A Couple Of Marks For Tide Football

Mark this down. One Mark on defense and one Mark on offense helped make the difference as Alabama defeated South Carolina 20-6 at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night.

Alabama got a long interception return for a touchdown from safety Mark Barron early in the game against South Carolina and a touchdown on a long drive by tailback Mark Ingram late in the game.

Ingram set a Bryant-Denny Stadium record as he rushed 24 times for 246 yards against the Gamecocks. It was the third most rushing yards by an Alabama back in Crimson Tide history. Shaun Alexander had 291 yards on 20 attempts against LSU in Baton Rouge on November 9, 1996, and Bobby Humphrey had 284 yards on 30 runs at Mississippi State on November 1, 1986.

Ingram's 246-yard performance is the second best single-game rushing performance in the FBS ranks this season. Ingram's outing trails only UTEP's Donald Buckram who rushed for 260 yards against Houston on October 3. Ingram is only the 10th player to rush for 200 or more yards in a game this season and did so in 24 carries, the fourth fewest on the list. It is also the first 200-yard game an SEC defense has allowed to an opposing rusher this season.

It was the second consecutive week Ingram had a career-best rushing effort. A week earlier he rushed for 172 yards against Ole Miss.

The outing Saturday night gave Ingram his third consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and his fourth of the 2009 season.  It was Alabama's first 200-yard rushing performance since Glen Coffee's 218-yard outing against Kentucky last year in Tuscaloosa.  In three games versus ranked opponents this season, Ingram has averaged 189.3 yards per game (150 vs. Virginia Tech, 172 at Mississippi, 246 vs. South Carolina).  For the season, Ingram has rushed for 905 yards.

Ingram became only the third Alabama player ever to exceed 200 rushing yards at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa (Coffee last year and Alexander vs. Vanderbilt in 1998 the others). br>
Ingram has not lost a fumble in 278 career rushing attempts and 26 career receptions for a total of 304 career touches.. He has only put the ball on the ground one time (at LSU in 2008), which was recovered by the Tide. He has 1,633 rushing yards in those 21 games with 20 rushing touchdowns while also catching 26 passes for 243 yards and three scores.  br>
Ingram has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 10 of his last 11 games and at least one in each game of the 2009 season. He also has a receiving touchdown in three games this season. Overall, Ingram has scored at least one touchdown in 16 of his 21 career games for the Tide. He has 23 career touchdowns (three receiving), including a freshman record 12 (all rushing) in 2008. He has eight rushing touchdowns and three receiving scores this season.

Barron's 77-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter against South Carolina was the 11th longest interception return in Alabama history. It was the second longest this year. Last week against Ole Miss, Kareem Jackson had a 79-yard interception return.

Barron's return is Alabama's only interception return for a touchdown this year. Courtney Upshaw returned a fumble for a touchdown against Kentucky.

Senior placekicker Leigh Tiffin's field goal in the first quarter gave Alabama a 10-0 lead while stretching his streak of consecutive successful field goal attempts to nine straight, a streak that ended with a miss on a 49-yard attempt in the second quarter. Tiffin's first half totals added to his impressive career totals in several statistical categories.

The two first-half field goals gave Tiffin 67 in his Alabama career, moving him past Michael Proctor (65 from 1992-95) for second place on the Crimson Tide career field goals list. Tiffin is now 67 of 92 (.725) for his career in field goals. Tiffin also ranks second in Alabama annals for career field goal attempts with 92 as he also moved ahead of Proctor in that category tonight.

Tiffin's eight points (two field goals, two point-after touchdown kicks) against South Carolina moved Tiffin's career scoring total to 319 points, passing his father, Van Tiffin, who scored 312 points (59 FGs, 135 PATs) from 1983-86. For his career, Tiffin has made 67 field goals and 118 PATs.

Greg McElroy was intercepted in the first quarter, the first interception of the Crimson Tide quarterback since the first quarter of the opening game against Virginia Tech. He had thrown 141 consecutive passes without an interception prior to the pick.

McElroy was intercepted again later in the first quarter, but it turned into a somewhat positive play for Alabama. On first and 10 from the South Carolina 34, C.C. Whitlock intercepted for the Gamecocks at the 30, but he was hit by Bama's Julio Jones and fumbled and Darius Hanks recovered for the Tide at the 39. That made it first down for Bama, and the Tide drove down to get a field goal.

Alabama's Red Zone problems from last week's Ole Miss game continued in the first quarter against South Carolina. The Tide drove inside the Gamecocks' 10-yard line, but had to settle for a Leigh Tiffin 25-yard field goal. A week earlier, the Tide had five trips inside the Mississippi 20-yard line and kicked field goals all five times. Bama finally broke the Red Zone jinx in the fourth quarter when Ingram scored a touchdown from the five-yard line.

Javier Arenas was held out of the game with a rib injury suffered in practice last week. Marquis Johnson started at Arenas' left cornerback spot, while Julio Jones was the punt return man. With Johnson at cornerback, Tyrone King became the nickel back in passing situations. Arenas was dressed out and on the sidelines. He had started 20 consecutive games.

Alabama held South Carolina without a touchdown in the victory, the second consecutive game in which the Crimson Tide defense has prevented the opponent from scoring a touchdown.  Overall, Alabama has not allowed a touchdown in eight quarters.  The last touchdown allowed by Alabama was by Kentucky with 12:52 left in the fourth quarter of a 38-20 win at Lexington on October 3.  That span now covers a total of 132:52 of game time since the

Alabama held South Carolina to two field goals in the first half of, marking the fifth consecutive game that the Crimson Tide has held opponents without a first-half touchdown.  That stretch began the Florida International game, the 2009 season's second game.  

Alabama has led at the half of its last six games. The Crimson Tide is 24-1 when leading at halftime under Coach Nick Saban, including an 18-game winning streak. The only loss came against LSU during the 2007 season when UA held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing, 41-34, on November 3, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 1-5 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 1-2 when tied at halftime. The lone win when trailing at the half came in the 34-24 win over Virginia Tech in the 2009 season opener in Atlanta. Alabama's lone win when tied at halftime came last year at LSU.

With the victory, Alabama leads the series with South Carolina, 12-2. Alabama holds a 9-1 series lead in games played in the state of Alabama, including an 8-1 mark in Tuscaloosa.

The South Carolina game was Alabama's 89th Homecoming football game. Alabama has compiled a 75-13-1 (.848) all-time homecoming record, including Saturday's win over the Gamecocks. The Crimson Tide is riding an eight-game homecoming winning streak dating back to the 2002 season. UA has not lost on homecoming since a 35-21 loss to LSU (coached by Nick Saban) on November 3, 2001. Alabama's current eight-game homecoming winning streak is the longest streak since a school-record 26-game winning streak from 1958-83. The first homecoming game took place on Armistice Day during the 1920 season.

With the win over 22nd-ranked South Carolina, Alabama is 6-2 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Crimson Tide's 34-24 win over Virginia Tech in the season opener was the Tide's third win over a top-10 team dating back to the start of the 2008 season. Alabama is 3-0 against the AP Top 25 in 2009.

Alabama captains were linebacker Rolando McClain, linebacker Cory Reamer, tailback Terry Grant, and offensive guard Mike Johnson.

Former Alabama quarterback Richard Todd, who was grand marshall of Alabama's homecoming, served as honorary captain. Todd (1973) played on Crimson Tide teams that went 33-3 and won three Southeastern Conference championships and one national championship.

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