Ingram Looks Like Heisman Candidate
Alabama tailback Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, made a statement to not forget him just because he was unable to play in the Crimson Tide's first two games. Ingram went 48 yards on his first carry of the season and finished the first half with seven rushes for 148 yards and two touchdowns as Bama rolled for a 62-13 win over Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham Saturday.
The Crimson Tide, ranked first in the nation, ran its record to 3-0. Duke fell to 1-2.
Ingram, in his first game of the 2010 season, ran for 152 yards on nine carries with two touchdowns. Quarterback Greg McElroy was impressive through the air with 258 yards and three touchdowns in his 14-for-20 performance. Sophomore Trent Richardson's 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the first for Alabama since 2004.
Alabama opens Southeastern Conference play next Saturday, going to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas had a big win Saturday, defeating Georgia in Athens. Kickoff next Saturday will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT with television coverage by CBS.
Alabama scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and held a 45-13 lead at halftime.
Ingram started the game at tailback and his game opening run, in which he tight-roped down the sideline, went 48 yards to the Duke 12. Two plays later, quarterback Greg McElroy threw into the corner of the end zone, where Darius Hanks made a nice catch of a tipped ball for the touchdown. Jeremy Shelley kicked the first of his extra points for a 7-0 lead. The game was just 1:19 old.
It took Alabama a little longer to score its second touchdown because of replay equipment. A quick pass to Julio Jones looked like a 51-yard touchdown play, which was the signal of the official, but on the replay it was correctly ruled that Jones had stepped out of bounds at the 16. After a run lost a couple, McElroy found Jones over the middle and Bama had a 14-0 lead with fewer than five minutes gone.
Alabama had some untimely penalties, including one that wiped out a 44-yard punt return by Jones. Instead of starting deep in Duke territory, Bama started at its own 23. No problem. Ingram broke a 50-yard run to the Duke 27. Bama finally got to a first and goal at the one on the strength of a McElroy pass to Marquis Maze for 17 yards. Ingram dove over the pile for his first touchdown of 2010.
Although it was not an outstanding day for the Alabama defense, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick made an outstanding interception of Duke quarterback Sean Renfree at the Bama 33 and reutrned it to the Blue Devils 48. It took just three plays and 55 seconds to get the score. McElroy to Hanks produced a first down at the 17, and Ingram took it up the middle for the score.
Alabama's first four possessions of the game had produced a 28-0 lead with nearly five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Duke got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter with a 21-yard field goal by Will Snyderwine to cut the Tide lead to 28-3.
In the second quarter, Alabama had its first offensive disappointment. The Tide drove from its 18 to inside the Duke 25 when McElroy threw an interception, his first of the year and also the first in his last 149 passes.
McElroy was back on his game on the Tide's next possession. He completed a 12-yard pass to Darius Hanks to start a five-play, 56-yard touchdown drive, and then finished it off with a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Preston Dial. In between the pass completions, Ingram ripped off runs of nine and 20 yards.
The Blue Devils drove to another field goal to make it 35-6, but as nice a kick as that 42-yard field goal was, it was more than offset by the ensuing kick. The Blue Devils kickoff went to Trent Richardson at the four-yard line. Richardson bobbled the ball, picked it up at the 10, and then raced to the end zone, officially a 96-yard return.
Alabama's second offense had been poised on the sidelines, ready to go into to wrap up the first half, but Richardson's touchdown kept them on the bench.
It was Alabama 42, Duke 6.
The Blue Devils would win the last five minutes of the first half. Alabama gave up its first touchdown of the season when quarterback Sean Renfree completed an 11-yard pass to Austin Kelly with just 29 seconds to play in the half. That cut the Tide lead to 42-13.
Two minute offense? Back-up Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron was operating the less than half a minute offense. He got the job done. He might have had a touchdown, but Richardson dropped a perfect pass as he roared down the sideline on a wheel route. McCarron came back with a 25-yard completion to Dial. After an incompletion, Cade Foster was called on for a 44-yard field goal as the half ended with Alabama leading Duke, 45-13.
Alabama started the second half the way it ended the first half, settling for a field goal. Alabama started at its own 16. Passes to Julio for 30 and tight end Chris Underwood for 26 and a defensive holding penalty put Bama down deep, from where Foster kicked a 21-yard field goal to make it 48-13.
Alabama's next possession was one play. After a Maze punt return to the Duke 45, Richardson took the ball over right tackle and went untouched to the end zone. It was 55-13 with 9:11 to go in the third quarter.
Bama seemed poised to score again, when third team tailback Eddie Lacy had a case of deja fumble. Lacy had fumbled into the end zone in the season opening win over San Jose State. This fumble came inside the Duke five yard line. Lacy had some nice runs to get it down to the goal line before his miscue.
Given another chance, Lacy did almost the work on a seven-play, 40-yard touchdown drive. The only play he didn't handle the ball was a first down pass from McCarron to Brandon Gibson. Lacy finished the drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone and Foster kicked the extra point to give Alabama a 62-13 lead with 11:47 to play in the game.
There would be no more scoring.
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