Click on game titles to open the SEC Digital Video viewing window. Roll Tide!
(Georgia State and Michigan State games are on ESPN3 and may not be available to all online viewers.) (Iron Bowl not available for free viewing).
The established stars -- minus Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and defensive end Marcell Dareus -- made big plays and some young understudies also got plenty of time on stage in the Crimson Tide's opening 48-3 route of San Jose State on Saturday night. It was a good night to be without the injured Ingram (knee) and the suspended Dareus, both lost this week. The backups played much of the game, anyway, after the Tide raced to a 31-3 halftime lead over the Spartans.
The renewal of the Penn State-Alabama rivalry turned out to be more a show of force by Trent Richardson and the Crimson Tide than another classic matchup between storied programs. Richardson ran for 144 yards in place of injured Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, and the top-ranked Tide rolled to a 24-3 win over Joe Paterno and No. 18 Penn State. With Ingram sidelined for the second straight game with a knee injury, Richardson pulled a pretty good imitation. He plowed through and sidestepped tackles and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. He also had four catches for 46 yards.
Mark Ingram took his first handoff of the year and darted nearly 50 yards. Later, he went the other direction and dashed another 50. Ingram rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns in his season debut, and No. 1 Alabama (3-0, 0-0 SEC) routed Duke (1-2, 0-1 ACC) 62-13 in its highest-scoring game in 19 years. Alabama's Mark Ingram is the first running back from a BCS conference to gain over 150 yards on fewer than 10 carries in the last five seasons. Greg McElroy matched a career high with three scoring passes for the Crimson Tide, who led 28-0 about 10 minutes in and looked completely at ease inside a crimson-coated stadium named for a former Alabama coach.
Trailing on the road against one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, No. 1 Alabama escaped by doing what it does best: making big plays on defense and giving the ball to Mark Ingram. The Heisman Trophy winner ran for 157 yards and scored on a 1-yard run with 3:18 to play, and two first-year starters in the 'Bama secondary made late interceptions to help the top-ranked Crimson Tide rally from a 13-point deficit and beat No. 10 Arkansas 24-20. Robert Lester set up the winning score with his second interception of the day against Ryan Mallett, and Dre Kirkpatrick's pick put the Tide (4-0, 1-0 SEC) in position to run out the clock on their 18th straight victory.
This game was all Alabama. Mark Ingram scored two touchdowns, C.J. Mosley returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown and the top-ranked Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC) dominated the seventh-ranked Gators 31-6, handing the Gators (4-1, 2-1 SEC) the second-most lopsided loss of Meyer's six seasons with Florida.
9th-ranked South Carolina stunned No. 1 Alabama 35-21. The defending national champions had won 19 straight games. But facing a third consecutive ranked SEC team caught up with Alabama as Garcia and the Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 SEC) used the Crimson Tide's formula for success: Cashing in on chances close to the goal line and limiting the country's best tailback duo in Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to 64 yards. South Carolina shredded the country's top-rated scoring defense, putting up the most points on Alabama (5-1, 2-1 SEC) since a 41-34 loss to LSU in 2007. The Gamecocks scored four touchdowns when they got inside the 'Bama 20 -- double what the Crimson Tide had allowed coming in.
It's hard to keep No. 8 Alabama's tailbacks and defense down. Super sub Trent Richardson took a screen pass 85 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and the Crimson Tide's defense was back to form in a 23-10 victory over Mississippi (3-3, 1-2 SEC) that was a successful bounce-back game. The Tide (6-1, 3-1 SEC) rebounded from a loss to South Carolina that halted a run at No. 1 and ended a 19-game winning streak by smothering Jeremiah Masoli and the league's top scoring offense.
Alabama's opponents have figured out how to limit its powerful running game. Now the Crimson Tide (No. 8 BCS, No. 7 AP) has shown it can be just as dangerous in the air. Julio Jones set a single-game school record with 221 yards on a career-high 12 catches, Greg McElroy threw for 264 yards and A.J. McCarron hit Trent Richardson on a 5-yard touchdown pass as Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) scored 28 unanswered second-half points to beat Tennessee (2-5, 0-4 SEC) 41-10.
As Les Miles' latest stab at fourth-down trickery was about to unfold, the LSU coach bent down, snatched up some blades of grass -- and ate them. Then DeAngelo Peterson went 23 yards with a reverse on fourth-and-1 to set up Stevan Ridley's go-ahead 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter, and LSU (No. 10 BCS, No. 12 AP) held on for a 24-21 upset of the Crimson Tide (No. 6 BCS, No. 5 AP). The victory came at Saban's expense and likely knocked Alabama (7-2, 4-2 SEC) out of contention for a second straight national championship. Now the Crimson Tide will need LSU (8-1, 5-1 SEC) to lose twice and Georgia to beat Auburn just to have a shot to repeat as SEC West champions.
Alabama (No. 12 BCS, No. 11 AP) hasn't let Mississippi State catch up just yet. Greg McElroy passed for 227 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown to Mark Ingram, and the Crimson Tide rolled to a 30-10 win over the Bulldogs (No. 19 BCS, No. 17 AP). The Tide (8-2, 5-2 SEC) showed it can still dominate even the improved version of the Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3 SEC) -- and even after its title hopes had evaporated. "We just felt like we needed to establish our identity in this game," said receiver Marquis Maze, who had a 45-yard touchdown catch.
Alabama (No. 11 BCS , No. 10 AP) got all the yards, points and big plays, with none of the drama. Greg McElroy completed 12 of 13 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns and the Crimson Tide routed fledgling Georgia State (6-5) 63-7 on Thursday night. It was the most points for the Crimson Tide (9-2, 5-2 SEC) since a 66-3 win over Vanderbilt in 1979. "Alabama has a great football team, I think the best Alabama team I've ever seen," Curry said. "Maybe the best Nick Saban team I've ever seen.
11/26/10: Bama vs Auburn
No one had ever rallied a team to victory over Alabama after trailing by 24 points. That's just what Newton did Friday, leading No. 2 Auburn to a stunning 28-27 triumph that kept the Tigers in the thick of the BCS championship race. NEVER AGAIN.
The team picked to repeat as national champions gave a glimpse of everything it could've been and more. Too bad for Alabama it came too late. Mark Ingram ran for two scores to break the school record for career touchdowns, and the Crimson Tide rolled past No. 9 Michigan State (11-2, 7-1 Big Ten) 49-7 in the most lopsided Capital One Bowl in the game's history. "We just showed what we're capable of doing when we play our best football," Ingram said. "It just shows how fragile a season is." The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner had 59 yards rushing on 12 carries and a 30-yard reception against the team he rooted for as a kid, Greg McElroy threw for 220 yards and one touchdown and the game got so out of hand that the Crimson Tide (10-3, 5-3 SEC) pulled most of their starters early in the third quarter. Ingram also moved past Shaun Alexander's mark (41) with 42 career touchdowns. 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.
Recaps are courtesy of ESPN.
Follow @LivingCrimson on Twitter.