needed to be, but put it all together against the Spartans to win at least 10 games for the third straight season. Alabama will be one of the favorites to win the SEC next season, especially if the Crimson Tide can keep some of their underclassmen from going pro. Defensive end Marcell Dareus, Jones and Ingram are the most likely to make the jump.