By Dennis Washington
PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - What a night for Huffman High School grad Marcell Dareus.
The Alabama defensive lineman was responsible for the two biggest plays of the Crimson Tide's win over Texas in Thursday's BCS National Championship game.
It was a hit by Dareus in the first quarter on the right shoulder of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy that injured the McCoy, forcing the star quarterback to leave the game and forcing Texas to play a freshman quarterback, who struggled the rest of the first half.
It was in one of those struggling moments when Dareus made his other memorable play. He intercepted a shovel pass from Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert right before halftime and ran it back 28 yards for a touchdown.
"When it came to the first play of McCoy, I really didn't try to hit him that hard," Dareus said after the game. "I didn't want to hurt him. It was a part of the game."
Dareus said he doesn't remember a lot about the interception.
"They tried to shuffle pass and Brandon Deaderick caught the running back while he was fumbling it, and my first reaction was grab the ball, and then after that I blanked out, and all I was thinking about is Mark Ingram and Javier and just doing moves I didn't think I could do. I was like, I can't believe I pulled off that screen. I saw that lineman coming for my legs, and my first reaction was to spin. I looked to my left and I saw Eryk Anders, I knew it was a touchdown. I could not wait to get to the end zone."
Dareus is a native of Birmingham and a 2008 graduate of Huffman High School. Dareus said he never imagined two years ago he would be here.
"I was a mediocre recruit," Dareus said. "I felt like I was always better, but I mean, it is what it is. I didn't think I was going to work hard and get to where I am today, where I am now, and accomplish the things that I have accomplished."
Dareus said he's proud of what head coach Nick Saban has done for him and the rest of the team.
"Last year, when me and Mark (Ingram) was freshmen, we saw a lot of the seniors and upperclassmen bought into the system," Dareus said. "They had the same team we had the year before and bought into the system and turned our whole program around. We will always be rubbed as the team that turned the University of Alabama program around. As they bought into the system, we were like we were going to make it our thing to buy into the system, and it took a little bit of -- now we won the National Championship. We got our first Heisman Trophy winner, and me, I can't believe I got Defensive MVP. We just came so for and worked so hard, and that's why we bought into the system, and we knew it was going to work."
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