Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama

November 23, 2009 11:35 AM

Give Me Ingram Over Tate

mark ingram vs. ut.jpg

Ben Tate bigger.jpgA few weeks ago, my learned friend from The Birmingham News, columnist Kevin Scarbinsky, posed the question:  Mark Ingram vs. Ben Tate; Who Ya Got?


Scarbinsky then made a statistical analysis as well as other details, comparing the two running backs, Tate, a senior from Auburn, and Ingram, a sophomore from Alabama. He noted that Tate (No. 44) was having just as good a season as Ingram (No. 22), but Tate wasn't in the Heisman Trophy debate while Ingram was one of the frontrunners for the award.


Well, now that it's Iron Bowl week, I'm ready to make my choice.


I've got Ingram.


Nothing against Tate. He's a solid back who has a future in the NFL and has had a career year this season for the Tigers. He's third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing, averaging 109.9 yards per game, and second in overall rushing yards with 1,242. He is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and has rushed for eight touchdowns.

But Ingram is a special back, perhaps the best in the nation this fall. He leads the SEC in rushing with 127.2 yards per game while gaining 1,399 yards. He's averaging 6.8 yards per carry and has rushed for 12 touchdowns. He's also a capable receiver with 25 receptions for 225 and three touchdowns.


He has been at his best against SEC teams. He has rushed for 1,000 yards (150 attempts) in seven SEC games this season. He is averaging 142.9 yards per game in SEC play with seven rushing touchdowns. He has accounted for 73.2 percent of the team's rushing total in league play (1,000 of 1,366) and has scored seven of the team's eight rushing touchdowns. Ingram has five 100-yard games against SEC foes Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, LSU and Mississippi State. He finished with a career-high 246 yards vs. No. 22 South Carolina and then busted loose on a career-long 70-yard touchdown run at Mississippi State on Nov. 14.


He needs 73 yards against Auburn to break Alabama's single-season rushing record of 1,471 yards, set by Bobby Humphrey (236 attempts) in 1986.


The numbers are staggering, but Ingram has that something extra that will make a featured back and star in the NFL.


Of course, you can see Tate and Ingram on the same field Friday when the Tide (11-0) visits the Tigers (7-4) in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff and can make your own judgment. But remember, Ingram is going against Auburn's none-too-stingy defense, while Tate is going against the nation's top defense in Alabama. The Crimson Tide has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 30 games, dating to Oct. 13, 2007, when Mississippi's BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 yards.


Advantage Ingram.

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