Alabama pulls away late to beat Texas, win BCS title
By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer
PASADENA, Calif. — The sure thing was looking shaky for Alabama.
Hanging onto a precarious three-point lead and with momentum on the other side, linebacker Eryk Anders made sure the championship wouldn’t slip away.
Anders forced a fumble on his blindside sack of Texas backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert with 3:02 left Thursday night to help the top-ranked Crimson Tide hold on for a 37-21 victory in the BCS title game — a win that figured to be much easier when Alabama knocked out Colt McCoy early in the first quarter.
With McCoy on the sideline nursing a shoulder injury, the Tide rolled to a 24-6 lead at halftime, the final touchdown coming when lineman Marcell Dareus picked off a shovel pass and returned it 28 yards for the score late in the second quarter.
The second half figured to be a laugher with Gilbert in the game — a freshman who was Texas’ “quarterback of the future” but had thrown only 26 college passes.
The kid almost did it, though.
He threw two touchdown passes to All-American Jordan Shipley to trim the deficit to 24-21 with 6:15 left, and after an Alabama punt, he had the ball at the 7-yard line, 93 yards away from one of the most improbable comeback stories in the history of the game.
But after an Alabama holding penalty moved the ball to the 17, Gilbert dropped back to pass and got rocked by Anders, a senior who plays in the shadow of All-Americans Terrence Cody and Rolando McClain. The ball went flying and Courtney Upshaw recovered.
Three plays later, Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram surged into the end zone from the 1 for the 10-point lead. A few minutes later, after Gilbert’s third interception of the night, Trent Richardson scored his second touchdown to make it 37-21.
Then the party began. Glory came back to one of the country’s most storied programs, the football factory that Bear Bryant built, courtesy of Nick Saban, who resurrected this team in the short span of three seasons.