December 6, 2009

Ingram races back into Heisman chase

Clemson running back C.J. Spiller rushed for 223 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries in a 39-34 loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game. He finished with 301 all-purpose yards.
Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard caught five passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in a 45-44 victory over Pittsburgh to clinch the Big East title. He also returned a kickoff for a score on the way to 381 all-purpose yards.
Wisconsin running back John Clay rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in a 51-10 rout of Hawaii.
BIG 12
Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had 12 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in a 13-12 loss to Texas in the Big 12 championship game.
East Carolina free safety Van Eskridge had 10 tackles and two interceptions in a 38-32 victory over Houston in the Conference USA championship game.
Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour was 28-of-39 passing for 255 yards with two touchdowns in a 20-10 victory over Ohio in the league championship game. He also rushed for 51 yards.
Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 victory over Florida International.
Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries in a 53-52 win over Illinois.

Alabama running back Mark Ingram's slip from Heisman contention didn't last long.

After he struggled to make an impact in a victory at Auburn in the regular-season finale, Ingram responded in a big way against Florida in the SEC championship game. He rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 76 yards in the 32-13 rout to earn National Player of the Week honors.

In the second quarter, after Florida had cut the lead to 12-10, Ingram took a screen pass for 69 yards on Alabama's first play from scrimmage to grab the momentum again. He then scored on a short rushing touchdown on the next play to give Alabama a 19-10 lead.

His performance certainly was an effective way to erase memories of a 30-yard outing against Auburn. Ingram was on the sideline for much of the winning drive in the fourth quarter of the 26-21 victory over the Tigers.

Ingram made sure he wasn't forgotten against Florida.

"Everything we did all year long was to beat them, to be better than them," Ingram said.

With 1,542 yards this season, Ingram also became Alabama's single-season rushing leader, passing Bobby Humphrey, who rushed for 1,471 yards in 1986.

RB LaMichael James, Oregon

James started the season as Oregon's second-string running back. By the end of the first game, he became the starter because of circumstance. By the finale, he was one of the stars of the offense, no matter how he earned his spot in the backfield. Against Oregon State, James rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-33 victory that wrapped up the Rose Bowl. James took some time to get warmed up against the Pac-10's No. 1 rush defense, but by the second half, he was in gear. James rushed for 87 yards in the third quarter alone.

Jim McElwain, Alabama

Alabama showed some new looks while key players returned to old form against the nation's No. 1 defense. McElwain's offense amassed 251 rushing yards and 239 passing yards against a Florida defense that entered the game allowing only 233.1 yards per game. Meanwhile, Ingram showed he could remain a Heisman contender with 113 rushing yards. Quarterback Greg McElroy was 12-of-18 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown.

David Fox is a national writer for He can be reached at

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