ATLANTA, GA (WBRC) - The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide dominated the No. 1 Florida Gators in Saturday's SEC Championship football game, beating the defending national champions and preparing to play for its first national college football championship since 1992.
Alabama (13-0) ended its regular season with a win over Florida (12-1) which beat Alabama last year in this game and went on to win the national championship. Alabama will now get a chance to play for a national championship, its first opportunity since winning the crown in 1992.
Alabama dominated the Gators for most of the game, shutting out Florida from scoring in the second half. For the game, the Crimson Tide had 26 first downs to Florida's 13, and had 490 yards of offense to 335 for Florida.
Alabama running back Mark Ingram rushed 113 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns in the game, including a one-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the fourth quarter that capped off a 8:47, 17-play, 88-yard drive. The two-point conversion attempt was no good.
Ingram's other two touchdowns came in the first half: the first with 3:32 before the end of the first half and the second during Alabama's second possession of the game, when he scored from seven yards out. The extra point attempt hit the upright and was no good.
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy had a career day, throwing 239 yards on 12 of his 18 passes, one of which was a 17-yard touchdown pass from Greg McElroy to Colin Peek to end a 74-yard drive at the beginning of the second half.
Florida's only touchdown of the game came with 4:31 left in the first half when Florida quarterback Tim Tebow threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to David Nelson.
Alabama's Leigh Tiffin kicked two field goals in the first half, one from 34 yards and the second from 48 yards. Florida kicked a 48-yard field goal 28 seconds before the end of the first quarter and a 32-yard field goal with 1:18 before halftime. Alabama led Florida 19-13 at halftime.
The winner of the SEC Championship was expected to play for the BCS national championship, which will be held Jan. 7, 2010, in Pasadena, Calif.
Unofficial game stats
1st Downs: Florida 13, Alabama 26
Total Yards: Florida 335, Alabama 490
Passing Yards: Florida 246, Alabama 239
Rushing Yards: Florida 89, Alabama 251
Penalties: Florida 5-51, Alabama 1-5
Turnovers: Florida 1, Alabama 0
Possession: Florida 20:23, Alabama 39:37
1720 Valley View Drive