College football: Alabama 32, Florida 13
By Paul Newberry
ATLANTA ó The move was so unlike Nick Saban. The Alabama coach put away all that boardroom talk for a leaping shoulder bump with star running back Mark Ingram.
The Crimson Tide was back on top.
Across the way, Tim Tebow couldn’t do a thing, tears streaming down his cheeks as he watched the clock wind down on an ending that wasn’t in his farewell plan.
With Ingram and Greg McElroy leading an emphatic 32-13 chomping of top-ranked Florida on Saturday, No. 2 Alabama again stands supreme in the SEC. More important, the Tide is just one win away from an even bigger title ó its first national crown since 1992.
“Everyone had to buy into not to be denied in this game,” Saban said, getting back to business after a raucous celebration at the Georgia Dome. “To be a champion, that’s what you had to do. I’ve never been prouder of a group of players.”
Ingram, making a strong bid to claim the school’s first Heisman Trophy, rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns. McElroy threw for 239 yards and a touchdown to claim the MVP award.
The Alabama defense held Tebow in check and left him crying at the end.
“It’s tough. You know it’s not how you want to go out,” Tebow said. “They were just better than us today.”
Alabama (13-0) moves on to Pasadena for the BCS championship game, an accomplishment they noted by passing out roses in the locker room. In fact, the school fight song, “Yea Alabama,” refers to a long-ago Rose Bowl appearance.
Tebow and the Gators (12-1) will likely settle for the Sugar Bowl, denied a shot at their second straight national title and third in four years.
“Our standard was to be as good as Florida,” Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer said. “Today, we were better than them.”
The Tide led all the way, establishing its will on the very first drive. In the second half, Alabama shut ’em down, making up for its loss in last year’s SEC title game.
Trailing 19-13 at the half, Florida took the third-quarter kickoff and came up a yard short on Tebow’s third-and-7 pass to Riley Cooper. The Gators didn’t know it at the time, but it was over.
Tebow, who came back for his senior year in hopes of winning another title, was 20 of 35 for 247 yards.
“He’s a great player,” Alabama receiver Julio Jones said, “but man, we’re tired of him.”