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Alabama in the Pros

Running back Mark Ingram helps Saints end four-year playoff drought

Chuck Cook - USA TODAY Sports

The “Big Easy” is back in the National Football League playoffs for the first time since 2013, and much praise is deserving of former University of Alabama running back Mark Ingram. 

New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton and company clinched a postseason berth, following Sunday’s 23-13 victory over Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He totaled 44 yards rushing on 13 carries; however, Ingram’s 12th rushing touchdown of the season — 26 yards, third quarter — propelled the Saints a 20-3 lead en route to the team landing a 10-4 record. 

After eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for a second consecutive year, Ingram enters the final week of his seventh NFL regular season with 1,089 rushing yards and 12 scores. He has endured multiple injuries in his career, but in securing a solid foundation in his faith and having New Orleans feature him more in offense has guided him to turning in a quietly successful tenure. 

Behind his four 100-yard rushing performances and pairing him with rookie Alvin Kamara, Ingram can lead the Saints to its first NFC South title since 2011. A win for New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium next week against Tampa Bay would give it a divisional crown. 

Prior to his time in the NFL, Ingram was Heisman-winning back at Alabama. 

While he won the award in 2009, the former four-star from Michigan was the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year, Sporting News Player of the Year, unanimous All-American and first team All-SEC during that season. Ingram was a marquee piece on the Crimson Tide’s 2009 SEC Championship and BCS national championship team. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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