DURHAM, N.C. _ Although he didn't quite make the same impact as University of Alabama running back Mark Ingram on Saturday, junior defensive end Marcell Dareus was just as happy to make his season debut at Duke.
"I was really excited, I think I was a little over-excited," Dareus said. "Coach (Bo) Davis had to come talk to me a couple times, 'Just calm down. Just play. Just hustle. Don't get over-anxious. Don't jump offsides. Just go out and have fun.'
"I learned a lot (watching). Not being out there I could see what other teams are really doing."
Dareus was credited with just one tackle, but it was a big one on the first play of Duke's second possession when he dropped junior wide receiver Donovan Varner for a 4-yard loss.
Coach Nick Saban said he thought Dareus played well, but the defensive line was a little soft against the run as Duke finished with 146 yards on 36 carries.
"We didn't play as well as we wanted to on defense," junior safety Mark Barron said, but added that Dareus was "big presence" up front.
Dareus was suspended the first two games of the season for receiving extra benefits, the equivalent he had to donate to charity before being reinstated.
"It's crazy," Dareus described the last two months. "Stuff happens. I made mistakes and it's time to move on, get ready for the next game. I was just happy to be back with this team."
Ingram makes history
In addition to Saturday being Alabama's first-ever visit to Wallace Wade Stadium, it was also the first time a Heisman Trophy winner played there after winning the award.
Overall, Duke has now played 11 Heisman winners, going 0-3 against players who had already won the award, 4-18 overall. The most recent win was 16-12 over George Rogers and South Carolina in 1978, two years before he won the trophy (and had 224 rushing yards on 36 carries against Duke).
Heisman winners who played in Durham before winning the award were Navy's Joe Bellino (1960), Navy's Roger Staubach (1963), Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett (1976), Rogers (1980), and Florida State's Charlie Ward (1993). Strangely enough, Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke played Duke three times, but twice in Tallahassee and the other in Jacksonville.
The two who had already won were Army's Doc Blanchard and Staubach. Blanchard had 17 carries for 114 rushing yards as No. 1 Army won 19-0 in New York in 1946; and Staubach completed 21 of 30 passes for 217 yards with 17 carries for 91 rushing yards to lead a 27-14 victory in Annapolis, Md.
Ingram had 151 rushing yards on nine carries (16.8 average) and two touchdowns. He also went over the 2,500 mark in career rushing yards and his 31st rushing touchdown moved him into sole possession for fourth on the Alabama career list.
"It's a familiar feeling, trying to chase down Mark," junior guard Barrett Jones said with a huge smile.
Starter and injuries
Alabama sustained two injuries of note Saturday, but neither is believed to be serious.
Junior center William Vlachos sustained a minor right foot/ankle injury near the end of the first half and did not return, with David Ross taking his place. However, he did return to the bench and walked to the locker room after the game.
Saban said he believed senior defensive end Luther Davis sustained both a knee bruise and a sprained ankle when he had to be helped off the field. Like Vlachos, he eventually walked to the locker room and team bus.
Freshman cornerback DeMarcus Milliner didn't start after having the same stomach bug as junior DeQuan Menzie, who played at star. Junior Phelon Jones started at right cornerback, was replaced by Milliner in the second quarter and later relieved Menzie.
Junior linebacker Courtney Upshaw (ankle sprain) backed up redshirt freshman Ed Stinson at Jack linebacker and played in obvious passing situations. Senior James Carpenter (ankle sprain) started at left tackle and junior linebacker Chris Jordan (shoulder) was on the kick-coverage unit.
Sophomore Michael Williams (head) and Dareus had injury scares, but both returned.
"I caught a cleat to the ribs," Dareus said. "It knocked the wind out of me pretty good."
Duke vs. No. 1
Duke remained winless against teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll (0-11). Of the previous 10 opponents six went on to win the national championship, two finished second in at least one poll and none finished out of the top 10.
Score, date location, title No. 1 Pittsburgh 10, No. 18 Duke 0; Nov. 27, 1937; Durham, N.C.; Pitt (9-0-1) won national title. No. 1 Army 48, No. 19 Duke 13; Oct. 27, 1945; New York, N.Y.; Army (9-0) won national title. No. 1 Army 19, No. 13 Duke 0; Oct. 26, 1946; New York, N.Y. No. 1 LSU 50, Duke 18; Nov. 8, 1958; Baton Rouge, La.; LSU (11-0) won national title. No. 1 Notre Dame 64, Duke 0; Nov. 12, 1966; South Bend, Ind.; Notre Dame (9-0-1) won national title. No. 1 Ohio State 34, Duke 10; Oct. 3, 1970; Columbus, Ohio. No. 1 Michigan 21, Duke 9; Sept. 17, 1977; Ann Arbor, Mich. No. 1 Florida State 45, Duke 7; Sept. 4, 1993; Durham, N.C.; Florida State (12-0) won national title No. 1 Florida State 70, Duke 26; Sept. 2, 1995; Orlando, Fla. No. 1 Florida State 51, Duke 23; Oct. 2, 1999; Jacksonville, Fla.; Florida State (12-0) won national title
According to the NFL, Alabama had 26 former players on the 53-man rosters for opening weekend, a significant jump from a year ago when the Crimson Tide had just 18. Texas led all colleges with 40, while Saban's former team LSU fell from tied for the most with 41 to fourth with 35.
By adding 3,904 temporary bleacher seats to the official capacity of 33,941, Saturday's attendance was 39,042 (roughly 38 percent the capacity of Bryant-Denny Stadium). The last time Alabama played before fewer than 40,000 people was Vanderbilt in 2007 (39,773), and it's the smallest venue since visiting Louisiana-Lafayette (31,000 capacity, actual crowd 36,133) in 1990.
Sophomore kicker Jeremy Shelley hails from nearby Raleigh N.C., where he attended Broughton High School. Duke associate head coach Ron Middleton served on Saban's staff in 2007 before joining the Blue Devils. For Duke, backup cornerback Johnny Williams is from Leroy (St. Stephens) and center Bryan Morgan played for Hoover.
The 45 points scored in the first half was the most by Alabama in any half since Sept. 15, 1973, when the Crimson Tide scored 45 points in the second half against Cal (66-0) at Legion Field.
When Duke celebrated the 1944 team that beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the first quarter only five former players were in attendance.
Alabama's captains were Barron, Vlachos and Darius Hanks.