Saturday, December 5, 2009
Final: Alabama 32, Florida 13
By ESPN.com staff
ATLANTA – Alabama overwhelmed Florida from the outset and won its first SEC championship in 10 years Saturday with a 32-13 victory over Florida in the Georgia Dome.
Here’s an instant analysis from the game:
How the game was won: Alabama won the battle in the line of scrimmage -- both offensive and defensively. The Crimson Tide carved apart the Gators’ defense both running and passing and smothered Tim Tebow with relentless pressure and never allowed him to find any rhythm.
Turning point: After Florida had pulled within 12-10 in the second quarter, Mark Ingram took a screen pass 69 yards on Alabama’s next offensive play and scored from the 3 on the play after that, taking away Florida’s short-lived momentum. Alabama never really looked back after that.
Stat of the game: Florida’s defense had only given up nine touchdowns in 12 games prior to Saturday’s SEC championship game, but gave up four to Alabama in seeing its 22-game winning streak snapped.
Player of the game: It’s probably going against the grain not picking Ingram, because he had a huge game coming off the hip pointer and ran with a vengeance. But the nod goes to Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, who outdueled Tebow and was flawless in running the Crimson Tide’s offense. He made every key pass, scrambled for yardage when he needed to and was in command the whole way.
Unsung hero of the game: We’ve got to go heroes here and not just one hero. Alabama’s offensive line absolutely took over the game in the second half and turned in its best overall performance of the season against the best defense it’s faced. The five unsung heroes were left tackle James Carpenter, right tackle Drew Davis, left guard Mike Johnson, right guard Barrett Jones and center William Vlachos.
Second guessing: Wonder what Carlos Dunlap is thinking? You certainly can’t blame this whipping all on him, but his arrest on alleged DUI charges earlier this week and subsequent suspension sure didn’t help the Gators on or off the field. They didn’t look like the same defense without him.
What it means: Alabama locked up a spot in the BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena on Jan. 7. The Crimson Tide will face Texas provided the Longhorns take care of Nebraska in Saturday night’s Big 12 championship game. Alabama will be vying for its first national title in 17 years.