Alabama Rolls To Championship

Eddie Lacy

Those pollsters who deprived Alabama of national championships in 1966 and 1977 in favor of Notre Dame gave a little of that back this year. They voted the Fighting Irish into the BCS National Championship Game, where they were demolished by the Crimson Tide, 42-14 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Monday night.



It gave Alabama back-to-back national championships and three in four years. The Tide finished with a 13-1 record, while Notre Dame is 12-1.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron threw four touchdown passes, including one to Eddie Lacy, who also ran for a touchdown, and T.J. Yeldon also had a running touchdown. Two of McCarron's scoring passes went to freshman star wide receiver Amari Cooper and another to tight end Michael Williams.

Lacy was most valuable offensive player and linebacker C.J. Mosley most valuable on defense.

Alabama opened up a 28-0 halftime lead and it was 35-0 before Notre Dame got on the scoreboard.

Alabama piled up 28 first downs to only 16 for Notre Dame. The Tide had 45 rushes for 265 yards with both Lacy (20 runs for 140 yards) and Yeldon (21 carries for 108 yards) cracking the 100-yard mark. Notre Dame rushed for only 32 yards. McCarron completed 20-28 passes for 264 yards with no interceptions and no sacks. Notre Dame's Everett Golson completed 21 of 36 passes for 270 yards with one touchdown and suffered one interception and two sacks. Golson also had a rushing TD for the Irish.

Cooper had six receptions for 105 yards, Kevin Norwood three catches for 66 yards. Cody Mandell punted four times for a 49.2 average, including two that pinned the Irish inside the 10.

Alabama had total offense of 73 plays for 529 yards, Notre Dame 55 for 302. The Tide's advantage in time of possession was 38:13 to 21:47. Bama was good on 8-13 third down opportunities and 1-1 on fourth down while holding Notre Dame to 2-8 on third down and 0-1 on fourth down.

Notre Dame had been the nation's best team in Red Zone defense. This wasn't Stanford, though. Bama was 5-5 – all touchdowns -- when the Tide got inside the Irish 20.

C.J. Mosley led the Bama defense with eight tackles (five primary) and HaHa Clinton-Dix had seven tackles (four primary) and an interception. Robert Lester was in on six tackles.

There was a reason Alabama had a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and that reason was that Yeldon wasn't given credit for getting the ball into the end zone on a first-and-goal from the 6. The ball was marked down inside the Notre Dame 1 on the final play of the first quarter.

Not to worry. On the first play of the second quarter Yeldon went in and Jeremy Shelley kicked it to 21-0.

Alabama had about a perfect first quarter. The Tide had three possessions, scored touchdowns on the first two, and got it to the goalline for a third touchdown with its third possession.

Meanwhile Notre Dame was having an LSU BCS experience. The Fighting Irish had not managed to make it into Alabama territory.

The Irish won the toss and deferred so that Alabama got the ball to start the game. The march got a nice start with quarterback AJ McCarron hooking up with wide receiver Kevin Norwood – the effective battery in last year's BCS win – for a 29-yard gain. Helped by a couple of penalties against Notre Dame, the Tide drove 82 yards in five plays with Eddie Lacy going over left guard for 20 yards on a second-and-three play for the touchdown. Bama had a 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

Notre Dame lost some close decisions to the officials that prevented the Irish from perhaps having some early success. A pass by Everett Golson to Tyler Eifert was ruled not in control and incomplete. That led to a Notre Dame punt that the Tide's Christion Jones seemed to fumble back to Notre Dame, but the ruling was interference with the catch and the Tide had the ball at its 39.

Bama was 3-3 on third down plays on a 10-play, 61-yard march to a 14-0 lead. On a third-and-one, Lacy gained eight yards. On a third-and-five, quarterback AJ McCarron connected with Marvin Shinn on a seven-yard gain. And on a third-and-one, Lacy ripped off a 20-yard gain for a first-and-goal at the Notre Dame 3. On first down, McCarron threw to tight end Michael Williams for the touchdown.

