January 2, 2011 in Sports

Pieces come together for Tide

Physical Alabama punishes Michigan State
Antonio Gonzalez Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Alabama’s Mark Ingram scored twice to give him 42 career touchdowns, breaking Shawn Alexander’s school record.
(Full-size photo)

ORLANDO, Fla. – 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 15th-ranked Crimson Tide rolled past No. 7 Michigan State 49-7 on Saturday 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 pieces came together better than they had all season in this one.

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) 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 to 1947.

“We were outcoached, we were outplayed and we were outphysicaled and that’s just the way it is,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “Sometimes, you get an avalanche come on you and that’s just what happened.”

The Crimson Tide found the end zone on their first five possessions, held the Spartans (11-2) to 171 total yards and sacked Kirk Cousins four times in their most dominant performance all season.

Cousins had 120 yards passing, one interception and was under pressure all game. Edwin Baker was held to 14 yards rushing for a Spartans team that felt snubbed by the BCS after sharing the Big Ten title. Instead, they were bullied and bruised.

Asked what hit gave him a headache and sent him to the sidelines for good in the fourth, Cousins replied: “It was an accumulation of hits I took during the game.”

Michigan State dropped to 0-4 in bowl games under Dantonio, who had to take time off this season after having a heart attack.

“It’s a reality check,” Dantonio said. “We have to play above our abilities. We have to overachieve.”

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