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January 8, 2013The University of Alabama answered some questions to win a third Bowl Championship Series title in four years with an overwhelming victory over Notre Dame:
1. Can Alabama make Notre Dame's offense one-dimensional?
The Crimson Tide did more than just make the Fighting Irish one-dimensional, taking it a step further to make it ineffectual. Notre Dame managed a couple of longish runs, giving a hint that it might could get its ground game on track, but those proved to be exceptions. Alabama held Notre Dame to 32 rushing yards and just 1.7 yards per carry, forcing the Fighting Irish to depend on their passing game.
2. Is Alabama going to be able to get off to a fast start?
Alabama had outscored opponents 139-26 in the first quarter going into the national title game, while Notre Dame had allowed just nine first-quarter points all season. The Crimson Tide mugged the Fighting Irish from the very start, scoring on its first two drives to take a quick 14-0 lead before the game was even 10 minutes old.
3. Will the Crimson Tide be able to create big plays in the passing game?
That's what Amari Cooper does, and he did it again Monday night. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron connected with Cooper for touchdown passes of 34 and 19 yards in the second half, but the freshman sensation wasn't the only big-play receiver for the Crimson Tide. Kevin Norwood caught a 29-yard pass on the game's second play and added a 25-yard catch later in the second quarter. Christion Jones had a sweet over-the-shoulder catch for 27 yards to set up a touchdown late in the first half.
4. Which team will win the turnover battle?
Turnovers didn't loom large in this game, but Alabama did make a big play - and a memorable one - to create the only turnover. Notre Dame, trailing 28-0, put together an impressive drive to start the second half, but it ended with an interception. Everett Golson threw a deep ball that Dee Milliner tipped into the air. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made a diving catch to pick off the ball, getting a foot down inbounds to seal the turnover with his athleticism.
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