The replay official saved Notre Dame from potential disaster. A pass from Golson to Eifert was complete and the ball was ripped out by Tide safety Robert Lester, who also recovered the ball at the Irish 31. But the review showed that Eifert had a knee down before the fumble. That, however, just delayed more problems for Notre Dame.

Five downs later the Irish punted and Alabama had the ball at its 20. McCarron got the drive started with a 25-yard completion to Norwood. Amari Cooper made a nice move to turn a short pass into an 11-yard gain. And then on a third-and-six from the Notre Dame 33, McCarron connected with Cooper on a 27-yard gain to the Irish 6. Yeldon – running behind nose tackle/fullback Jesse Williams -- appeared to get in as the first quarter ended, but was marked down inside the one.

On the first play of the second quarter, Yeldon completed the eight-play, 80-yard drive with a short run.

Notre Dame had given up two rushing touchdowns all season prior to Monday night. Bama had two rushing touchdowns in just over 15 minutes of play.

The game was more as expected – heavyweights punching at one another – for most of the remainder of the second quarter, but Alabama got more points just before intermission.

After Adrian Hubbard forced a Notre Dame punt with a sack of Golson, the Tide had the ball for one last drive with 3:43 to play and 71 yards to go.

It took just nine plays and all but 31 seconds of the remaining time.

Yeldon had runs of 9 and 8 and then an amazing run. What looked like a sure loss was turned into an 11-yard gain by the talented freshman as Bama moved into Irish territory at the 41.

On third-and-seven, McCarron connected with Christion Jones for 27 yards and a first down at the Notre Dame 11 with 36 seconds to play. McCarron hit Lacy behind the line, and Lacy made a spin move into the end zone for Bama's 28-0 halftime lead.

Presumably, Notre Dame was discouraged. If not, the Irish soon would have reason to be. Notre Dame started a nice drive in the second half, only to have it come to an end when a Golson pass was tipped by Dee Milliner into the hands of HaHa Clinton-Dix for an interception at the Alabama three-yard line. From there the Tide would go 97 yards in 10 plays to a 35-0 lead.

Lacy got the Tide out of the hole with an 18 yard run and McCarron completed passes of 12 yards to Norwood and 13 to Christion Jones to get into Notre Dame territory. Lacy gained three yards on a fourth-and-one play to the Irish 34.

On first down McCarron found a wide open Cooper at the 11. Cooper caught the pass and went into the end zone to complete the 34-yard touchdown pass and the 97-yard drive.

But Notre Dame responded.

Golson started an 85-yard drive with a couple of first down completions. On a third-and-16, Golson's pass to T.J. Jones appeared to be out of bounds, but was ruled in bounds for a 31-yard gain to the Tide 32. A roughing the passer call put the Irish at the Tide 17. A pass to Jones made it first-and-goal at the three and two plays later Golson took it in for a touchdown. Kyle Brindza kicked the extra point to make it 35-7.

But Alabama wasn't finished on offense

Although Christion Jones' kickoff return was only to the 14 yard line, Bama was ableto drive to a touchdown.

Yeldon and Lacy ran it out to near midfield. McCarron hit Cooper for 11 yards as the third quarter ended and an eight-yard pass to Williams as the fourth quarter started. Lacy had a 14-yard run to the 18. After that, it was McCarron to Cooper for the touchdown. The 86-yard drive took 12 plays and consumed 7:33 as Bama took a 42-7 lead.

The Fighting Irish didn't quit fighting.

Notre Dame drove 75 yards in 10 plays with Golson connecting with T.J. Jones for a first-and-goal at the 6, then passing to Riddick for the score with 7:51 to play to make it 42-14.

That's the way it ended.

But one has to believe that this is not the end. It's not the beginning, but it's not the end.

And it makes it a lot easier to get past the 1966 injustice of Alabama's undefeated, untied team being by-passed for the national champion in favor of a Notre Dame team that had "tied one for the Gipper" and the 1977 pole vault by the Irish from fifth to first after Alabama had been the highest ranked team to win a bowl game, beating Ohio State about as bad as…well, as bad as the 2012 Crimson Tide demolished Notre Dame on Jan. 7, 2013.

