Tide seeking to build on dynasty against Texas

By Staff
Scot Beard
PASADENA, Calif. – Alabama's first Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram, will try to end the curse that prestigious award carries with it into national title games as the Crimson Tide meets Texas Thursday night to play for the Bowl Championship Series Championship.
Alabama will be playing for its 13th national championship in the program's history.
Ingram will be the highlight of this game after rushing for 1,542 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. He has averaged 118.6 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry.
Quarterback Greg McElroy has completed 192-of-314 attempts for 2,450 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing only four interceptions.
Part of the success of Ingram and McElroy has been the performance of the offensive line. The line was a big question mark entering the season following the loss of three starters from the 2008 squad.
Mike Johnson has led the rebuilt line that is allowing the running backs to pick up 215.9 yards per game and the offense to average 413.77 yards per game. The offensive line has surrendered only 1.15 sacks per game, which ranks 19th in the nation.
Julio Jones is the Crimson Tide's leading receiver with 42 catches for 573 yards and four touchdowns.
Texas' Earl Thomas will lead the Longhorns' defense as it tries to slow the potent offensive attack of Alabama. He has recorded 71 tackles, five tackles for a loss, picked off eight passes, broken up 16 passes and forced one fumble.
Of course, Alabama didn't get to the title game riding on the offense. The defense has played well throughout the season.
Led by linebacker Rolando McClain with 101 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and 14 quarterback hurries, the Alabama defense has kept opposing offenses off balance all season.
Terrence Cody anchors a defensive line that limited opponents to 77.9 rushing yards per game while defensive back Mark Barron led the Southeastern Conference with seven interceptions.
The Tide defense will try to slow a potent Texas passing attack led by quarterback Colt McCoy, who has completed 330-of-468 attempts for 3,512 yards and 27 touchdowns. He ranks third nationally with a 70.5 completion percentage and has more wins than any other quarterback in NCAA history with 43 victories.
His top receiver is Jordan Shipley, who has 1,363 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
Texas does not have much of a ground attack. The Longhorns' leading rusher is Tre' Newton with 513 yards and six touchdowns.
This will be the eighth meeting between Alabama and Texas, but the first since 1981. The Longhorns have won each of the previous seven meetings.

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