Ingram At His Best In Biggest Games
Readers of 'BAMA Magazine had the opportunity to select two running backs when they chose the Alabama football Team of the Decade for the first ten years of the New Millennium (2000-2009). One of those selected was Mark Ingram of Flint, Mich., who played for the Crimson Tide in the final two years of the decade, 2008 and 2009.
Although Ingram started just the 2009 season in the decade, not much more could be asked of a player. He was the Heisman Trophy winner. He was the Most Valuable Offensive Player in the National Championship Game. He was a consensus All-America. Ingram was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the SEC Athlete of the Year (all sports) and the Alabama Sports Writers Association Amateur Athlete of the Year in the state.
Mildly surprising is that Ingram was not the leading vote-getter (and thereby Player of the Decade) by 'BAMA readers. That honor went to linebacker Rolando McClain. The easy explanation is that voting began midway through the 2009 season before Ingram had become a megastar.
Ingram is Alabama's all-time single season rushing leader as he rushed for 1,658 yards with 20 touchdowns while setting a Crimson Tide record with nine 100-yard rushing games. Ingram thrived on yards after contact with 1,075 of his 1,992 all-purpose yards (54 per cent) coming after the initial hit.
He set the Bryant-Denny Stadium record for rushing yards with 246 against South Carolina (on 24 carries).
Ingram was at his best in the biggest games, averaging 188.8 yards rushing and receiving against top-25 opponents. He ran for 113 yards and three touchdowns against Florida's top-ranked defense in the SEC Championship Game and followed that up with 116 yards and two scores in the BCS National Championship victory over Texas, earning Offensive Player of the Game.
Ingram, an upcoming junior, returns to the Crimson Tide this season.
Just as a recap, here are the selections on offense for Team of the Decade:
Running backs Mark Ingram and Glen Coffee, quarterback Brodie Croyle, wide receivers Tyrone Prothro and Julio Jones, tight end Terry Jones, center Antoine Caldwell, and linemen Justin Smiley, Wesley Britt, Andre Smith, and Mike Johnson.
Editor's Note: This is one in a series on members of the Alabama Team of the Decade.