It gave Alabama back-to-back national championships and three in four years. The Tide finished with a 13-1 record, while Notre Dame is 12-1.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron threw four touchdown passes, including one to Eddie Lacy, who also ran for a touchdown, and T.J. Yeldon also had a running touchdown. Two of McCarron's scoring passes went to freshman star wide receiver Amari Cooper and another to tight end Michael Williams.

Lacy was most valuable offensive player and linebacker C.J. Mosley most valuable on defense.

Alabama opened up a 28-0 halftime lead and it was 35-0 before Notre Dame got on the scoreboard.

Alabama piled up 28 first downs to only 16 for Notre Dame. The Tide had 45 rushes for 265 yards with both Lacy (20 runs for 140 yards) and Yeldon (21 carries for 108 yards) cracking the 100-yard mark. Notre Dame rushed for only 32 yards. McCarron completed 20-28 passes for 264 yards with no interceptions and no sacks. Notre Dame's Everett Golson completed 21 of 36 passes for 270 yards with one touchdown and suffered one interception and two sacks. Golson also had a rushing TD for the Irish.

Cooper had six receptions for 105 yards, Kevin Norwood three catches for 66 yards. Cody Mandell punted four times for a 49.2 average, including two that pinned the Irish inside the 10.

Alabama had total offense of 73 plays for 529 yards, Notre Dame 55 for 302. The Tide's advantage in time of possession was 38:13 to 21:47. Bama was good on 8-13 third down opportunities and 1-1 on fourth down while holding Notre Dame to 2-8 on third down and 0-1 on fourth down.

Notre Dame had been the nation's best team in Red Zone defense. This wasn't Stanford, though. Bama was 5-5 – all touchdowns -- when the Tide got inside the Irish 20.

C.J. Mosley led the Bama defense with eight tackles (five primary) and HaHa Clinton-Dix had seven tackles (four primary) and an interception. Robert Lester was in on six tackles.

There was a reason Alabama had a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and that reason was that Yeldon wasn't given credit for getting the ball into the end zone on a first-and-goal from the 6. The ball was marked down inside the Notre Dame 1 on the final play of the first quarter.

Not to worry. On the first play of the second quarter Yeldon went in and Jeremy Shelley kicked it to 21-0.

Alabama had about a perfect first quarter. The Tide had three possessions, scored touchdowns on the first two, and got it to the goalline for a third touchdown with its third possession.

Meanwhile Notre Dame was having an LSU BCS experience. The Fighting Irish had not managed to make it into Alabama territory.

The Irish won the toss and deferred so that Alabama got the ball to start the game. The march got a nice start with quarterback AJ McCarron hooking up with wide receiver Kevin Norwood – the effective battery in last year's BCS win – for a 29-yard gain. Helped by a couple of penalties against Notre Dame, the Tide drove 82 yards in five plays with Eddie Lacy going over left guard for 20 yards on a second-and-three play for the touchdown. Bama had a 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

Notre Dame lost some close decisions to the officials that prevented the Irish from perhaps having some early success. A pass by Everett Golson to Tyler Eifert was ruled not in control and incomplete. That led to a Notre Dame punt that the Tide's Christion Jones seemed to fumble back to Notre Dame, but the ruling was interference with the catch and the Tide had the ball at its 39.

Bama was 3-3 on third down plays on a 10-play, 61-yard march to a 14-0 lead. On a third-and-one, Lacy gained eight yards. On a third-and-five, quarterback AJ McCarron connected with Marvin Shinn on a seven-yard gain. And on a third-and-one, Lacy ripped off a 20-yard gain for a first-and-goal at the Notre Dame 3. On first down, McCarron threw to tight end Michael Williams for the touchdown.

The replay official saved Notre Dame from potential disaster. A pass from Golson to Eifert was complete and the ball was ripped out by Tide safety Robert Lester, who also recovered the ball at the Irish 31. But the review showed that Eifert had a knee down before the fumble. That, however, just delayed more problems for Notre Dame.

