Mark Ingram celebrates with mom

Alabama running back Mark Ingram hugs his mom after helping Alabama beat Texas in the national championship game. (WBRC photo)
Alabama running back Mark Ingram hugs his mom after helping Alabama beat Texas in the national championship game. (WBRC photo)

By Dennis Washington

PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - After the win and the necessary interviews, Alabama running back Mark Ingram went straight for the stands to hug his mom.

Ingram hugged her in front of thousands of cheering fans and brought her a BCS championship t-shirt.  Later, reporters asked him how the win tonight compared with his emotional Heisman Trophy win in December.

"The Heisman was kind of shocking and something I never really expected coming into this year," Ingram said. "And when I won the trophy, like, it was a great honor to win the trophy, but it was more than just a trophy to me. It was overcoming adversity. All throughout my life me and my family sticking together overcoming obstacles and people that tried to hold us back. A lot of emotion came from that.

"This National Championship was more of everybody. I was so happy to leave my heart out there for the team, and blood, sweat and tears, we were out there running 110 sprints in 110 degree heat. We were like, why are we doing this? Some days after practice you're like why am I doing this or you get hurt and you're like why am I doing this. Tonight was what it was all for, and just to know all the hard work paid off, it was more of just togetherness and a family and a feeling of all our brothers just being able to accomplish this together was real sweet for all of us."

Ingram had another great night, rushing for 116 yards on 22 carries. He scored two of Alabama's four touchdowns, putting him in second place in school history for most rushing touchdowns in a single season. Ingram said the win is very special.

"It's real special for our entire team and our entire organization," Ingram said. "Since we lost to Utah last year, Coach said, 'what do you want to be remembered as?' Well, we had our mindset ongoing undefeated and winning the National Championship and winning the SEC Championship. Just the fact that we went out there and we worked every day and we had a common goal that we wanted to accomplish, it's real sweet that we're here and we took advantage of the opportunity. We're obviously proud and excited and can't wait to get to get back to Tuscaloosa and celebrate with the rest of Alabama and the rest of our team."

Ingram did leave the game for a few minutes for cramps and suffered a foot injury during practice this week. However, head coach Nick Saban said Ingram was determined to win.

"Mark has great competitive character," Saban said. "He was cramping up a little bit in the game. You know, Mark had a little foot injury during this practice time that probably kept him from practicing as much as he needed to, and I think sometimes when players have the anxiety they have in games like this that it can affect how they perform in terms of getting cramps and things like that."

Ingram praised Coach Saban for preparing him for this day.

"I remember our recruiting class, we were Number 1, and I was kind of Coach Saban's first entire recruiting class, and we said we were going to win a National Championship our second year. It's kind of crazy that we actually did it.

"But I remember after just seeing the seniors, like he said, buy into the program there, they had a 7 and 6 year before and we went 12 and 0, we really was kind of the turning point was when we lost to Florida and we lost to Utah. We weren't committed all the way, we were taking teams for granted and we didn't have the will not to be denied. We kind of took all his philosophies into perception, and this is where we are now. We had an undefeated season, and we're going to continue to try to have success.

"I think that shows in the way he won the National Championship at LSU and turned our program around and helped us win the National Championship. He's just a great coach and he's real driven and he just tried to instill the characteristics that drive him in us, and we feed off of each other."

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