(Saturday, October 2nd)
Final Score: (1) Alabama 31, (7) Florida 6
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram ran for two touchdowns, leading top-ranked Alabama to a 31-6 win over No. 7 Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Greg McElroy completed 11-of-17 throws for 84 yards and Marquis Maze threw a touchdown pass for the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC), who have reeled off 29 consecutive regular-season victories.
"We made a lot of plays, defensively especially, down in the red zone whether it was getting turnovers or a fourth-down stop," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "I'm sure there are a lot of things we can work on, get better at and improve. The second half we probably didn't play offense like we wanted to. We ended up on the field quite a bit defensively."
John Brantley was 16-of-31 through the air for 202 yards and was picked off twice, one of which was returned by Alabama's C.J. Mosley for a touchdown. The Gators committed four turnovers overall.
Florida (4-1, 2-1) had won 24 straight regular-season games, with their last such loss coming against Ole Miss on September 27, 2008.
These two teams have met in each of the past two SEC Championship Games and the winner went on to capture the national title (Florida in 2008 and Alabama last year).
Alabama took the game's opening kickoff and grabbed a 3-0 lead on a 28-yard field goal by Jeremy Shelley.
The Gators marched to the Alabama two-yard line on their first possession. Florida head coach Urban Meyer opted not for the short field goal on fourth down and the move proved costly when Trey Burton's jump pass was intercepted in the end zone by Nico Johnson.
"It was an aggressive call, something that we would probably do again," Meyer said on his decision to go for the touchdown on 4th-and-goal. "As a matter of fact, I know we would do it again. Sometimes you kick yourself right in the rear end when you do that, but that is kind of the way we play. We're aggressive. You go on the road and get a chance to take the lead on a team. We're going to try to go do that."
Alabama extended its lead early in the second quarter, as Ingram capped the ensuing drive with a six-yard TD run.
Florida was forced to punt on its next series, and a 41-yard return by Julio Jones gave Alabama the ball at the Gators' 42. Facing a 3rd-and-5, McElroy moved the chains with an 11-yard scramble to the 26. Consecutive runs by Trent Richardson gave Alabama a first down at the eight before Ingram finished off the drive three plays later with a one-yard score.
Dre Kirkpatrick intercepted Brantley on Florida's next possession, and the Crimson Tide's advantage grew to 24-0 after Maze hooked up with Michael Williams on a 19-yard TD.
Chas Henry drilled a 39-yard field goal to put the Gators on the board with 36 seconds remaining in the first half. Brantley guided Florida into the red zone on the first drive of the third quarter before stalling at the four-yard line. This time, Meyer settled for a Henry 21-yard field goal.
After Alabama was forced to punt, Mosley made it 31-6 by returning an interception 35 yards.
With the help of several Crimson Tide penalties, Florida marched to the Alabama one-yard line on its next drive, but a poor exchange between Brantley and running back Emmanuel Moody resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw as the third quarter neared its conclusion.
The Gators did not pose much of a threat in the final 15 minutes.
Alabama and Florida met in the regular season for the first time since 2006 and the first time in Tuscaloosa since 2005...Alabama has won 17 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium...Florida had won 13 consecutive games on the road and 16 straight regular-season conference games...The Gators fell to 4-11-2 against defending national champions...Richardson had 63 yards on 10 carries, while Ingram was limited to 47 yards on the ground.
10/03 01:34:12 ET