Five downs later the Irish punted and Alabama had the ball at its 20. McCarron got the drive started with a 25-yard completion to Norwood. Amari Cooper made a nice move to turn a short pass into an 11-yard gain. And then on a third-and-six from the Notre Dame 33, McCarron connected with Cooper on a 27-yard gain to the Irish 6. Yeldon – running behind nose tackle/fullback Jesse Williams -- appeared to get in as the first quarter ended, but was marked down inside the one.

On the first play of the second quarter, Yeldon completed the eight-play, 80-yard drive with a short run.

Notre Dame had given up two rushing touchdowns all season prior to Monday night. Bama had two rushing touchdowns in just over 15 minutes of play.

The game was more as expected – heavyweights punching at one another – for most of the remainder of the second quarter, but Alabama got more points just before intermission.

After Adrian Hubbard forced a Notre Dame punt with a sack of Golson, the Tide had the ball for one last drive with 3:43 to play and 71 yards to go.

It took just nine plays and all but 31 seconds of the remaining time.

Yeldon had runs of 9 and 8 and then an amazing run. What looked like a sure loss was turned into an 11-yard gain by the talented freshman as Bama moved into Irish territory at the 41.

On third-and-seven, McCarron connected with Christion Jones for 27 yards and a first down at the Notre Dame 11 with 36 seconds to play. McCarron hit Lacy behind the line, and Lacy made a spin move into the end zone for Bama's 28-0 halftime lead.

Presumably, Notre Dame was discouraged. If not, the Irish soon would have reason to be. Notre Dame started a nice drive in the second half, only to have it come to an end when a Golson pass was tipped by Dee Milliner into the hands of HaHa Clinton-Dix for an interception at the Alabama three-yard line. From there the Tide would go 97 yards in 10 plays to a 35-0 lead.

Lacy got the Tide out of the hole with an 18 yard run and McCarron completed passes of 12 yards to Norwood and 13 to Christion Jones to get into Notre Dame territory. Lacy gained three yards on a fourth-and-one play to the Irish 34.

On first down McCarron found a wide open Cooper at the 11. Cooper caught the pass and went into the end zone to complete the 34-yard touchdown pass and the 97-yard drive.

But Notre Dame responded.

Golson started an 85-yard drive with a couple of first down completions. On a third-and-16, Golson's pass to T.J. Jones appeared to be out of bounds, but was ruled in bounds for a 31-yard gain to the Tide 32. A roughing the passer call put the Irish at the Tide 17. A pass to Jones made it first-and-goal at the three and two plays later Golson took it in for a touchdown. Kyle Brindza kicked the extra point to make it 35-7.

But Alabama wasn't finished on offense

Although Christion Jones' kickoff return was only to the 14 yard line, Bama was ableto drive to a touchdown.

Yeldon and Lacy ran it out to near midfield. McCarron hit Cooper for 11 yards as the third quarter ended and an eight-yard pass to Williams as the fourth quarter started. Lacy had a 14-yard run to the 18. After that, it was McCarron to Cooper for the touchdown. The 86-yard drive took 12 plays and consumed 7:33 as Bama took a 42-7 lead.

The Fighting Irish didn't quit fighting.

Notre Dame drove 75 yards in 10 plays with Golson connecting with T.J. Jones for a first-and-goal at the 6, then passing to Riddick for the score with 7:51 to play to make it 42-14.

That's the way it ended.

But one has to believe that this is not the end. It's not the beginning, but it's not the end.

And it makes it a lot easier to get past the 1966 injustice of Alabama's undefeated, untied team being by-passed for the national champion in favor of a Notre Dame team that had "tied one for the Gipper" and the 1977 pole vault by the Irish from fifth to first after Alabama had been the highest ranked team to win a bowl game, beating Ohio State about as bad as…well, as bad as the 2012 Crimson Tide demolished Notre Dame on Jan. 7, 2013.

Scout.com Recommended Stories


Forums


77,045 Fans online

    Tweets