PASADENA, Calif. (Sports Network) - Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Alabama knocked out Texas star quarterback Colt McCoy early, as the top-ranked Crimson Tide beat the Longhorns, 37-21, to win their 13th national championship.
Alabama gave the SEC its fourth consecutive national champion, as Florida sandwiched a pair of titles around one by LSU the past three years. Alabama (14-0) won its first national title since 1992 and did it by surviving a late rally from freshman signal-caller Garrett Gilbert.
McCoy suffered a right shoulder injury early in the first quarter of the BCS title game and didn't return.
Marcell Dareus' hard hit forced McCoy out of the game and the Alabama defensive lineman later returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown with three seconds left in the first half.
Trent Richardson ripped off a 49-yard scoring burst in the second quarter and added a two-yard TD run with 47 seconds left in the game for the Crimson Tide, who also had a 26-yard field goal from Leigh Tiffin. After Richardson's scoring run, the Tide started to celebrate, dousing head coach Nick Saban with a cooler of red punch.
Gilbert, the son of former NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert. stepped in and had a horrendous first half, but threw two second-half touchdown passes to Jordan Shipley. The last, a 28-yarder, came with 6:15 remaining. The two-point conversion pass to Dan Buckner pulled the No. 2 Longhorns within 24-21.
Texas (13-1) got the ball back after an Alabama punt, but Gilbert was nailed from behind by Eryk Anders on a blitz and lost the ball. Courtney Upshaw recovered for the Tide at the Texas three. Ingram, who scored the go-ahead TD in the second quarter, then sealed the win by getting three cracks at the goal line, the final one when he barely broke the plane for a one-yard score with 2:01 left.
Two plays later, Javier Arenas got his second interception of the night to end any miraculous hopes of a Texas comeback.
Ingram rushed for 116 yards on 22 carries, while Richardson gained 109 yards on 19 carries. Ingram was named the game's offensive MVP, while Dareus was tabbed with defensive honors.
Greg McElroy connected on 6-of-11 passes for 58 yards for the Crimson Tide, while Gilbert ended 15-of-40 for 186 yards with a pair of TDs and four interceptions. Shipley had 10 catches for 122 yards.
Gilbert was stymied by completing just 1-of-10 passes for minus-four yards and had two interceptions in the first half. But he came alive in the third quarter, hitting Shipley with a 44-yard scoring play with 1:31 left.
That pulled the Longhorns within 11 points, and they recovered the ensuing onside kick, but were forced to punt.
After Tiffin was wide left on a 52-yard field goal, Texas capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive with Shipley's second TD grab to pull the Longhorns within one score, but Alabama held on.
Saban elected for a trick play at an odd time and it backfired. After being stopped on three straight downs to start the game, Alabama tried a fake punt, but P.J. Fitzgerald's pass attempt to Dre Kirkpatrick was picked off by Blake Gideon.
That gave Texas the ball at the Alabama 37 and a bit later McCoy kept the ball on a rushing play for no yards and was nailed in the shoulder by Dareus at the Alabama 11-yard line. McCoy was then sent to the sideline to have his shoulder worked on, and the Longhorns sent Gilbert in at QB.
The Crimson Tide's defense stiffened and Hunter Lawrence kicked an 18-yard field goal with 9:11 left in the quarter for a 3-0 lead.
McCoy went back to the locker room for x-rays on the shoulder. The Heisman Trophy finalist then exited the x-ray room and was out of his pads with a dejected look on his face, one that ultimately signaled the end of his collegiate career. The x-rays were negative, but the sprained shoulder, kept McCoy out.
The Longhorns then elected to kick off short and the ball bounced in front of Alabama's Julio Jones before Texas recovered at the Crimson Tide 30. Texas failed to get a first down, and Lawrence booted a 42-yard field goal.
Alabama was forced to punt on its next possession, but the Tide then moved the ball inside the five as the quarter came to a close. The big play was a McElroy 22-yard pass to Jones. Ingram then rumbled nine yards to the Texas three as the first quarter ended.
Ingram bolted up the middle for a two-yard TD run on the second play of the second quarter for a 7-6 Alabama lead.
Richardson later bolted for a 49-yard TD rush with 7:59 left until the half.
The problems continued for Gilbert on Texas' next possession. D.J. Monroe rumbled 28 yards to the Alabama 32 before Gilbert threw too high to an open Malcolm Williams in the end zone. On the ensuing play, a 3rd-and-5 situation from the Alabama 27, Arenas stepped in front of Shipley for the interception.
Alabama forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at the Texas 29 after a short punt and a 12-yard return by Arenas. Texas' defense tightened, and Tiffin kicked a 26-yard field goal with 29 seconds left.
The Longhorns then took a chance with a shovel pass, but Monroe couldn't pull it in, and Dareus picked the deflected ball out of mid-air and surged uncontested to the end zone.