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By: Scott Crumbly
SEC Digital Network
MIAMI, Fla. – The Alabama Crimson Tide struck early and often inside Sun Life Stadium on Monday night to dominate top-ranked Notre Dame, 42-14, and claim their second consecutive BCS National Championship.
The Tide (13-1) did not waste any time asserting its dominance over the Irish, making a statement right out of the gate. Notre Dame (12-1) had not surrendered a touchdown in the first quarter all season long, but Alabama scored two in the first 8:46 of the ball game thanks to a five-play, 82-yard scoring march on the Tide’s first possession and a 10-play, 61-yard drive on its second.
Alabama nearly scored a third touchdown in the opening quarter, using only four seconds in the second to punch it in once more and take a commanding 21-0 lead. In the first quarter alone, the Crimson Tide racked up 202 total yards while holding the ball for 12:08. During that span Eddie Lacy (20-yard run), Michael Williams (three-yard reception), and T.J. Yeldon (one-yard run) all found the end zone, and the Notre Dame’s fourth-rated run defense had surrendered 90 yards and two scores on the ground. For perspective, the Irish had only allowed two rushing touchdowns through 12 games prior to facing Bama.
Alabama tacked on a score in the final minute of the half on another scoring run from Lacey, this one on an 11-yard pass from McCarron, and took a four-touchdown advantage into the half. McCarron opened up the third quarter by hitting Amari Cooper for 34 yards and a third touchdown pass, and Alabama had built a 35-point cushion with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter.
The Fighting Irish managed to score their first touchdown on the ensuing drive, a 9-play, 85-yard march that took 3:36 and was capped by a two-yard scoring run from quarterback Everett Golson. Overall, Notre Dame was out-gained by Alabama to the tune of 528 yards to 302, and the Tide cruised to its third national title in the last four seasons under head coach Nick Saban.
Alabama exploited a Notre Dame defense that had only allowed 10 touchdowns all season long, scoring six times on the Irish. All six scoring drives went for 61 yards or more, including four of 80-plus yards and one of 97 yards. McCarron threw for 264 yards and four scores in the win, two of which went to Cooper, who finished with 105 yards through the air. Lacy and Yeldon each crossed the century mark on the ground, combining for 248 yards and two scores.
Golson ended the game with 270 yards and two total touchdowns, while the Irish were limited to a season-low 32 rushing yards as a team.
Passing: AJ McCarron, 20-for-28, 264 yards, 4 TD
Rushing: Eddie Lacy, 20 car, 140 yards, TD
Receiving: Amari Cooper, 6 rec, 105 yards, 2 TD
Passing: Everett Golson, 21-for-36, 270 yards, TD, INT
Rushing: Theo Riddick, 10 car, 37 yards
Receiving: DaVaris Daniels, 6 rec, 115 yards